PRINT November 2007

John Kelsey

Cosima von Bonin, Untitled (Krebber über Krebber), 1990, black-and-white photograph, 37 3/4 x 13 1/4".

THAT SCHOOL FOR HER WAS THE LOCAL BOOKSTORE and bartending in a city without an academy, serving people like Martin Kippenberger and Rosemarie Trockel, may be one reason why Cosima von Bonin is so singularly attuned to the dynamics by which artists emerge and become recognized as actors in their field. As the story goes, her own career begins with the moment she suddenly insists that her friends and customers in Cologne thenceforth refer to her as “the artist” Cosima von Bonin. Ever since, her practice has been an elaboration of the notion that the artist is information transmitted and received. All her themes—the self-historicizing of a community that both includes and excludes, indoctrination and discipline, role-playing and rank, the performance of success and failure, etc.—announce artistic production as a tactical, performative engagement with a given set of power

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