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Isa Genzken: MoMA, New York retrospective for influential German artist

— January 2014

Associated media

Isa Genzken, Disco Soon (Ground Zero), 2008. Mixed media.  219x205x165cm Carlos & Rosa de la Cruz Collection. Courtesy the artist & Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin. © Isa Genzken

This could almost be a group show. There are many media and styles – lacquered wooden geometrical floor sculptures, gelatin silver print photographs of HiFi equipment and an ear, X-rays, found objects, concrete blocks with radio antennas, plaster sculptures, Minimalist concrete sculptures on steel legs, abstract oil paintings, epoxy resin architectural details and models, paintings hovering between abstraction and figuration, artist’s books, installations, public sculpture, film, found objects, assemblage, collage and drawings. The exhibition silently poses the question: Who is the better artist? One who develops over time and can be identified despite changes, or one who takes different directions  successively?

There are some common themes. There is an interest in architecture whether it is epoxy resin, steel and concrete Fenster (1992), the glass and silicone New Buildings for Berlin (2004) or the sad but funny Ground Zero Car Park, Church or Disco Soon (2008). While Genzken was married (1982–93) to Gerhard Richter the leaders of the Red Army Faction – Genzken had moved in the far left circles in Berlin from which the RAF had splintered – were found dead in their prison cells. Genzken and Richter had planned a cycle of architectural works and paintings – tsome of her architectural drawings survive (it would have been good to see these) which together with Richter’s 15-part painting October 18, 1977 (1988) are the other half of this project.

A second common denominator is the interest in the ‘found’. Weltempfänger (1982) is large multiband radio receiver, given to Genzken by her mother as a present. To describe it as a ‘readymade’ is probably inaccurate... (Cassone subscribers, to read on click here)

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Review by Stephen Bury, Frick Art Reference Library, New York

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