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

Dealing with — Some books, visuals, and works related to American Fine Arts, Co.

Art Club 2000, Patterson Beckwith, J. St. Bernard, John Dogg, Jackie McAllister, James Meyer
Halle für Kunst
Stephan Dillemuth, Loretta Fahrenholz, Karl Holmqvist, Phillip Zach
Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg


Carissa Rodriguez
Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg

The exhibition »Demanding Supplies — Nachfragende Angebote« is divided into three successive phases. It presents various artistic positions on the subject of art and the market. Within the exhibition architecture »Enabling Space,« previously realized by the group nOffice (Markus Miessen, Ralf Pflugfelder, Magnus Nilsson), Phase 2 of the project – »Trans-Actions« – unfolds as two presentations closely tied to one another, both in terms of space and content: »Secrétaires« and »Dealing with— Some books, visuals, and works related to American Fine Arts, Co.«

Taking the New York gallery American Fine Arts, Co. as an example, the exhibition discusses a recent art historical phenomenon in which modes of commercial and artistic practice – usually regarded as mutually exclusive – were brought together in a distinctive form. Such is the case with American art historian James Meyer’s curated exhibition »What happened to the Institutional Critique«, a relatively commercially unviable, yet conceptually groundbreaking contribution to institution-critical discourse – and still a show on sale within the rooms of that gallery. The exhibition was held within the program of American Fine Arts, Co., in addition to attempts to transgress the traditional roles in the art field in the direction of mass cultural appropriation, as pursued by the collective Art Club 2000, for example.

Also Colin de Land (1955-2003) – the gallery’s founder, owner and meanwhile a legendary figure in his own right – acted in a way that at first glance appears contradictory. Circumventing a fixed gallery program, he was involved in several art projects himself under various pseudonyms, realized art-theoretical seminars for collectors that then again served to keep the gallery’s financial head above water, and was also instrumental in founding the Armory Show, now one of the world’s most important international art fairs.

This example clearly elucidates both the process of the increasing deconstruction of a notion of art and criticality founded on autonomy as well as that of an increasingly professional flexibilization. »Dealing with—« asks about the manifestations, conditions and consequences of these kinds of tendencies toward de-differentiation in the artistic field. American Fine Arts, Co. served as an early platform and significant source of inspiration for many of today’s established artists. On what was the historical moment of this peculiar group portrait of late 20th century artistic and theoretical discourse founded? How did it garner symbolic and material value? And how can we analyze and discuss their distinctive strategies without succumbing to hagiographic reconstruction? The gallery’s magnetism continues for the most recent generation of young curators, critics, art dealers and artists – and at the same time it also raises a number of questions.

»Dealing with—« was developed and realized in cooperation of KIM with the curatorial team of the Halle fuer Kunst – Valérie Knoll and Hannes Loichinger – and Berlin-based art historian Magnus Schaefer. It provides a nuanced insight into the archives and artistic inquiries of a creative field that extends far beyond New York City, where American Fine Arts, Co. stood at its center. »Dealing with— « leads its investigation of the interplay of symbolic and material valorization, conformity and deviance as well as the negation and affirmation of the commercial in the field of art using the example of American Fine Arts, Co., but also in more general terms.

The Halle fuer Kunst shows a comprehensive presentation of the gallery library, never-before-seen documents from the gallery archive specially arranged by artists and art historians in vitrines along with a selection of artworks that Colin de Land himself was involved in conceiving. For the Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Stephan Dillemuth, Loretta Fahrenholz, Karl Holmqvist and Phillip Zach translate these questions into new artistic works: Stephan Dillemuth reflects on his collaboration with Colin de Land with a new presentation of specific fragments of his exhibition at American Fine Arts, Co. He discussed his approach – which he refers to as »bohemistic research« – in an artist's talk with curator Axel John Wieder. Filmmaker Loretta Fahrenholz showed her feature film »HAUST« (2010). The screening was accompanied by an insight into Colin de Land’s video and super-8 films, which are now housed in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Karl Holmqvist – a long-time, active user of the gallery library – works with a characteristic selection of certain titles in the collection. Finally, Phillip Zach conducted research at the American Fine Arts, Co. estate in New York. Fragments of his discursive findings can be seen in the text installation crossing through the exhibition spaces of the Kunstraum.

Parallel to these discussions on the mechanisms of art markets, artist Carissa Rodriguez highlights the problem of professional positioning in the art world. Her role is also a two-sided one: On the one hand, she shows work in galleries as artist, while at the same time she also works as co-director of Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York, a gallery named after a fictional character penned by the artist group Bernadette Corporation. This preoccupation with the working conditions of artists on the art market therefore plays a significant role in Rodriguez’ work. Also on view in the exhibition is 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. Rodriguez expanded her work to include one important aspect for its presentation at Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg; with it, she emphasizes both the generative blur between reality and fiction and the inevitable simultaneity of social inclusion and exclusion as a constitutive mechanism of glamour.

— Valérie Knoll, Hannes Loichinger, Julia Moritz, Magnus Schäfer

Curated by Julia Moritz in cooperation with Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Valérie Knoll and Hannes Loichinger, Halle fuer Kunst Lüneburg, and Magnus Schaefer, Berlin

28 May – 11 July 2011

Friday 27 May 2011
5 – 7pm Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg
7 – 9pm Halle fuer Kunst

Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Campus Hall 25
Scharnhorststrasse 1, D-21335 Lüneburg
Opening hours: Tues – Thurs, Sat, 2 – 6pm

Halle fuer Kunst, Reichenbachstrasse 2, D-21335 Lüneburg
Opening hours: Wed – Sun, 2 – 6pm

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.