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EXHIBITIONS

“Damage Control” at Kunsthaus and BRUSEUM, Graz

“Damage Control – Art and Destruction Since 1950”

Since the mid-20th century artists of various disciplines have demonstrated a growing interest in the concept of destruction or dismantling. “Damage Control” examines this theme from a historical perspective.

The art of our time has again and again reflected a world of violence: as a reaction to the two world wars, to the atomic bomb, or to images of annihilation in the media. Destruction pervades art production and has been employed by artists as a means of conveying institutional critique or expressing cultural anxiety while, often, keeping specific emotional or cultural references at a distance.

“Damage Control” presents a phenomenon that extends beyond art: in particular tracing history from a post war period influenced by American media images, but the exhibition also refers to how today’s fears are determined by current threats such as terrorism and natural disasters–whether real or imagined.

Drawn in part from the Hirshhorn Museum collection, the exhibition brings together groundbreaking works of international significance not just from the branches of painting, film and photography but also from sculpture, installation and performance.

With: Ai Weiwei, Roy Arden, John Baldessari, Walead Besthy, Monica Bonvicini, Mircea Cantor, Vija Celmins, Jake und Dinos Chapman, Bruce Conner, Thomas Demand, Luc Delahaye, Sam Durant, Harold Edgerton, Dara Friedman, Cyprien Gaillard, Ori Gersht, Jack Goldstein, Douglas Gordon, Félix González-Torres, Mona Hatoum, Larry Johnson, Yves Klein, Michael Landy, Christian Marclay, Gordon Matta-Clark, Steve McQueen, Gustav Metzger, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Juan Muñoz, Laurel Nakadate, Yoshitomo Nara, Arnold Odermatt, Yoko Ono, Pipilotti Rist, Ed Ruscha, Thomas Ruff, Joe Sola, Sh?mei T?matsu, Jean Tinguely, Jeff Wall, Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool.

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at Kunsthaus Graz

until 15 February 2015

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“Damage Control – Art and Destruction Since 1950” installation views at Kunsthaus Graz, 2014

Courtesy: the artists and Kunsthaus Graz. Photo: N. Lackner.

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“Damage Control – Body Art and Destruction 1968-1972”

In 1970 Willoughby Sharp curated an exhibition in the short-lived Museum of Conceptual Art in Chicago, which, with the title “Body Works”, first introduced to the wider public the development taking place of a body-focused art, later to be operate under the name of Body Art. The video works presented by Vito Acconci, Terry Fox, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Keith Sonnier and William Wegman essentially showed ‘the use of the artist’s own body as sculptural material’. They also already showed, however, the deconstruction and destruction of this new sculptural material and thus the self-injury of ar tists as an artistic act: Acconci burned the hair from his nipples, Oppenheim had himself dragged through sand, and Wegman stuck 11 toothpicks into his gums. When five years later the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago dared to hold another retrospective bearing the same exhibition title, the list of artists had already been extended to include such European protagonists as Günter Brus, Joseph Beuys, Gina Pane, Urs Lüthi or Rudolf Schwarzkogler.

To mark the exhibition “Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950”, the BRUSEUM is devoted to the very aspect of artistic destruction neglected by the show conceived by the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington: Body Art in its early period from the specific angle of actionist self-injury. So here is a unique opportunity to locate Günter Brus’ late actionist art in an international context, and to test whether he really was the first to injure his own body as part of a performance, and thus is able to be considered as the ‘founder of Body Art’ as he has been described time and again. The exhibition approaches the phenomenon of self-injuring Body Art not only from a historical perspective, but also that of an ‘aesthetic of the elevated’ as initiated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences in one of its most recent research projects. The thesis is based on the assumption that both Body Art and the idea of the elevated have at their core mastery of the body and the emotional perceptions associated with it.

The exhibition, which is intended to come about through collaboration with other institutions, shows works by Vito Acconci, Günter Brus, Chris Burden, Terry Fox, Stephen Laub, Barry LeVa, Dennis Oppenheim, Gina Pane, Larry Smith, VALIE EXPORT and William Wegman among others.

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at BRUSEUM, Graz

until 15 February 2015

Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970

Peter Weibel, Initiation, 1971

Günter Brus, Der helle Wahnsinn, 1968

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“Damage Control – Body Art and Destruction 1968-1972” installation views at BRUSEUM, Graz, 2014

Courtesy: the artists, BRUSEUM, Graz; Galerie Kunst & Handel. Photo: Henning Wolters, Bill Beckley, Ludwig Hoffenreich and N. Lackner.

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