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"HANNE DARBOVEN'S EXPLORATIONS OF TIME, HISTORY, AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY"
1999-09-04 until 1999-11-07
BUSCH-REISINGER MUSEUM, Harvard University Art Museums
Cambridge, MA, USA United States of America

Hanne Darboven: Works 1969/1972/1983 showcases three decades of Darbovens work and her continuing exploration of the relationship between aesthetic modernism and the treatment of history. Through a selection of works from each decade, Hanne Darboven reveals the complexity of the artists approach to time, history, and contemporary society. Focusing on Darbovens use of a broad range of media, including handwritten and typewritten texts, photographs, and films, this exhibition demonstrates the range and intensity of one of Germanys leading contemporary artists.

At the center of this exhibition, For Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1983) is an impressive 90-panel work that includes postcards, collaged photographs, and lithographic printing in addition to the artists signature handwritten calendrical counting. On loan from the Municipal Gallery in the Lenbachhaus in Munich, Germany, this work has never been exhibited in the United States. For Rainer Werner Fassbinder represents a critical engagement with the work of Fassbinder, one of post-WWII Germanys most important and controversial film-makers. Hanne Darboven opens September 4 at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, where it will remain on view through November 7.

Darboven (b. 1941) first exhibited in New York in the late 1960s, where she had extensive contact with Minimalist and Conceptual artists such as Donald Judd, Carl Andre, and Sol LeWitt. During that period, she began creating serial drawings, often in extensive sequences, based on systems of counting she derived from the calendar. This technique became central to Darbovens work, and the two other pieces in the exhibition showcase this pivotal point in her career. An untitled work from 1969 (from the Panza Collection, on long term loan to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York) consists of 147 typewritten sheets of calendrical counting, a large-scale accumulation of possible visual formats and layouts for her renderings and calculations of dates.

A recent acquisition by the Busch-Reisinger Museum offers another tabular layout of numerical sequences and progressions. This 19-part untitled drawing of 1972, handwritten in ink on vellum and related to Darbovens massive work Requiem (1971-1985), exemplifies the graphic complexity and originality of Darbovens calendrical drawings. Since Darbovens return from New York to her hometown of Hamburg in 1969, her work has evolved to encompass the diverse media and the challenging historical subject matter represented in For Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Hanne Darboven has received widespread international recognition for her unique and challenging projects. Since 1967, she has had major one-person shows in museums and galleries throughout Europe, as well as in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, and her work was included in the important international exhibitions, Documenta 5 (1972), 6 (1977), and 7 (1982) in Kassel, Germany. Darboven represented the Federal Republic of Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1982, and her 1997 work, 12 Monate (Europaarbeit) is part of the permanent exhibition in the recently re-opened Reichstag building in Berlin. This fall, Darboven will participate in the renowned exhibition of contemporary art, the Carnegie International, held in Pittsburgh.

The Art Museums have a long history of scholarship and study in the field of German art and culture, and we are very pleased to present this exhibition which examines one of the most important artists working in Germany today. This exhibition will provide students and scholars with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Darbovens work and the rich historical and cultural tradition which has helped shape her distinctive style, said James Cuno, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard University Art Museums.

Hanne Darboven: Works 1969/1972/1983 is organized by Peter Nisbet, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, with Brigid Doherty, Assistant Professor of the History of Art, The Johns Hopkins University, as co-curator. The exhibition and related programs and publications have been made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum.

The Busch-Reisinger Museum has recently taken a particular interest in acquiring and presenting the work of postwar German artists who approach art issues that are cooler and more conceptual than their perhaps better known, more expressive and overtly emotional contemporaries, said Nisbet. After exhibitions of the work of such artists as Bernhard and Anna Blume (1996), GŁnter Umberg (1997), and Ben Willikens (1998), we are very pleased to offer our students and visitors the chance to engage deeply with a variety of work by one of the most complex, dedicated, and individual artists working in Europe today.


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