The Total Work of Art Lecture Series

The Total Work of Art Lecture Series


March 2002—This spring, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents a lecture series entitled The Total Work of Art. The series of lectures, planned in collaboration with the Louvre Museum, Paris, will explore the history of the Gesamtkunstwerk, which is defined as the complete integration of art, architecture, music, poetry, and drama. The lectures will trace the development of the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk from the 19th century through the early 20th century avant-garde, and will reveal its relevance to contemporary artistic practices.

The series has been organized by Julian Zugazagoitia, Executive Assistant to the Director of the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Jean Galard, Chief of Cultural Services of the Louvre Museum, Paris. The first portion of the series, which took place in January in Paris, brought together an international group of scholars, artists, and architects, including Enrico Castelnuovo, Antoine Compagnon, Peter Eisenman, Éric Michaud, Glenn Most, and Hani Rashid. The Total Work of Art Lecture Series is sponsored by The Florence Gould Foundation, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and AFAA—French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 19th century witnessed the birth of art forms that sought to address all of the senses and to encompass many forms of experience. The idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk first proposed in the late 1840s by German composer Richard Wagner, envisioned a fusion of all arts, including the visual arts, architecture, dance, music, sculpture and theatre. Gesamtkunstwerk represents not only a synthesis of various techniques, media, and academic disciplines, but also a conceptualization of art as a means for dialogue with the viewer. In the lecture series, artists and art historians will use the notion of Gesamtkunstwerk as a point of departure for addressing a range of subjects, epochs and methodological approaches.

The Total Work of Art lectures take place on selected Tuesdays in the Peter B. Lewis Theater at The Sackler Center for Arts Education, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for members, students, and seniors. A subscription to the entire lecture series is available for $36. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum box office or by telephone at (212) 423-3587.

Following is the schedule for The Total Work of Art:

Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 7 pm
Serge Gruzinski: The First Globalization
Serge Gruzinski, historian and Directeur d'Etudes à l'Ecole Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, analyzes the colonization of the Americas as the first example of globalization and the works of art produced in these colonies as the first cultural hybrids.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002 at 7 pm
Marcela Lista: Breaking Apart the Gesamtkunstwerk
Marcela Lista, Associate Professor at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, examines relationships between the avant-garde and popular culture during the 20th century.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002 at 7 pm
Jean Nouvel: All-Encompassing Architecture
The French architect Jean Nouvel discusses his practice as a way of conceiving Total Environments: designs that create harmony between site, surroundings, and inhabitants.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002 at 7 pm
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York and Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude present an overview of their collaborations and discuss their two current works in progress.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 7 pm
Shoja Azari, Sussan Deyhim, Shirin Neshat: Collaborations and Processes
This writer/filmmaker, composer, and visual artist trio will discuss the experience of creating a collective work of art.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 7 pm
Jean Galard: The Art Without Works
Jean Galard, Philosopher and Head of Cultural Services at the Louvre Museum, Paris, discusses artistic expressions that do not become materialized works of art.

March 15, 2002

For Press Information:
Betsy Ennis/Sasha Nicholas, Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Telephone: (212) 423-3840
Telefax: (212) 423-3787

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