Not Yet Titled. New and Forever at Mu­se­um Lud­wig

Not Yet Titled, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Not Yet Titled, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

See­ing fa­miliar things with new eyes and com­ing up with dif­fer­ent sto­ries: one year af­ter as­sum­ing his post, the Di­rec­tor, Philipp Kais­er, has ven­tured a fresh look at the col­lec­tion of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig. The per­ma­nent­ly pro­vi­sio­n­al ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tle Not Yet Ti­tled al­ludes to a cen­tral as­pect of this pre­sen­ta­tion: the mu­se­um is a place where art his­to­ry is al­ways studied, ap­praised, and de­scribed anew from the pre­sent stand­point.

Both the se­cond and low­er floors of the mu­se­um will trace dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of re­al­i­ty from the ear­ly 1960s to the pre­sent. Items dis­played on the third floor en­gage with the re­al world via me­dia im­ages and ap­pro­pri­a­tion, as in the work of Andy Warhol, John Baldes­sari, and Sh­er­rie Levine. By con­trast, the low­er floor will be de­vot­ed to "lit­er­al" ap­proach­es in­volv­ing an em­pha­sis on pro­cess, work, site-spe­ci­fic­i­ty, and po­lit­i­cal is­sues in art that ranges from the Min­i­mal­ist sculp­tures of Carl An­dre and Hans Haacke's Con­den­sa­tion Wall to a re­cent­ly ac­quired se­ries of pho­to­graphs by Al­lan Seku­la show­ing work­ers leav­ing fac­to­ries. The se­cond floor will there­fore act as a hinge be­tween Eu­ro­pean mod­er­nism, late mod­er­nism in the USA, and Min­i­mal­ism.

The large gallery on the low­er floor will house Michael Heiz­er's monu­men­tal pro­jec­tion Ac­tu­al Size (Elsi­nore), go­ing on dis­play for the first time since the 1971 Gug­gen­heim In­ter­na­tio­n­al in New York. This spec­tac­u­lar work was re­cent­ly ac­quired for the col­lec­tion by the Peter and Irene Lud­wig Foun­da­tion to com­ple­ment the mu­se­um's two sculp­tures by Heiz­er. The other large gallery, on the ground floor, will show another large-scale in­s­tal­la­tion, a work by Con­cep­tu­al artist Bar­bara Kruger that has not been on view since the mu­se­um purchased it in 1995. Not Yet Ti­tled will al­so fea­ture the mu­se­um's first pre­sen­ta­tion of a 1995 video in­s­tal­la­tion by Dia­na Thater. Neon pie­ces by Richard Ser­ra are be­ing re­s­tored for the oc­ca­sion, and re­cent ac­qui­si­tions of work by Moni­ka Baer, Nairy Baghramian, Mark Bou­los, Elad Lass­ry, Hans Haacke, and others will be on view for the first time.

The dis­play, which will en­com­pass all the ex­hi­bi­tion spaces in the build­ing, still lacks a ti­tle be­cause it seeks to stress the pro­cess-re­lat­ed and tem­po­rary char­ac­ter of what is ne­ces­sar­i­ly a sub­jec­tive view. New light will be shed on fa­miliar pie­ces, and works that up to now have been in stor­age will be put on view and eval­u­at­ed anew.

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