Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven – Art magazines: an alternative platform for art

Library Exhibition
04/09/2012 – 02/11/2012

Entitled “An alternative platform for art”, the library presents a selection of magazines made by artists. Just as art books, these magazines are…

For this presentation a selection is made from the collection of the museum’s library.

On the top floor the more classical and older examples are shown, magazines like ‘Die Schastrommel’, ‘Die Drossel’ and ‘Krater und Wolke’, the English ‘The Enemy’ amd copies of the French ‘Situationist’. ‘Die Schastrommel’ and ‘Die Drossel’ edited by Günter Brus include contributions by a.o. Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Gerhard Rühm, Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch. The anarchist art magezine ‘Die Schastrommel’ (i.e. later ‘Die Drossel’) is the voice of the so called ‘Österreichische Exilregierung’, founded by Brus after he emigrated to Berlin. A.R. Penck’s ‘Krater und Wolke’ from the 80s includes text, photos, etchings and woodcuts by a group of artists from the Michael Werner gallery. ‘Krater und Wolke’ forms a bridge between East and West German artist and provides insight into the artistic exchange that moment.

A more classical – historical example is ‘The Enemy’ by the vorticist and modernist Wyndham Lewis. In total, three copies of ‘The Enemy’ were published ‘, from a combative skepticism largely written by Lewis himself. Lewis published the magazine between 1926 and 1929 on the occasion of his conscious break with the avant-garde movement. He did no longer believe that their work would yield sufficient critical awareness regarding ideologies that would oppose a truly revolutionary change in the West. As a result, the work of the avant-garde would turn to a vehicle for pernicious ideologies.

Another classic historical example is the ‘Situationist’, a renowned forum for the ideas of the international artistic-political movement of the Situationists. The movement, established in 1957 in Italy (Cosio di Arroscia), would mainly assert during the Paris student revolt of 1968 and was finally abolished in 1972. Guy Debord was the leader of the movement and was known for the work “La société du spectacle’. The Situationists sought a state of permanent social revolution by creating suitable for mass consumption, disruptive situations (events).

The German art magazine ‘Interfunktionen’ was published in the period 1968-1975. The magazine came from an artistic protest against critical lines again plotted on the Documenta of 1968.

It contained both theoretical and practical contributions, with the intervention of trustees who commented on the depicted artistic strategies. The most prominent figures of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, such as Joseph Beuys, Jörg Immendorff and Sigmar Polke, played a role. As the name suggests ‘Interfunctionen’ was an interdisciplinary forum open to all artistic genres and without restrictions on the media.
From the Netherlands we show a.o. ‘De Angst 1983’ by Rob Scholte, Martin Bril, Edzard Dideric and Dirk van Weelden. We also present several copies of ‘Zien’ (1980-1988) by Gerald van der Kaap . ‘Zien’ would eventually merge into ‘Blind’ in 1988 . Examples from the nineties are a.o. ‘Boris & Conny’ and ‘De Vlam’ by J.C.M. Dietvorst and the more modern ‘Re-magazine’ by Jop van Bennekom.

Fluxus-artist like Wim T. Schippers and Willem de Ridder made tv-programmes and magezine like ‘Suck’ or ‘Aloha’. Het tussen 1969 en 1974 verschenen ‘Aloha’, which appeared between 1969 and 1974, focused more on social issues. The design is cheeky, quirky, brightly colored and exuberant. The headings are provocative (‘Thursday the plague breaks out’), the texts hilarical but sometimes informative and serious. It constantly tried to excite the establishment. ‘Aloha’ was ironic, unconventional and seasoned with absurd humor. This satirical tradition later continued in ‘Frietkaas’.

The seventies were the years of the artist’s initiatives: Aorta, de Fabriek (the Factory), De Nieuwe Weelde (the New Wealth) or W139. They developed new artists magazines as well, of which some are on view in the exhibition.

Magazines in the exhibition:

Top floor:
I.A.C. editions : International Artist Cooperation, The Enemy, Situationist, Die Schastrommel, Die Drossel, Krater und Wolke and Tau/ma.

Praktikabel and W139.

Bottom floor:
Interfunktionen, The Breeder, Trans>, Aloha, Boris & Conny, De Vlam, Zien, Blind, Nieuwe Weelde kunstmagazine, Frietkaas and Re-magazine.