Phase 1: Enabling Space Phase 2: Trans-Actions Phase 3: Besides Reproduction

Following a long critical tradition, the art market has been understood as art’s contaminating »other.« More recently, there have been increasing attempts to subject the dichotomy between art and economy to a more differentiated analysis: the art market appears as a highly ritualized, segmented system marked by complex social processes. Whereas it resembles other markets in some respects, its unique characteristics include intransparency, as well as distinctive value regimes and hidden symbolic commodification processes in the interplay of a variety of actants. There is a widespread awareness of these conditions in the artistic field, and many artists are still critically investigating the intricacies of that very market – without falling into euphoria or phobia. In the thicket of an accelerated art market that is perceived as diffuse, explicit positioning seems essential for reflecting on one’s own involvement.

In three successive exhibitions, the 2011 series »Demanding Supplies — Nachfragende Angebote« presents different artistic positions on the subject of art and its markets.

Entitled »Enabling Space,« the group nOffice (Markus Miessen, Ralf Pflugfelder, Magnus Nilsson) developed the first of these »Demanding Supplies,« a number of artistic interventions into the exhibition space of Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg. They thereby raise the question how the conditions of art’s presentation predetermine its ambivalent relationship to its market.

Within this new exhibition architecture, New York artist Carissa Rodriguez showed in Phase 2 »Trans-Actions« her installation »Secrétaires«: an arrangement of dysfunctional desk furniture, combined with the artist’s selection of ads from the art magazine Artforum, which is famous not least for its combination of advanced art discourse and excessive gallery advertising. Tied closely to one another both in terms of space and content, the show includes two presentations: Parallel to Rodriguez’ highlighting of the problem of professional positioning in the art world and her engagement with the working conditions for artists within the art market, a recent art historical phenomenon was discussed in »Dealing with — Some books, visuals, and works related to American Fine Arts, Co.« in collaboration with Halle fuer Kunst Lüneburg and art historian Magnus Schaefer. Artistic research set the focus on an outstanding dealer personality – Colin de Land – and a legendary gallery – American Fine Arts, Co. This galerist succeeded in building a creative field which reached far beyond New York. Taking American Fine Arts, Co. as an example, the exhibition discussed the meaning of art trade for artistic practice as well as different forms of hybridization which resulted from the merging of commercial and artistic practices usually regarded as mutually exclusive. Exhibition participants included Art Club 2000, Patterson Beckwith, J. St. Bernard, Stephan Dillemuth, John Dogg, Loretta Fahrenholz, Karl Holmqvist, Jackie McAllister, James Meyer, and Phillip Zach. The works of three artists out of this group will be part of the third exhibition.

The visually and discursively obtained insights into the New York art world – the »center of the center« of the art market – are linked to the works of the third phase »Besides Reproduction.« An interconnection of the four added positions is the discussion of an extended notion of reproduction. The show presents the works of the winners of the Daniel Frese Prize for contemporary art – Diego Castro and Katja Staats – as well as artistic positionings of Daniel Buren and Maria Eichhorn on the subject of the art market. Maria Eichhorn revisits an exhibition series of her in which, between 1995 and 2001, she staged four times a kind of successive »remnant sale.« Now, this series is continued in ways of a simultaneous reproduction and retrospection. Launched for the first time in 2011, the Daniel Frese Prize was awarded to Diego Castro and – in the young emerging artist category – to Katja Staats by a jury chaired by Beatrice von Bismarck (rector of the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig) and acknowledged by laudator Robert Fleck (director of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn). In its critical art market work, Castro opens up references to the »Situationist International« and advocates ways of bypassing the various filters of the field. The intransparency of the art market and the social mechanisms of the art world are a central field of interest for artist Katja Staats. She refers to artists in her geographical context and, rich of allusions, multiplies the perspectives on central actors of the art market. In a project generating critical overlaps of art, design, craft, and fashion by means of reproduction, Daniel Burens looks both at the partial intersections of art works and luxury objects and their specific difference.

Curators involved in the exhibition series »Demanding Supplies — Nachfragende Angebote« are Julia Moritz, Valérie Knoll, Hannes Loichinger, Magnus Schaefer, and Cornelia Kastelan.

— Julia Moritz

May – December 2011
Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Campus Hall 25
Scharnhorststrasse 1, D-21335 Lüneburg

Exhibition and research project are based on a cooperation of KIM, Projects with the Creativity Economy, Innovation Incubator at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg with Kunstraum of Leuphana University and Halle fuer Kunst Lüneburg.

The Innovation Incubator Lüneburg is an EU major project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony.