Elizabeth Janus

  • “The End of the World & A Principle of Hope”

    This show promises to stand out among the end-of-millennium celebrations, primarily because it will carry the quirky signature of its organizer, Harald Szeemann, whose sweeping survey-style exhibitions over the past few years have tackled subjects no less daunting than the “comprehensive” history of cinema or Austrian art and culture. Gathering an eclectic array of sources from art, philosophy, literature, and music, the exhibition will concentrate on historical and contemporary representations of chaos, cosmic disorder, natural and man-made disasters, and religious predictions about the end of

  • “White Fire—Flying Man: American Art of the Second Half of the 20th Century”

    Basel's public collection, the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, has become one of Switzerland's most impressive groupings of twentieth-century art. The exhibition presents a selection of pieces by more than forty artists from its holdings of postwar American work (including important pieces from the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation's collection, on long-term loan to the museum). Gems by AbEx pioneers Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman (whose painting White Fire, along with Jonathan Borofsky's sculpture Flying Man, inspired the show's title) will be shown alongside major works by Jasper Johns,

  • Pipilotti Rist

    It’s surprising that with all the attention Pipilotti Rist has received in the last few years this exhibition was the artist’s first major solo show in her hometown. Happily, Rist didn’t disappoint, presenting five new works created for the show and one big installation, Himalaya Goldsteins Stube (Remake of the Weekend), 1998–99, which had already shown in Berlin and Vienna but was here expanded and reworked. Aptly organized around a partly autobiographical, partly fictional idea of “home,” the Kunsthalle was divided into seven spaces, like different areas of a house. In the entryway (which Rist

  • “André Thomkins: Imaginary Rooms”

    Though little known outside of Switzerland, André Thomkins’s enigmatic art was an important reference point for contemporaries like Daniel Spoerri and Dieter Roth, as well as for artists of later generations, particularly Markus Raetz. This exhibition, the first major retrospective since the artist’s death in 1986, will include approximately 300 works tracing Thomkins’s evolution from the early Surrealist-inspired drawings of the ’50s and ’60s to his later, more visionary paintings, watercolors, and sculptures. The show will be organized around key themes in the artist’s work, such as the “


    In his 1960 novel, La noia (Boredom), Alberto Moravia blamed the existential ennui of postwar Europe on a reality that had grown patently absurd. For Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, too, reality’s failings are at the heart of our present-day malaise, which he wholeheartedly accepts as an aspect of the human condition. Taking this premise as his point of departure, Rondinone creates mixed-media installations that run the gamut of artistic genres and techniques—including landscape drawing, abstract painting, photographic portraiture, realist sculpture, and video—and reflect the belief that

  • “Global Vision: New Art from the 90's”

    The first of a three-part series devoted to cross-cultural identity, “Global Vision: New Art from the 90’s” inaugurated Athens’s new Centre for Contemporary Art, the pet project of Greek Cypriot collector Dakis Joannou, whose Deste Foundation was behind a number of high-profile exhibitions in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The premise of this show, while not particularly new or original, was nevertheless a sign that US-style multiculturalism has begun to make headway in Europe, where cultural difference is a major topic of discussion as the continent moves toward economic and political unification.

  • John Armleder

    Though most people came to know him through his mid-’80s painting and installation work, John Armleder was in fact a founding member of Ecart, the late-’60s Fluxus-inspired artists’ collective that staged happenings, published books, and created objet trouvé installations. In this survey, organized by acting Kunsthalle director Margrit Brehm, Armleder’s early works will be re-created and documented alongside a selection of abstract canvases and “furniture sculptures”—both of which play on the utopian seriousness of Russian Constructivism. The centerpiece should be his installation of scaffolding

  • Long-Tail Elephant

    A year after the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square and the emigration of some of China’s most progressive cultural forces, four Canton-based artists—Liang Ju Hui, Xu Tan, Chen Shao Xiong, and Lin Yilin—began a collaborative project under the name “Long-Tail Elephant.” Organizing clandestine exhibitions and staging art actions throughout Canton, their “unofficial” work quickly became an underground phenomenon. Viewers in Europe will get a first glimpse of “Long-Tail Elephant” at the Kunsthalle Bern, where the artists plan to present collective and individual works in

  • Artists' Dialogues—Resonances: Josef and Anni Albers

    Though Josef Albers is best remembered for passing on Bauhaus principles to an illustrious roster of students in the US, it is less known that his own art was closely connected with that of his wife, Anni. As part of a series dedicated to artist couples, the Kunstmuseum will present a range of the Albers’ work, as well as the pre-Columbian sculptures and textiles Anni collected. Organized by Josef Helfenstein and Henriette Mentha, the show will also take advantage of the Kunstmuseum’s Paul Klee Foundation to look at the influence the couple’s eminent Bauhaus instructor had on the duo. A catalogue

  • Jean-Frédéric Schnyder

    Jean-Frédéric Schnyder’s obsessive, single-theme paintings have been a fixture of the Swiss art scene for a good twenty years. Like a nineteenth-century landscape painter, he usually works en plein air, rendering one subject—say, a highway or some patch of Alpine countryside—over and over until, in the artist’s words, “it exhausts itself” or he runs out of paint. For this exhibition, curated by Kunsthalle director Bernhard Burgi, the artist is putting together an installation of 163 canvases made over the course of a single year, all depictions of a daily occurrence—the setting of the sun—seen

  • Andreas Slominski

    Andreas Slominski might be described as part handyman, part quixotic philosopher. His fabricated or reconfigured everyday items, like dust rags or matchsticks, force the viewer to question the interplay between seeing something and knowing it. This summer in Zürich, Slominski will exhibit a selection of his various snarelike objects—ranging from tiny mousetraps to large contraptions that are both menacing and absurd—and a group of old calendar remnants that resemble minimalist drawings (the show also promises a new site-specific installation by the Hamburg-based artist). The accompanying catalogue

  • new directors for Bern and Lucerne

    THERE IS FRESH BLOOD at two venerable Swiss art institutions. Ulrich Loock, the German curator who has been the director of the Kunsthalle in Bern for the past twelve years, left in August to become director of the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne. The Kunstmuseum is moving into a new home, now under construction and scheduled for completion in January 2000. Replacing Loock is Bernhard Fibicher, a Swiss curator who spent several years at the Museum of Fine Arts in Sion—capital of the alpine state of Valais—before moving to the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1995 to head its department of works on paper.

    Though little