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Artists Space: Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism - 8 June 2013 to 17 Aug 2014

Current Exhibition


8 June 2013 to 17 Aug 2014
Gallery Hours Tues: 2 - 8 pm
Wed thru Sat: 12 - 6 pm
Artists Space
38 Greene St, 3rd Floor
NY 10013
New York, NY
New York
North America
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Artists in this exhibition: Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter


Living with Pop.
A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism
June 8 – August 17, 2014

Opening Saturday, June 7, 6-8pm
 
Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter
With contributions by Christopher Williams
 
 The term "Capitalist Realism" was coined some fifty years ago by German artists Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter when organizing an exhibition of their work in a vacated butcher's shop in Düsseldorf. Later in 1963, the now legendary "happening" Living with Pop – A Demonstration for Capitalist Realism was staged at the furniture store Möbelhaus Berges.

Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism is the first exhibition in the US to take an in-depth look at the phenomenon of Capitalist Realism, which for a short period was synonymous with a specific style of post-war West German art. The exhibition aims to articulate this term's relevance to the social and cultural developments of the past fifty years, leading to its re-appearance in recent political and critical theory.

Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism documents the actions by Kuttner, Lueg, Polke and Richter that took place between 1963 and 1966 under the auspices of Capitalist Realism, and concludes with an account of the term's strategic use by gallerist René Block in the late 1960s in Berlin. Further sections of this exhibition are dedicated to the influence of Fluxus in the Rhineland as an important precursor to Capitalist Realism.

The peripatetic exhibitions that characterized Capitalist Realism as a parodic movement adopted a scenography of furnishings and paintings that constituted a distinct pictorial world. Alongside documentary material, Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism will also include a selection of over fifty photographic reproductions of works by Kuttner, Lueg, Polke and Richter – a gesture that echoes the artists' own approach to production and their choice of imagery. The artists painted objects, products and people found in magazines and newspapers, and highlighted the nature of these source materials through the use of fragmented images and other media-based techniques. Mirroring American Pop Art they rejected abstract, metaphorical forms of expression, instead turning their attention to life's trivialities; By depicting middle-class values, and the repressive mechanisms of Germany's post-war era, the artists turned the spotlight onto the "Economic Miracle" with its questionable promise of a better way of life.

Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism also includes contributions by the Düsseldorf/Los Angeles based artist Christopher Williams, professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Williams' work can be seen to continue the politicized, contextual address of image production synonymous with Capitalist Realism. For the exhibition at Artists Space Williams inserts a selection of films, providing a discursive framework for the historical presentation.

This exhibition is produced by Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in cooperation with Artists Space, and curated by Elodie Evers, Magdalena Holzhey, Gregor Jansen (Kunsthalle Düsseldorf) together with Stefan Kalmár and Richard Birkett (Artists Space, New York), and Susanne Rennert (sections "Düsseldorf and Rhineland [1957-1964]," "Fluxus [1962-1964]," and "Capitalist Realism in Berlin [Galerie René Block 1964-1971]"). The exhibition is designed in collaboration with Kuehn Malvezzi, Berlin.

Living with Pop. A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism is co-presented by The Goethe-Institut New York. It is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office; The Living with Pop Exhibition Supporters Circle; The New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; and The Friends of Artists Space.

 


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