“Der Malerals Outlaw” (The Painter as Outlaw), the title of the 2008–2009 exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich devoted to local legend Friedrich Kuhn (1926–1972), gives a fair indication of how he is remembered in the city he called home. Like that of many a larger-thanlife bad boy who drank himself into an early grave, his mythology is a catalogue of bohemian outragesthe rows with collectors or would-be benefactors, the terrorizing of upmarket restaurants, the unruly entouragethat risks overshadowing the work itself.
Some of Kuhn’s most remarkable work, or at least that most resonant today because of its Pop-surreal sensibility, graphic punchiness, and cross-media profligacy, was produced during the last few years of his rambunctious life. These were the years foregrounded in the capsule show judiciously curated by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen of the Zurich-based project
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.