No Problem: Cologne/New York 1984-1989

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The person who can’t dance says the band can’t play, 1984 Oil On Canvas 64 X 53 1/2 Inches (162.6 X 135.9 Cm) © Courtesy of the Estate Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
No Problem: Cologne/New York 1984-1989

525 W. 19th Street
(between 10th Ave. and West St.)
10011-2808 New York
May 1st, 2014 - June 14th, 2014

Mon-Fri 10-6


David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of work from the 1980s as examined through the lens of the Cologne and New York art scenes of 1984-1989. Spanning the gallery’s exhibition spaces at 525 and 533 West 19th Street and 537 West 20th Street, the exhibition will present works by artists including including George Condo, Walter Dahn, Günther Förg, Robert Gober, Georg Herold, Jenny Holzer, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Albert Oehlen, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Rosemarie Trockel, Franz West, and Christopher Wool, among others. 

The contemporary art that was created and presented in New York and Cologne and the surrounding Rhine region during the 1980s shaped a certain creative discourse between artists, curators, and gallerists on both sides of the Atlantic, and this exhibition proposes an examination of this dialogue by focusing on artists who showed both in New York and Cologne between 1984 and 1989 and by examining some of the key gallery exhibitions of the period that took place in both cities.

For the better part of the 1980s until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Cologne was arguably the European center of the contemporary art world. While a number of established Cologne-based gallerists, including Karsten Greve, Paul Mainz, Rolf Ricke, Michael Werner, and Rudolf Zwirner, had already begun shaping the European reception of American art in the previous decade, the 1980s marked a period during which art being produced in and around Cologne gained international attention. A burgeoning gallery scene supported the emerging work of artists based in the region, with gallerists such as Gisela Capitain, Rafael Jablonka, Max Hetzler, and Monika Sprüth showing the work of artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Rosemarie Trockel, and others. These German artists were exhibited along with the latest contemporary art from the US by artists like Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool. Conversely, the work of German artists was presented in New York, with breakout exhibitions at galleries such as Barbara Gladstone, Metro Pictures, Luhring Augustine & Hodes, and other significant venues.

The exhibition aims to examine what kind of influences, affinities, and dialogues may have been inspired at this nexus and takes the year 1984 as its starting point, the year of exhibitions such as Von hier aus – Zwei Monate neue deutsche Kunst (From Here Out – Two Months of New German Art) organized by the Cologne-based curator Kasper König at the Messe Düsseldorf. That show highlighted the German art scene of the time, by focusing on work being created in and around Cologne and the Rhine region. Our exhibition ends in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, which signified the general reorientation of artists and galleries towards Berlin.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the gallery will publish an extensive catalogue that will include new scholarship by Diedrich Diederichsen and other writers, in addition to a collection of photographs documenting the period.

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