Texte zur Kunst no. 109: Stanley Brouwn

Texte zur Kunst no. 109 (March 2018) starts with a thematic section that “considers art’s relation to rules — or rather, the exceptions to them that art and its agents seem to claim. How can we speak of rules in the context of art, where transgressions are lauded even while traditional hierarchies (class, gender, race, sexuality) continue to assert their influence? And would we demand anything less of art than the promise of disobedience, rule breaking both in terms of formal restrictions and normative regulations? Therefore, in this issue we ask: by what rules does the art world play, and how are transgressions made visible/invisible therein?”


My own contribution to this issue is a review, “The Distance Between Stanley Brouwn and Yourself,” which discusses three Stanley Brouwn exhibitions that were put on in the months following his death. On the basis of these shows, I reflect on the artist’s legacy and on the critical and scholarly perspectives that strike me as valid and productive.

Meanwhile, TzK has put my essay on Günther Förg from the previous issue online. As this essay also discusses the role played by Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum in the reception of his work, as well as the current crisis of this institution, it deserves an update now that a farcical chapter has been added with a petition clamoring for Beatrix Ruf’s reinstatement as director. I will have a few things to say about this petition, which had been in the making since december and failed to get any real traction, in the updated Dutch translation of the text that will be published this spring.

By then, the Stedelijk’s Günther Förg retrospective will also be on view. As the original version of the essay was written for the catalogue of that exhibtion, only to be withdrawn in the face of populist ineptness and paranoid censorship masquerading as editing, things wil have come full circle.

Photo: Installation view of the Stanley Brouwn exhibition mens loopt op planeet aarde at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. The caption of another installation view that accompanies my review in TzK erroneously says “Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Amsterdam.” Obviously this museum is in Schiedam, not Amsterdam; it is not to be confused with the more famous Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. “Stedelijk Museum” simply means municipal museum, and there’s a bunch of those in the Netherlands, even though many (including the Stedelijk in Amsterdam) are no longer truly municipal.

On a further note, it appears that the name of the French philosopher Concordet has been “corrected” to Concorde after I signed off on the text. Admittedly, Concorde sounds more supersonic….