Nina Möntmann

  • picks January 22, 2003

    “Creeping Revolution”

    This exhibition proposes that a “creeping revolution” is taking place under the seductive surface of a certain use of the decorative. Its underlying project is to reconcile politically committed artwork, which often adopts a “low-key” aesthetic, and art forms that are emphatically rooted in the image. For artists like Lily van der Stokker, Wilhelm Sasnal, or Silke Otto-Knapp, an approach to a social phenomenon is not stated explicitly but flows instead into a colorful allover camouflage; a wall painting with pink flowers; or a watercolor of palm trees in many shades of green. Many works—such as

  • Michaela Melián

    The Kunstverein Springhornhof, in the Lüneburg Heath of northern Germany, has for over thirty years focused on the theme of landscape and art, including site-specific works. As with some earlier projects here, Neuenkirchen’s proximity to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was a point of reference for some of the works in Michaela Melián’s exhibition “Triangel.” In machine-stitched “drawings” based on photographs from her trip to the memorials at the concentration camp, Melián outlined her motifs: train tracks that remind one of the Nazi deportation trains packed full of people, but also

  • picks December 16, 2002

    Thomas Demand

    Whoever thinks that Thomas Demand’s photographs—with their exactingly detailed, almost life-size, remarkably real-looking cardboard-model subject matter—verge on the obsessive will be pleasantly surprised by this Munich exhibition. Carefully curated by Susanne Gaensheimer, the show emphasizes the moments of narrative found in Demand’s reconstructed rooms and locations, while allowing his films their autonomy. In Demand’s first film, Tunnel, 1999, the camera moves through the set of an underpass, reconstructed from media photographs of the site of Princess Diana’s fatal accident. One hears the

  • picks September 27, 2002

    Nicole Wermers

    Nicole Wermers, who lives in Hamburg and London, is now well known for her miniature models of run-down shops and decked-out banquet halls. In “French Junkies” she continues her exploration of architectural interiors, while the exhibition’s title evokes a territory where enjoyment and addiction, and elegance and trash, overlap. A tiny modernist church is suggestively supplemented by projected images of bright perfume flasks, clipped by Wermers from glossy magazines to recall the crystalline transparence of stained glass. This cheeky glamour, playing out on the threshold of public and private,

  • “Ökonomien der Zeit”

    Given that theorists like Michel Foucault, Fredric Jameson, Henri Lefebvre, and their followers have explained societal phenomena convincingly in spatial terms, an exhibition titled “Ökonomien der Zeit” (Economies of time) tends to stand out. Curators Astrid Wege and Hans-Chstian Dany have articulated the theme by contesting the so-called New Economy, in which timeis characterized by efficiency: As much work as possible must be completed in as short a time as possible; flexibility and mobility become the watchwords for success. Whoever thinks of time differently, as a social value for instance,

  • “Art & Economy”

    Expectations could only be low: A corporation, Siemens, was hosting an exhibition on the theme of art and economy. Would there be room for critique, or would art just play the role of court jester? Such concerns were hardly assuaged by the room set aside here for the self-representations of firms that had agreed to answer questions about the politics of art in their business. As one might expect, these self-portraits dealt more or less openly with credibility, distinction, and power. They culminated in photographs of CEOs: modern-day courtly portraits, every last one of them a manly hero in a

  • Clay Ketter

    “You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties”: This syndrome could almost be the underlying reference of Clay Ketter's work. The “Kitchen Pieces,” which put him on the map in the mid-'90s, are based on modules from IKEA, Sweden's worldwide furniture manufacturer—kitchens everyone recognizes (or perhaps even has). They're a piece of global monoculture and thus a “non-site” in one's own home where family and party guests gather. Surface Habitat with Void, 1997, for instance, is a sort of tableau consisting of a built-in kitchen (which Ketter, a trained cabinetmaker, has altered in various

  • Dan Peterman

    Dan Peterman’s work comes from a brick building in Chicago (“the Building”), whose precincts housed a self-managed recycling yard, a bicycle repair shop, the publishers of a journal (The Baffler), a community service organization, and guest studios, as well as Peterman’s own work space. Peterman continually alternates between the production processes typical of the Building and those of the art industry. For example, the gray-greenish plastic from which he makes his variable object groups and which has become his signature was made there in the recycling center. After the Building burned down,