Ten Contemporary Artists Formulate a Group Exhibition


Featuring Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jorge Pardo, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija

Exhibition: theanyspacewhatever
Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
           1071 Fifth Avenue, New York City
Dates: October 24, 2008 – January 7, 2009
Media Preview: Thursday, October 23, 2008, 10 am – 1 pm

(NEW YORK, NY – October 7, 2008) – During the 1990s a number of artists claimed the exhibition as their medium. Working independently or in various collaborative constellations, they eschewed the individual object in favor of the exhibition environment as a dynamic arena, ever expanding its physical and temporal parameters. For these artists, an exhibition can comprise a film, a novel, a shared meal, a social space, a performance, or a journey. Using the museum as a springboard for work that reaches beyond the visual arts, their practices often commingle with other disciplines such as literature, architecture, design, and theater, engaging directly with the vicissitudes of everyday life to offer subtle moments of transformation.

The exhibition brings together ten artists who exemplify this creative impulse: Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jorge Pardo, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. While these artists all employ markedly different aesthetic strategies and do not constitute a formally affiliated group, their varying practices are conceptually unified by a mutual rethinking of the early modernist impulse to conflate art and life, and, thereby, to resist representation. In the process, the artists attempt to engender a kind of activated spectatorship, often by creating works that absorb and extend the conventions of museum practice.

What is most striking about this loose affiliation of artists, all of whom emerged during the early 1990s and now boast strong, independent careers, is that they periodically and randomly join forces to create a variety of projects ranging from co-directing films, to purchasing the copyright for a Japanese Manga character and franchising her image, to initiating a land reclamation project in rural Thailand. Invited to collectively formulate a scenario for the exhibition, one that would reflect and articulate the unique nature of their practice, the ten artists determined that the presentation should comprise a series of unique projects that would intersect and overlap in the museum’s spiraling rotunda.

Organized by the museum’s Chief Curator, Nancy Spector, in close collaboration with the artists, this layered exhibition will thus reflect the dialectic between the group and the individual that informs their shared histories. Ms. Spector was assisted by Joan Young , Associate Curator of Contemporary Art and Manager of Curatorial Affairs, and Katherine Brinson, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum .

This exhibition is sponsored by HUGO BOSS.

Additional support is provided by the Waldorf=Astoria Collection; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a program of FACE; and The Grand Marnier Foundation.

The Guggenheim Museum gratefully acknowledges the Leadership Committee for theanyspacewhatever. Founding supporters include: Massimo de Carlo Gallery; Gagosian Gallery; Marian Goodman Gallery; Friedrich Petzel Gallery; and Esther Schipper. Supporters include: Casey Kaplan; Yvon Lambert, Paris; neugerriemschneider, Berlin ; Galerie Eva Presenhuber; and José Noé Suro.

The planning process began in the fall of 2004 and through a series of regular, open-ended discussions with all of the artists, the conceptual structure of the exhibition was determined. Instead of producing one, jointly created meta-project for the show, the artists have chosen to each produce an individual, site-specific work or selection of works for the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. In some cases, their projects are retrospective in nature, capturing their own individual histories and reflecting on their past collaborations with various members of the group. The exhibition will exist in both space and time; many of the works on view will reveal themselves sequentially and others will change throughout the duration of the project. Performances and film programs will form an integral part of the installation.

The Exhibition Title
Suggested by Liam Gillick, the term “any-space-whatever” is used by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to describe a cinematic moment of essential heterogeneity—a “singular space” in the film defined by multiple perspectives in which linkages among constituent parts may be made in an infinite number of ways. Therefore, the “any-space-whatever” is a filmic realm that represents a “locus of the possible.” In its application as an exhibition title, the term suggests the idea of a coherent space comprising multiple and shifting views that nevertheless coalesce to invoke the idea of pure potentiality.

The Installation
theanyspacewhatever will be the first large-scale exhibition in the to examine the dynamic interchange among this core group of artists, a many-sided conversation that helped shape the cultural landscape of the past two decades. The artists will each contribute an individual project creating simultaneous, coexisting layers in the museum’s spiraling rotunda. The following is a list of works comprising the exhibition:

Angela Bulloch (b. 1966, Rainy River, Ontario, Canada. Lives and works in Berlin) will insert a L.E.D. powered “night sky” into the museum’s oculus. Melting away the physical confines of the museum’s architecture, Firmamental Night: Oculus 12 (2008) will create a fiction of time and space that shifts the perceived order of things, so that day becomes night and inside becomes out. In addition, she is creating a new iteration of the “pixel box” sculptures which have formed a key element of her practice since the late 1990s. This sound and light-based sculpture is produced in collaboration with musician David Grubbs.

Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960, Padua, Italy. Lives and works in New York City ) will install a new sculpture in the fountain of the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. Cattelan’s life-size effigy of a beloved fairytale character lying facedown in the museum’s fountain will read as a crime scene replete with questions of intent: suicide, homicide, or ill-planned escape?

Liam Gillick (b. 1964, Aylesbury, England. Lives and works in New York City and London ) will intervene in the Guggenheim’s operational systems such as directions, didactics, and seating, to subtly reorient visitors’ experience of the exhibition itself. His series of hanging aluminum signs will infiltrate the museum, playfully appropriating the conventions of institutional signage.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (b. 1965, Strasbourg, France. Lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro) will present Promenade (2007), an installation that transforms the museum’s third ramp into a lush rain forest with nothing more than eight channels of sound. Using a minimum of means, the artist will “tropicalize” the space, transporting the viewer to another reality altogether. Gonzalez-Foerster’s light-and sound based installation NY. 2022 (2008, created in collaboration with Ari Benjamin Meyers), will regularly animate the Peter B. Lewis Theater as a poetic trace of an orchestral performance commissioned by the museum’s Works & Process series and presented during the opening weekend of the exhibition. This production reconceives the science-fiction film Soylent Green (1973) into an abstract musical narrative about endings and departures.

Douglas Gordon (b. 1966, Glasgow, Scotland. Lives and works in New York City, Glasgow, and Berlin) will exhibit a compilation of text pieces, providing a veritable archive of his written work. Encountered collectively, the texts reveal the artist’s obsession with opposites and their essential mutability—fact and fiction, good and evil, the base and the sublime, and so on. Gordon’s 24 hour psycho back and forth and to and fro, 2008, which will be shown in its entirety three times during the exhibition, is a new iteration of his landmark 1993 work in which he extended Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller over a 24-hour-period, slowing the film down to near stasis and creating a hypnotic viewing experience. Split onto two screens, the new version shows the film running forward and in reverse, allowing for startling moments of concordance.

Carsten Höller (b. 1961, Brussels, Belgium. Lives and works in Stockholm) is creating a fully-functioning hotel room that invites visitors to spend the night in the museum’s rotunda on four slow-turning discs equipped with comfortable sleeping, dressing, and working areas. Members of the public can reserve the room for one night each and enjoy a leisurely private viewing of the entire exhibition at any point during their stay. Accompanying the hotel room is Höller’s Krutikow’s Flying City Revolving (2007), a transparent construction of seven rotating towers based on Russian architect Georgii Krutikow’s 1928 utopian vision of an airborne community for living and working, which would liberate the earth for purely recreational purposes. Installed on the roof of a midtown building, the model and the urban skyline behind it are viewed via live transmission from a rotating video camera, creating an ever-changing window to the outside world.

The Revolving Hotel Room (2007) has been made possible by The Waldorf=Astoria Collection.

Pierre Huyghe (b. 1962, Paris, France. Lives and works in Paris ) will stage a participatory event three times during the run of the exhibition (October 24 @ 6:30 – 7:30PM; and November 17 and December 8 @ 4:30-5:30PM) that disrupts and disorients the temporal flow of the museum’s presentation. He is also creating a book of iron-on transfers illustrating the Guggenheim’s exterior and interior, incorporating images of the spaces in which the artworks appear as a speculative device – a representation of a possible reality. The transfer book will be on display in the exhibition and available for sale in the museum’s retail stores.

Jorge Pardo (b. 1963, Havana, Cuba. Lives and works in Los Angeles) will transform one of the ramps with a labyrinthine network of intricately patterned and specially illuminated cardboard screens. The screens will provide an elaborate backdrop for silk-screened prints created by the artists participating in the show, which have been produced by a press that Pardo operates in his studio in collaboration with master printer Christian Zickler.

Philippe Parreno (b.1964 Oran, Algeria. Lives and works in Paris) will install a site-specific, illuminated movie marquee on the façade of the building, as an enigmatic “label” for the exhibition. Rendered in white Plexiglas and neon, this ghost of a sign announces the show without making any pronouncements about its content or structure. Parreno is also recording a special “guided tour” of the exhibition, which will be available on the museum’s audio guide. Instead of explaining the works on view, the soundtrack identifies earlier, iconic works by each of the exhibiting artists as well as a selection of some of their formative, shared projects. Available at special audio guide stops designed by Liam Gillick, the tour resurrects the histories of the individual artists while underscoring the collaborative impulse that has informed their work since the beginning of the 1990s.  In a gesture typical to Parreno’s interest in surrogate voices and a kind of performative distancing from his subject, he invited world memory champion Boris Konrad to recite the audio guide script from memory, attempting to break a world record in the process.

Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lives and works in New York City, Berlin and Bangkok) is creating a documentary film, CHEW THE FAT (2008) on the occasion of this exhibition. The film features extensive interviews with the artists in this show as well as with other friends and colleagues, thus providing an intimate perspective on the art of the 1990s. The interviews will be viewable on dedicated monitors in the museum’s High Gallery, and an edited-down, feature-length version of the film will be screened regularly in the museum’s theaters.

Additional Programming
In addition to its core presentation, theanyspacewhatever will include three “micro-exhibitions” featuring the creative endeavors of a number of curators, filmmakers, and designers who have collaborated with many of the ten participating artists over the years to create separate but related projects and enterprises.

These include:
- A series of screenings will showcase the work of Anna Sanders
Films, a production company based in Paris. Founded in 1997 by
Pierre Huyghe, Charles de Meaux, Philippe Parreno and the
association of contemporary art distribution (Xavier Douroux and
Franck Gautherot) in collaboration with Dominique Gonzalez-
Foerster, Anna Sanders Films brings a new language of imagery to
cinema, creating a hybrid form between film and the visual arts.

- The Wrong Gallery, an ongoing curatorial project by Maurizio
Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni, and Ali Subotnick, will also participate in
the exhibition. The gallery, which initially operate in a tiny exhibition
space behind a glass door in Chelsea and has since maintained an
itinerant presence in institutions such as Tate Modern and the
Whitney Museum of American Art, will present a special reprint of its
annual newspaper, The Wrong Times, that unites previous issues to
create an exhaustive archive of interviews with artists who have
collaborated with the gallery.

-The graphic design studio M/M (consisting of French designers
Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag) will present a site-specific
project in the museum's Aye Simon Reading Room, in which they will
realign this functional space within their distinctive aesthetic style, to
create a library of past projects. M/M has collaborated extensively
with many of the artists participating in theanyspacewhatever exhibition.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring over 30 texts by scholars, critics, and curators, most of whom have shared in the artists’ individual and collective histories. The catalogue will include an introductory overview by Nancy Spector, essays devoted to the individual practice of each artist, and a series of concise texts focusing on pivotal group shows, organizations and collaborative projects.  These multiple points of view will elucidate the group’s fluid social, intellectual and creative exchange, coalescing into the most comprehensive examination to date of its critical cultural impact.  Topics in this section include: No Man’s Time (Villa Arson, Nice, 1991), M/M (founded 1992), Backstage (Kunstverein in Hamburg, 1993), Hiver de l’amour (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1994), Lost Paradise (Kunstraum Wien, 1994), Mobile TV (Le Consortium, Dijon, 1995-98), Association des temps libérés (1995-), Permanent Food (1995-), Vicinato (1995) and Vicinato 2 (1999), Traffic (CAPC, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, 1996), Moment Ginza (Le Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, 1997), Anna Sanders Films (1997-), The Land (1998-), 6th Biennial of the Caribbean (1999), No Ghost Just a Shell (1999-2003), What If (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2000), The Wrong Gallery (2002-), Utopia Station (2003-), All Hawaii Entrées / Lunar Reggae (Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006-07), and Il Tempo del Postino (2007).  The distinguished roster of catalogue authors includes Michael Archer, Jan Avgikos, Daniel Birnbaum, Ina Blom, Stefano Boeri, Francesco Bonami, Nicolas Bourriaud, Xavier Douroux, Patricia Falguières, Hal Foster, Massimiliano Gioni, Michael Govan, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Jens Hoffmann, Chrissie Iles, Branden Joseph, Emily King, Tom Morton, Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Beatrix Ruf, Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Barbara Steiner, Rachael Thomas, Giorgio Verzotti, and Olivier Zahm.  The catalogue is available in the Guggenheim Museum Store and at www.guggenheim.org for $60.00.

A full schedule of programs will be presented under the auspices of the Sackler Center for Arts Education during the run of the exhibition. For information contact 212 423 3587 or guggenheim.org/education.

Admission and Museum Hours

$18 adults, $15 students/seniors (65+), children under 12 free. Admission includes audioguide. Saturday to Wednesday, 10 AM to 5:45 PM; Friday, 10 AM to 7:45 PM. Closed Thursday. On Friday evenings, beginning at 5:45 PM, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. For general information call, 212 423 3500, or visit www.guggenheim.org.

October 7, 2008
(Updated from March 14, 2008)

Lauren Van Natten, Senior Publicist
Claire Laporte, Associate, Media Relations
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
212 423 3840

For publicity images go to Guggenheim Images.
User ID = photoservice Password = presspass

Press images

Press Images

Download high resolution, press-approved images.

contact us

Have a media inquiry? Contact us for more information.