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Kunsthalle Bern AAS CFA Berlin Unpainted the map for contemporary art in Berlin Kunsthalle Zürich Gallery Weekend Berlin
7. May 2021

DO YOU REMEMBER CULTURE WAR? John Beeson on “Deserting from the Culture Wars,” edited by Maria Hlavajova and Sven Lütticken

In 2017, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht initiated a long-term research project, Propositions for Non-Fascist Living, aimed at exploring models for ways of living that counter resurging fascism and fascist tendencies. One of the project’s recent products is a volume edited by Maria Hlavajova and Sven Lütticken, “Deserting from the Culture Wars.” Its content developed out of a weeklong series of trainings, lectures, and discussions (in-person, pre-pandemic) that examined ongoing ideological combat, referred to as the culture wars, asking how these wars are defined and waged. Writer John Beeson considers the volume in relation to historical discourse surrounding the culture wars and analyzes the tactic it proposes – desertion. The book, according to Beeson, confirms that we need to better understand what would be deserted and the implications of any attempt to decamp.

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5. May 2021
Issue No. 77

Manufactum on canvas: On the widespread success of figurative painting Niklas Maak

It’s hard to believe but it’s true: Even after a hundred years of radical criticism questioning painting’s status as the alleged epitome of autonomous bourgeois art, figures painted in oil continue to make the hearts of many collectors and art writers leap. Figurative painting from Germany in particular – preferably subsumed under the term “Leipzig School” – regularly circulates as a top seller at art fairs and is beloved by neoliberal politicians. Critical discourse only disturbs the image of the artist often associated with this work, tinkering about in solitude at a distance from civilization. How can this phenomenon be explained? In 2010, Niklas Maak searched for answers to this question for “Texte zur Kunst.” One trail led him to the Rhineland region. Today we are republishing Maak’s contribution to issue #77, “Painting Is Not the Issue,” offering a warm-up to our June issue on “Figuration.”

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30. April 2021

THE NON-BEAUTIES Carlos Kong on Joachim Bandau at Kunsthalle Basel

In the wake of the Second World War, the body was subjected to new forms of violence and control. Joachim Bandau confronted this biopolitical reality in his group of contemporaneous sculptures, which he called “Die Nichtschönen” (the Nonbeauties), currently on view at Kunsthalle Basel. At once human and machine, figurative and abstract, Bandau’s sculptures embody a fetishistic appeal, as art historian Carlos Kong writes, with their sleek surfaces, erotic curves, and direct references to commodity culture and product design. All of this works to awaken historical specters, Kong argues, yet the works maintain relevance to our pandemic present.

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March 2021

Current Issue

Issue No. 121
March 2021
„Comedy“

The March issue of Texte zur Kunst, titled “Comedy,” investigates the comedic in art while also examining mass-media formats such as TV series and films. Comedy not only offers consolation and comfort by making the tragic seem comic; for the repressed, it also serves as a catalyst, addressing and thematizing repression through jokes, slapstick, or the grotesque. However, at a time when audiences increasingly demand political commitment and authenticity from art, comedic speech, which is inherently disingenuous, has fallen into disrepute: ironically distanced rhetoric is accused of turning a blind eye to social inequality. Together with Bert Rebhandl, author and co-publisher of the film magazine cargo, the editors conceptualized an issue that examines the role of the joke in art, the psychoanalytic dimension of the comedic, and the limits of satire in the age of Donald Trump.

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28. April 2021

This Is Tomorrow

HERMENEUTISCHER ZIRKEL: DER FALL #FREEBRITNEY Von Ekkehard Knörer

Seit 2008 steht Britney Spears unter der Vormundschaft ihres Vaters. Im Herbst 2019 erwirkte sie vor Gericht bereits die Niederlegung von dessen Verantwortung für ihr physisches Wohlergehen. Nun stimmte die Richterin des Verfahrens Britneys Antrag auf Anhörung zu und setzte diese für den 29. Juni fest. Ziel der Anhörung ist es, dem Vater in Zukunft auch die Aufsicht über Britneys ungeheures Vermögen zu entziehen. Der Vormundschaftsstreit hatte bereits Anfang Februar erneut Fahrt aufgenommen, nachdem ein von der „New York Times“ produzierter Dokumentarfilm über den Fall ausgestrahlt worden war und seither Rekordabrufe verbucht. Die Perspektive des Films ist mehr oder weniger die der Fan-Bewegung #FreeBritney, gesprochen wird im Namen des Stars. Dabei entsteht zuweilen der Eindruck, so Ekkehard Knörer, dass das als bevormundet beschriebene Subjekt Britney Spears, das sich in der Öffentlichkeit bislang kaum und jedenfalls nie frank und frei geäußert hat, nun seinerseits bevormundet wird, diesmal aber im Zeichen der Freiheit.

