The artistic practice of Dieter Roth (Swiss, b. Germany, 1930–1998) encompassed everything from painting and sculpture to film and video, but it is arguably through his editioned works—prints, books, and multiples—that he made his most radical contributions. These experiments include the use of organic materials in lieu of traditional mediums, including book-sausages filled with ground paper in place of meat, and multiples of plastic toys mired in melted chocolate, as well as a dazzling array of variations on printed postcards.
Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth focuses on Roth’s incredibly innovative and prolific period from 1960 to 1975. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an expanded presentation of Snow (1963–69), a Roth artist's book in MoMA’s collection, featuring many more pages of the book than have ever been exhibited. These pages contain a trove of insightful information about the artist’s creative process and plans for other works. A selection of handmade books, miniature volumes, and the newly acquired Literaturwurst (1961–69), considered Roth’s most radical experiment with the book format, will also be on view. Beginning in the late 1960s, the artist began working with chocolate, a material that became intimately associated with his work, as he explored issues of decay and decomposition. Taken together, this selection of works offers a radical view of mediums that are historically considered staid and traditional, while giving insight into the work of one of the artistic titans of the 20th century.