Generously illustrated essays consider Isa Genzken's remarkable body of work, from her early elegant floor pieces to her later explosive assemblages.
Since the late 1970s, the Berlin-based contemporary artist Isa Genzken (b. 1948) has produced a body of work that is remarkable for its formal and material inventiveness. In her sculptural practice, Genzken has developed an expanded material repertoire that includes plaster, concrete, epoxy resin, and mass-produced objects that range from action figures to discarded pizza boxes. Her heterogeneous assemblages, a New York Times critic observes, are “brash, improvisational, full of searing color and attitude.” Genzken, the recent subject of a major retrospective at MoMA, offers a highly original interpretation of modernist, avant-garde, and postminimalist practices even as she engages pressing sociopolitics and economic issues of the present.
These illustrated essays address the full span of Genzken's work, from the elegant floor sculptures with which she began her career to the assemblages, bursting with color and bristling with bric-a-brac, that she has produced since the beginning of the millennium. The texts, by writers including Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and the artist herself, consider her formation in the West German milieu; her critique of conventions of architecture, reconstruction, and memorialization; her sympathy with mass culture; and her ongoing interrogation of public and private spheres. Two texts appear in English for the first time, including a quasi-autobiographical screenplay written by Genzken in 1993.
Contributors Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Diedrich Diederichsen, Hal Foster, Isa Genzken, Isabelle Graw, Lisa Lee, Pamela M. Lee, Birgit Pelzer, Juliane Rebentisch, Josef Strau, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lawrence Weiner
Contents Isa Genzken: Two Exercises (1974) • Birgit Pelzer: Axiomatics Subject to Withdrawal (1979) • Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: Isa Genzken: The Fragment as Model (1992) • Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: Isa Genzken: Fuck the Bauhaus. Architecture, Design, and Photography in Reverse (2014) • Isa Genzken: Sketches for a Feature Film (1993) • Isabelle Graw: Free to Be Dependent: Concessions in the Work of Isa Genzken (1996) • Diedrich Diederichsen: Subjects at the End of the Flagpole (2000) • Pamela M. Lee: The Skyscraper at Ear Level (2003) • Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: All Things Being Equal (2005) • Wolfgang Tillmans: Isa Genzken: A Conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans (2003) • Diedrich Diederichsen: Diedrich Diederichsen in Conversation with Isa Genzken (2006) • Lisa Lee: “Make Life Beautiful!” The Diabolic in the Work of Isa Genzken (A Tour Through Berlin, Paris, and New York) (2007) • Lawrence Weiner: Isa Genzken Again (2010) • Juliane Rebentisch: The Dialectic of Beauty: On the Work of Isa Genzken (2007) • Yve-Alain Bois: The Bum and the Architect (2007) • Josef Strau: Isa Genzken: Sculpture as Narrative Urbanism (2009) • Hal Foster: Fantastic Destruction (2014)
About the Author
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern Art in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and an editor of October magazine. He is the author of Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975 (MIT Press) and other books.
Diedrich Diederichsen is Professor of Theory, Practice, and Communication of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna.
Pamela M. Lee is Carnegie Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale University and the author of Object to Be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark, Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s, Forgetting the Art World (all published by the MIT Press) and The Glen Park Library: A Fairy Tale (no place press).
Lisa Lee is Assistant Professor of Art History at Emory University. She is coeditor (with Hal Foster) of Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn (MIT Press, 2013).
Yve-Alain Bois studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes under the guidance of Roland Barthes and Hubert Damisch. A founder of the French journal Macula, Bois is currently a professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ.
Hal Foster is Townsend Martin '17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and the author of Prosthetic Gods (MIT Press) and other books.
Table of Contents
Series preface vii
Two Exercises, 1973 (1974) Isa Genzken 1
Axiomatics Subject to Withdrawal (1979) Birgit Peizer 7
Isa Genzken: The Fragment as Model (1992) Benjamin H. D. Buchloh 13
Isa Genzken: Fuck the Bauhaus. Architecture, Design, and Photography In Reverse (2014) Benjamin H. D. Buchloh 33
Sketches for a Feature Film (1993) Isa Genzken 49
Free to Be Dependent: Concessions In the Work of Isa Genzken (1996) Isabella Craw 61
Subjects at the End of the Flagpole (2000) Diedrich Dicderichsen 73
The Skyscraper at Ear Level (2003) Pamela M. Lee 85
All Things Being Equal (2005) Benjamin H. D. Buchloh 93
Isa Genzken: A Conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans (2003) Wolfgang Tillmans 99
Diedrich Diederichsen In Conversation with Isa Genzken (2006) Diedrich Diederichsen 111
Make Life Beautiful! The Diabolic in the Work of Isa Genzken (A Tour through Berlin, Paris, and New York) (2007) Lisa Lee 125
Isa Genzken Again (2010) Lawrence Weiner 147
The Dialectic of Beauty: On the Work of Isa Genzken (2007) Juliane Rebentisch 149
The Bum and the Architect (2007) Yve-Alain Bois 163
Isa Genzken: Sculpture as Narrative Urbanism (2009) Josef Strau 183
Fantastic Destruction (2014) Hal Foster 191
Index of Names 201