The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin (group show)
The Jewish Museum New York, New York
17 March - 6 August 2017
This exhibition of contemporary artworks presents photography, video, sculpture, and painting seen through the lens of influential philosopher Walter Benjamin’s magnum opus The Arcades Project.
The German Jewish writer Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), one of the most important philosophers and cultural critics of the twentieth century, began The Arcades Project in 1927 as a short piece about Paris's nineteenth-century iron-and-glass vaulted shopping passages. With their labyrinthine architecture and surrealistic juxtapositions of disparate objects and people, past and present, the arcades offered an ideal prism through which to examine the era’s capitalist metropolis and the phenomenon of modernity that had its origins there. Benjamin worked extensively on his manuscript, which grew into a sprawling compendium of quotations, reflections, and notes. When he was forced to flee Paris to escape Nazi persecution, he entrusted it to his friend Georges Bataille. Some years after Benjamin’s untimely death, the text was discovered and published.
The Jewish Museum New York
Art into Life! Collector Wolfgang Hahn and the 60s (group show)
10 November 2017 - 24 June 2018
In the 1960s, a new avantgarde movement emerged in the Rhineland. It was to break down the parameters of artistic disciplines, with an new internationally networked generation of artists coming from nouveau réalisme, Fluxus, and new music. One of the first collectors of their works was Wolfgang Hahn, chief restorer at the Wallraf Richartz Museum in Cologne. In 1978 his collection of around 400 works came to Vienna, where it is now one of mumok’s key collections. In the exhibition Art into Life! Collector Wolfgang Hahn and the 60s, mumok now presents the major works from the Hahn Collection.
The slogan “art into life” was taken literally in the 1960s. The aim was to overcome an obsolete tradition in painting, using everyday objects, texts, and musical scores instead of creating classical painting and sculpture. All the works shown in this exhibition, beginning with Door by Joseph Beuys and ending with Wolf Vostell‘s action objects, are indebted to this expanded concept of art. Happenings, actions, and performances of new music are well represented, with works by Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik, and John Cage. Prominent works of Pop art by George Segal, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselman enter into dialogue with material images from nouveau réalisme, which is a focus of the Hahn Collection, including works by Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint Phalle.