Jochen Gerz

Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College

For an American audience unfamiliar with Jochen Gerz’s work, the traveling retrospective “People Speak” provided a good introduction, offering a wide selection of work from the past 27 years. The exhibition included both freestanding sculptures and wall works combining text and image; exhibited as well were examples of “interactive sculptures” (some produced in collaboration with Esther Shalev-Gerz), pieces either re-created, presented in the form of photographic documentation, or made accessible by computer.

Though formally diverse, Gerz’s works all seek to empower viewers, offering them the authority and freedom to construct meaning. This is most evident in his “interactive sculptures,” which solicit public opinion as their primary material. Gerz supplies the means and the viewers supply the content. In the installation The Memorial Day for May 29, 1974, Takes Place on the Same Day, 1974,

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