Gerhard Richter scandalized by German choice for 2011 Venice Biennale

Gerhard Richter, “Abstraktes Bild (Abstract Painting),” 2009, oil on canvas, 84cm x 84cm
Gerhard Richter, “Mund Mouth (Brigitte Bardot’s Lips),” 1963, oil on canvas, 67cm X 74cm

In ArtForum, Jennifer Allen reports that Gerhard Richter is pissed off because filmmaker/theater director, installation/performance artist  Christoph Schlingensief has been selected to represent Germany at the next Venice Biennale in 2011. “That’s a scandal,” Richter is reported to have said by the Berliner Zeitung. “They’re taking a performer although we have thousands of artists.” Richter associates the selection of the multitasking director Schlingensief with “the decline of painting.” Curator Susanne Gaensheimer who made the choice has reacted with a written statement, published by Art magazine. While honoring Richter’s role as “the most important living artist of the twentieth century,” Gaensheimer consciously chose Schlingensief as an artist who challenges both the content and the form of decidedness while transgressing borders. “In association with the German pavilion, I view his work as a contribution to discussions about the deterritorialization of the arts and to questions regarding the social relevance of art.” Schlingensief’s influences include Joseph Beuys‘s ideas about social sculpture, Allan Kaprow and Dieter Roth.

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  1. "deterritorialization?" ugh. jargon zombie.

  2. Indeed. "Destabilize" or even the dreaded "problematize" sound positively down-to-earth next to this gem. Power positions remain unchanged – deterritorialize that.

  3. It's not just a German problem.

    This dilation or dilution (sorry about the jargon) of art in the interests of activist events underlines a massive problem for the arts generally.

    Essentially it confuses form with content, and is fundamentally a philosophical issue.

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