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Dia Acquires 155 Sculptural Works by Charlotte Posenenske

The Dia Art Foundation announced that 155 sculptural works by the German artist Charlotte Posenenske (1930–1985) will enter its collection, the largest acquisition of the artist’s works by a museum to date. The majority of the pieces are from four series created during Posenenske’s final two years of practice, 1967 and 1968.

“Charlotte Posenenske created an exceptionally innovative body of work within a focused and abbreviated period of time. While she exhibited widely during the years that she was active—alongside peers such as Hanne Darboven, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt—her contributions have been largely overlooked and unexamined until now,” said Dia director Jessica Morgan. “It is rare to have an opportunity to bring a single artist’s work into our collection in such volume. This major acquisition exemplifies Dia’s unique commitment to sustained engagement with an artist’s practice.”

Active as an artist in Germany between 1956 and 1968, Posenenske created works that were in dialogue with international movements of the time, ranging from Art Informel and Group Zero to Minimalism and Conceptual art. Throughout her practice, she focused on questions of authorship and labor. In 1967, she fully transitioned to making sculptural objects.

During the last two years of her practice, Posenenske developed five industrially fabricated, mass-produced series of modular, geometric sculptures: Series B, C, D, DW, and E. Minimal in aesthetic, the elements within each series were meant to be variously activated by their “consumers”—presenters or purchasers—who were invited to assemble the parts into unique combinations. Posenenske considered these sculptures as being collaboratively authored—by the artist who designed them, the workers who fabricated them, and the consumers who combined them—and as prototypes for mass production.

By 1968, Posenenske published a statement in Art International declaring her intention to cease making art: “It is painful for me to face that art cannot contribute to the solution of urgent social problems.” From then on, she dedicated herself to the study of sociology. Posenenske’s work can be found in major institutions such as the Centre Pompidou and Tate. In 2009, she was part of the exhibition “In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976” at the Museum of Modern Art, and the following year her work was featured in a solo show at New York’s Artists Space.

The first North American retrospective dedicated to Posenenske will premiere at Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York, this spring. “Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress” will highlight the entirety of the artist’s intensely productive twelve-year practice. Spanning from her earliest experiments with mark-making and drawing, to her transitional aluminum wall-reliefs, to her final modular sculptural projects, the exhibition will include both the original prototypes for her sculptures and more than 150 newly fabricated elements. These works will be presented at Dia:Beacon in site-specific displays from March 8 to September 9, 2019.

Curated by Morgan and associate curator Alexis Lowry, the exhibition will then travel internationally to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf, and the Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.