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PUBLIC OPTIONS: THE ART OF CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE

CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE IS A MIRROR TO OUR BAD CONSCIENCE. In May 1968—as the revolutionary ambitions of the ’60s reached their pinnacle—the thirty-seven-year-old West German artist expressed her struggle to reconcile her artistic practice with her political convictions: “I find it difficult to accept that art cannot contribute to the solution of pressing social problems,” she wrote in the Switzerland-based Art International.¹ A year and a half later, she issued a less equivocal statement, tartly declining to submit a proposal for an art project in a public-housing development in Bielefeld, West Germany: “Each investment exceeding the minimum satisfaction of the actual needs [of the tenants] serves only to pretend these needs are met completely,” she asserted in the significant if little-known Frankfurt-based cultural magazine EgoIst.

That is why 38,000 DM are to be invested . . . for a fountain

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