Deutsche Guggenheim Commissions

James Rosenquist. The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (Paintings 1–3), 1997-98

James Rosenquist, The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (Paintings 1–3), 1997–98, Oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG in consultation with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. © James Rosenquist. View of installation at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, 1998

With the inauguration of the Deutsche Guggenheim in 1997, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank launched a unique and ambitious program of contemporary art commissions that has enabled the Guggenheim to act as a catalyst for artistic production. The participants in the series to date include both established and younger artists of various nationalities, working in a diversity of mediums, from paintings and photographs to large-scale sculptural and video installations.

The 350-square-meter space, designed by American architect Richard Gluckman and located in Deutsche Bank’s offices on the Unter den Linden, hosts a dynamic modern and contemporary art exhibition program that frequently draws from the extensive art holdings of both organizations. Focused, scholarly loan exhibitions, such as No Limits Just Edges: Jackson Pollock Works on Paper (2005) and Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy (2007), have premiered in Berlin before traveling to other museums in the Guggenheim network.

Perhaps most uniquely, however, the Deutsche Guggenheim annually commissions one or occasionally two new artworks or series by contemporary artists, which debut in Berlin in exhibitions organized in collaboration with the selected artist and one or more Guggenheim Museum curators. Many of these works are later shown in New York and Bilbao and enter the Guggenheim Foundation’s permanent collection.

A number of the commissions represent a continuation of the Guggenheim Foundation's existing commitments to particular artists, while others have afforded the opportunity to establish new working relationships. The 17 artists who have participated in the series to date comprise various nationalities, genders, and generations, and work in a diversity of mediums: Paweł Althamer, John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Jeff Koons, Julie Mehretu, Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist, Andreas Slominski, Agathe Snow, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall, Phoebe Washburn, Lawrence Weiner, and Rachel Whiteread.

Through these commissions, the Deutsche Guggenheim adapts the role of patron and promoter of contemporary art. In the words of former Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum director Lisa Dennison, the program has enabled Deutsche Bank and the Guggenheim Museum “to break free of our traditional roles in the arts—the corporation as sponsor and the museum as repository” and to “act as a catalyst for artistic production."

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