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"Make Your Own Life: Artists In and Out of Cologne"
2007-01-20 until 2007-04-22
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
Seattle, WA, USA United States of America

Make Your Own Life takes a look at the mythic proportions and art historical significance of the alternative scene based in Cologne in the late 80s and early 90s. Long an important city for art and commerce in Germany, during these years Cologne fostered a group of artists that bucked the establishment to raise important questions of artistic identity and institutional critique. For artists like Martin Kippenberger, Jutta Koether, Albert Oehlen, and Cosima von Bonin, art became a place to carve out their own terms of participation within the social, political, and economic constraints of the art world, where they could make their own lives the basis of their work, as Kippenberger exhorted.

This exhibition assembles the work of these figures alongside their American counterparts who exhibited in Cologne with them—Mike Kelley, Andrea Fraser, and Christopher Williams, among them. The art on view encapsulates a critical, independent ethos and encompasses a wide range of stylistic and conceptual bents through an array of media from painting to rock music. Today these artists have become the not-so-distant forebears for a current generation forging creative personae that continue to break away from art world expectations and set new standards. This ongoing trend is represented through the work of Lucy McKenzie, Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings, and others who have achieved critical success while retaining their countercultural stances.

Make Your Own Life: Artists In & Out of Cologne was curated by Bennett Simpson for the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Organized for the Henry Art Gallery by Associate Curator Sara Krajewski. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, ArtsFund, and the Washington State Arts Commission. In-kind support provided by Pyramid Breweries.

IMAGE
Hans-Jörg Mayer.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 1991.
Photo.
Collection Karola Graesslin;
courtesy of Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne/Berlin.


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