Thomas Demand

  • Michael Schmidt, untitled, 2006–2010, C-print, 21 ¼ × 32 1/8". From the one-hundred-seventy-seven-part suite Lebensmittel (Foodstuff), 2006–2010. © The Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive
    June 19, 2020

    “Michael Schmidt: Retrospective Photographs 1965–2014”

    Curated by Thomas Weski and Walter Moser

    Michael Schmidt (1945–2014) is mostly remembered as the portraitist of la triste réalité of Germany after the war, the bleak Berlin divided by the wall. However, he found a way out of this cul-de-sac and developed a more diverse and curious account of the world around him than most people know. This retrospective will reassess his importance as the other lodestar of postwar photography in and about Germany besides the Bechers. Whereas their work gained near-monumental status for its conceptual purity and iconic relativity, Schmidt’s is refreshingly

  • View of “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

    The Artists’ Artists

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum asked an international group of artists to select a single exhibition or event that most memorably captured their eye in 2017.


    Rei Kawakubo (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) This exhibition was an ecstatic explosion of imagination and ingenuity with a radical reconsideration of form at its core. Much of Kawakubo’s work is joyful and energetic, yet it is far from escapist; her practice is deeply grounded in the social, aesthetic, and material history of clothing and in the importance we humans have assigned to appearance and comportment.

  • Michael Schmidt, “Lebensmittel,” 2006–10, c-print, 22 x 32”.
    passages July 23, 2014

    Michael Schmidt (1945–2014)

    I AM NOT SURE if it’s appropriate to picture someone who was a great human being with a tremendous love of life by first mentioning that he was a former policeman. But imagine a friendly cop, someone who would know how valuable the idea of organization and order is for society. Michael Schmidt wouldn’t let go. So when you discussed images with him, he would have a firm conviction, paired with an openness and tremendous generosity to give advice and support. He would be sure of his own work by the time he showed it, but he freely admitted that he wasn’t certain until he had it where he needed it

  • Philippe Rahm Architectes, Evaporated Rooms, 2011–12, Lyon, France. Apartment interior. Photo: Nicolas Pauly, 2012.


    Trading Spaces a roundtable on art and architecture Art and architecture meet more often and more profoundly today than ever before—from public art to the art-fair tent, from the pavilion to the installation. But if the interchange between these fields offers a host of new possibilities for structure, space, and experience, it also makes reflection on their status more urgent. To chart this complex constellation of interactions, Artforum invited critics HAL FOSTER and SYLVIA LAVIN; artists THOMAS DEMAND, HILARY LLOYD, and DORIT MARGREITER; architects STEVEN HOLL and PHILIPPE RAHM; and curator HANS ULRICH OBRIST—a group whose pioneering work marks the front lines of art-architecture exchange—to engage in a conversation moderated by Artforum senior editor Julian Rose.

    JULIAN ROSE: While many agree that there is an unprecedented level of interchange between art and architecture today, there is surprisingly little consensus about what, specifically, these interactions entail or where they actually take place. Which models of interaction between art and architecture are most significant, and where can we begin to locate them?

    STEVEN HOLL: Architecture is an art—the premise of a division is specious.

    THOMAS DEMAND: I do think there is a clear difference between the practices, though. Every time I’ve ever worked with an architect, the collaboration was based

  • Thomas Demand, Kontrollraum (Control Room), 2011, Diasec mounted C-print, 78 3/4 x 118 1/8".

    Thomas Demand

    PHOTOGRAPHY IS A MODEL of a mutual understanding: We all grasp how it works and what it takes to make an image that the viewer can identify as “photographic.” In this relation between photograph and viewer, the technical side doesn’t have much relevance (as we learned with the change to digital), nor does the photographer’s subjectivity, now that the source of an image is just as important (think of Lynndie England or any Facebook posting). At the same time, the so-called transparency of an image is rarely as clear as one would wish. Take, for example, the photographs of the control room of the


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2006.


    “Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) In a rather cynical mode, I trudged uptown one day last spring to see the Munch show at MoMA for what I thought would be a cliché-ridden overview of Nordic gloom-goth. What I got instead was a hard punch to the gut: powerful color, radical ideas about the depiction of memory as space, paintings with emotional vanishing points rather than rational optical