Kunstverein München, one of the oldest art associations, will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023.
The annual program is thus devoted to an investigation and negotiation of the institution, its history, and its audiences, as well as the artists who shaped it. Beginning with a solo exhibition by Richard Frater in January, the bicentennial program continues with a constantly evolving exhibition of archival material from May to August, a celebratory anniversary weekend at the end of June, and a comprehensive publication featuring Andrea Fraser, Christian Fuhrmeister, Quinn Latimer, Doreen Mende, Philip Ursprung, and many more.
The program is linked to numerous forms and structural changes performed in the run-up to the bicentennial, which emphasize the archive’s incompleteness and the ability of constantly rethinking and revisiting it. This involves the permanent establishment of the Archive Space, which will serve as a repository for portions of the institutional archive as well as a venue for public gatherings designed in partnership with archivists, historians, and artists. Along with this, a three-part summer school titled The Stories We Tell Ourselves will be held, which will investigate forms of collective knowledge production; the establishment of a full-time archivist position; the comprehensive digitization of historical records, which will be made available through digital infrastructures such as the Archive Newsletters and the web chronicle; and a focus on the reappraisal of the institution’s complex and antagonistic past will form the foundation of thinking along 200 years.
The Kunstverein is a forum for social engagement as well as the production and display of modern art. As a result, the year ahead is a container that can carry a variety of stories rather than a framework in which a single narrative is woven. It is consequently critical not only to repair historical gaps, but also to change the institutions through which work is produced, documented, and archived in order for more porous narratives to develop.
Richard Frater: Off season
January 28–April 23, 2023
Richard Frater’s artworks are inspired by the constructed environment and the fragile nature of organism-to-organism relationships. Off season, the New Zealand-born artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Europe, attends to the Kunstverein München and its building as a (allegedly) public space through a series of site-specific interventions. Frater has created numerous new works based on an investigation of the design and location of the edifice, as well as an interest in the (de)privatization of space. All of these pieces travel along certain axes of the Kunstverein building. They extend from the conventional exhibition spaces to the attic and neighboring parks, providing for new vistas both within and outside the institution.
The Kunstverein is situated in an urban area that is not entirely populated by humans; cities have always been inhabited by other living beings. Wildlife’s social behaviors and geographical activities are self-organized. They, too, have discovered methods to integrate into metropolitan areas that are frequently unfriendly to their way of life. With the works on display—spatio-sculptural interventions such as an elevated walkable scaffolding revealing a direct view out the windows and a flight tunnel for the aerial dwellers—Frater addresses the ways in which humans produce space without regard for the needs of other species and advocates for the establishment of adequate cohabitation spaces. Furthermore, the artist recommends reimagining the types of public spheres that organizations such as the Kunstverein München can provide. Such issues are especially important in the year of the association’s bicentennial, as it negotiates its future and the areas it will access, require, lose, or make available to others.
designed by Julian Göthe
from February 2023
For the bicentennial, the window at the Hofgarten, the institution’s only permanently accessible location, is transformed into a display of archival finds that provide insight into the activities of the Kunstverein over the past 200 years. The display element, designed by Julian Göthe as a modular sculpture, will house a constantly changing selection of documents that trace the institution’s bureaucratic, discursive, or seemingly marginal activity.
Director: Maurin Dietrich
Curator: Gloria Hasnay
Assistant Curator: Gina Merz