Kippenberger’s complicated coherence at MOCA

Senior MOCA curator Ann Goldstein talks to Suzanne Muchnic in the LA Times about the Martin Kippenberger survey she has organized. “One can only understand Kippenberger through the breadth and volume of his practice,” Goldstein says. “He produced hundreds and hundreds of works. I have settled on 250, but that doesn’t account for the fact that one of those is a multi-part installation or that another work comprises 56 canvases and another, 47 drawings.

“Kippenberger claimed a position for himself as a publisher, curator and performer, as well as author of objects,” she says. “He was keenly aware of the roles artists play and challenged ideas of authorship and originality. He cannibalized himself over time, recycled his images and worked with assistants and other artists to produce his work, even conceive of the work.

“He really complicated things, but through that complication I think one can see a coherence. My hope is that through the volume, one will have a clear understanding of Kippenberger.” Check out the slideshow in which Goldsteiin discusses five specific pieces.

The book that accompanies the show documents Kippenberger’s twenty-year career with works in many media–paintings, sculptures, works on paper, installations, photographs, collaborations with other artists, posters, postcards, books, and music. Among the major works reproduced are key selections from the “I.N.P. Bilder (Is Not Embarrassing Pictures)” and “No Problem” paintings of the 1980s; the 1987 exhibition of sculpture Peter. Die russische Stellung” (“Peter. The Russian Position”); self-portraits in a variety of media; “Laterne an Betrunkene (Street Lamp for Drunks)”; the “Raft of the Medusa” cycle of the 1990s; the Hotel drawings; and the monumental installation, “The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s ‘Amerika.'” Accompanying the artworks is an essay by Goldstein; newly commissioned texts by art historian Pamela Lee, Kippenberger scholar Diedrich Diederichsen, and curator Ann Temkin; reprinted excerpts from a 1991 interview with Kippenberger by artist Jutta Koether; and an illustrated exhibition history, chronology, and bibliography.

Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective,” curated by Ann Goldstein. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. Through Jan. 5. Traveling to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 1- May 11, 2009.

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