Magazine article Artforum International

Outside Art

Magazine article Artforum International

Outside Art

Article excerpt

One of the most interesting aspects of the Munster Sculpture Show in 1987 was simply walking around, trying to find the work. Since the site-specific pieces were frequently designed to blend in with their surroundings, subtly commenting on the various public spaces of this resurrected university town (like many German cities, Munster had to be largely reconstructed after World War II), one was forced into an intimate acquaintance with the city while hunting for the art. Ten years later, this summer's installment of "Skulptur: Projekte in Munster" promises to remake its host once again. According to curator Kaspar Konig, though, the show of works by sixty-five artists - the working list ranges from such influential figures as Sol LeWitt, Raymond Hains, Dan Graham, and Hans Haacke to Young Turks like Rirkrit Tiravanija, Mark Dion, Audrea Zittel, and Gabriel Orozco - almost didn't come off at all. "Between 1977 and 1987, art had undergone a real metamorphosis," Konig told me, "so in that sense, it was quite natural to do the sculpture show again [in '87]. However, between 1987 and now, the changes haven't been so radical, and consequently, I hadn't thought to do another show." Nonetheless, "the show in 1987 was such a success that the city was adamant we do it."

This enthusiasm wasn't always the case. "In 1977, people thought of someone like Henry Moore if they thought of public art at all. Minimalist work was perceived as something new and threatening." To provide a context for contemporary work, Klaus Bussman, now director of the city's Westfalisches Landesmuseum, and Konig curated the debut show in two parts, the first devoted to a chronological history of sculpture, with new work in the second. Konig loaded the latter section with Minimalist and post-Minimalist sculpture, showing projects by Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, and Richard Long among the nine artists selected. Ten years later, there was "much less resistance to looking at contemporary work. . . . With people like Jeff Koons, the art was more public in nature anyway; it didn't seem strange to be looking at it outside a museum." Consequently, "it wasn't necessary to do something like the historical overview that we did for the first show; it was simply a matter of showing the work."

This time, like last, the "simply" is deceptive: getting the myriad pieces approved and then placed within the original boundaries of the old city can be difficult. …

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