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Artists' Editions

Ross Bleckner, "As it Goes", 2021), (single work

23. April 2021

EQUIVOCAL CONTRAST Scott Roben on Evelyn Taocheng Wang at the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf

Mimesis has a rich tradition in the history of art, but the degree to which it is an effective or productive artistic strategy varies greatly. At first glance, Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s visual citations of Agnes Martin could be mistaken as pure and benign mimetic desire. Upon closer inspection, however, the artist’s quotations are far more complicated and critical, even perverse. Artist and writer Scott Roben reports here on Wang’s current exhibition in Düsseldorf and examines the economy of Wang’s work, which exists both amidst and beyond its web of discernible references, languages, genders, and nationalities.

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21. April 2021

This Is Tomorrow

IM DREIECK VON KUNST, GELD UND MENSCHLICHER REPRODUKTION Von Christina von Braun

Über NFTs diskutiert längst nicht mehr nur die Kunstwelt. Dabei ist die Debatte um den Status nicht-materieller Kunstgüter gar nicht neu. Einen Gegenstand formal zu Kunst zu erklären und somit auch instabilen, flüchtigen und ideellen Momenten Kunststatus zu verleihen, ist eine seit den 1960er Jahren etablierte Praxis im Umgang mit Kunst. So erwerben Sammler*innen konzeptueller und performativer Kunstwerke Zertifikate, die deren Authentizität als Unikate beglaubigen. Zwar mag verblüffen, dass die nicht-reproduzierbare Token-Kunst von heute zuweilen Preise im achtstelligen Bereich erzielt. Vergegenwärtigt man sich jedoch die Tatsache, dass mit der Ablösung des Geldes von materiellen Referenten wie Gold zugleich der Kunstmarkt wuchs und die Ablösung vom Goldstandard wiederum zeitlich mit den großen Entdeckungen der Zeugungsforschung zusammenfiel, wird deutlich, dass Reproduktion und Immaterialität nicht erst seit der Erfindung von NFTs notwendig aufeinander verwiesen sind. Ein kurzer kulturgeschichtlicher Abriss von Christina von Braun über die gegenseitige Abhängigkeit von Kunst, Geld und menschlicher Reproduktion.

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16. April 2021

DIFFERENCE AND REPETITION Harry C. H. Choi on Haegue Yang at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Air and water, two chemicals vital for life, establish the conceptual thread around which Haegue Yang’s recent solo exhibition in Seoul revolved. These two elements, however, remained elusive in the galleries; the artist’s eponymous sculpture was conspicuously absent, though not by oversight. Art historian and curator Harry C. H. Choi examines the significance of this choice, pointing to the artist’s practice of experimentation, association, and variation. At the MMCA, Yang’s experiments comprise a trial for their own sake, writes Choi, displaying an expansionist approach that will persist until she approaches a perhaps implausible end of complete exhaustion.

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14. April 2021
Issue No. 92

CLEVES AND TARTARS Sven Lütticken on H. P. Riegel’s biography of Joseph Beuys

In almost exactly one month, Joseph Beuys would have turned 100. To mark the occasion, around 20 museums and cultural institutions are dedicating themselves to the work of the controversial artist in a wide range of exhibitions, performances, theater, music, and teaching events. A biography on Beuys was published a few years ago and was widely discussed by the art world and in the feuilleton sections of newspapers: H. P. Riegel investigates the artist’s ties to National Socialist Germany, his highly problematic views on German history, and the self-mythologization that pervades his statements. Does this mean that Beuys’s practice should be rejected altogether? In a work so closely linked to the artist’s persona, often read through his own autobiographical interpretation of materials and motifs, we can barely separate the artist’s work form his ideology. What could Beuys still represent today for critical discourse? We are republishing here a text by Sven Lütticken from 2013 in which he reflects on a difficult reception.

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TEXTE ZUR KUNST stands for controversial discussions and contributions by internationally leading writers on contemporary art and culture. Alongside ground-breaking essays, the quarterly magazine – which was founded in Cologne in 1990 by Stefan Germer (†) and Isabelle Graw and has been published, since 2000, in Berlin – offers interviews, roundtable discussions, and comprehensive reviews on art, film, music, the market, fashion, art history, theory, and cultural politics. Since 2006, the journal's entire main section has been published in both German and English. Additionally, each issue features exclusive editions by internationally renowned artists, who generously support the magazine by producing a unique series.