The Eighth Square * Museum Ludwig
15-08-06 e-flux (servicio de noticias on-line)
* Nan Goldin: Jimmy Paulette + Taboo! In the bathroom, N.Y.C. 1991
With its exhibition “The Eighth Square”, Museum Ludwig will be the first major art institution in Germany that has ventured to present a survey of the artist’s approach to marginalized sexuality.
The Eighth Square
Gender, Life and Desire in Art Since 1960
August 19 – November 12, 2006
Opening: August 18, 2006
With works by:
David Altmejd, Kenneth Anger, Diane Arbus, David Armstrong, Francis Bacon, Stephen Barker, Matthew Barney, Monica Bonvicini, Louise Bourgeois, Marc Brandenburg, Brassaï, Kaucyila Brooke, Tom Burr, Claude Cahun, Daniela Comani, Lucky DeBellevue, Kerstin Drechsel, Cheryl Dunye, Thomas Eggerer, Nicole Eisenman, Steven Evans, VALIE EXPORT, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Jochen Flinzer, Annette Frick, General Idea, Gilbert & George, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sunil Gupta, David Hockney, Jonathan Horowitz, Peter Hujar, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Deborah Kass, Jürgen Klauke, Peter Knoch, Ferdinand Kriwet, Ins A Kromminga, Inez van Lamsweerde, Zoe Leonard, John Lindell, Lovett/Codagnone, Attila Richard Lukacs, Winja Lutz und Toni Schmale, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marlene McCarty, Bjørn Melhus, Michaela Melián, Annette Messager, Tracey Moffatt, Donald Moffett, Pierre Molinier, Yasumasa Morimura, Piotr Nathan, Bruce Nauman, Marcel Odenbach, Henrik Olesen, Catherine Opie , Jack Pierson, Adrian Piper, SUSI POP, Robert Rauschenberg, Aurora Reinhard, Salomé, Lucas Samaras, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding, Dayanita Singh, Markus Sixay, Jack Smith, Ingo Taubhorn, Paul Thek, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cy Twombly, Gitte Villesen, Del LaGrace Volcano, Jeff Wall, Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz
With over 250 works by more than 80 artists, the exhibition presents an overview of how art has examined almost every form of sexual desire outside of the heterosexual mainstream: transexuality, homosexuality and intersexuality, transgender, drag and cross dressing. The exhibition extends over several levels of the museum, and is aimed at combining great documentary value with erotic allure and artistic quality.
The title “The Eighth Square” refers to a rule in chess: if a pawn crosses the board and reaches the eighth square on the far side, it may transform into a queen. And this change in gender bestows it with more freedom to move, more influence, and more power. The normal situation is turned on its head, the weak become the strong, the losers become the winners. The exhibition champions this fundamental change, which overrides the prevailing heterosexual gender roles. It will show works that question the customary grammar of desire and demonstrate possibilities for a deregulated sexuality.
The exhibition is divided into nine sections. The first is concerned with signs – symbols and pictograms – that reflect the dissolution of the sexual order. The other sections on the ground floor are concerned with “Sexy Machismo”, “Transsexuality and Intersexuality”, with “accursed Worlds”, “Masquerade” and “Friendships”. The sections on the stairway deal with “Outsiders, Discrimination and AIDS”, “Portrait and Identity”, and “Places of Desire”.
A main aim of the exhibition is to trace out the desire to change into another sex, to don a mask and play a game with gender attributions. This game takes a serious turn when - at the latest - discrimination and ostracism or the political struggles for sexual liberation come to the fore.
This is the first time that the stairs and the Museum’s other thoroughfares have been drawn into an exhibition project. By extending the traditional showplace, it is possible to reflect on the tensions between public and private, periphery and centre, exhibitionism and voyeurism, which have prompted these artistic inquiries into sexuality. The sophisticated design for the exhibition, devised by artist Eran Schaerf, has done full justice to this idea: some works radiate great self-assurance and convey themselves to a large audience, while others encourage somewhat furtive, unobserved encounters.
Author Thomas Meinecke has written a collection of stories for the exhibited entitled “Feldforschung” [Field Research]. The book will be published in September by Edition Suhrkamp, but will already be available for free in August at the Museum on the purchase of a ticket. The book enters into the historical events and artworks that proved to be of such importance during the research for the exhibition, and in understanding a culture that is sexually aware and fond of experimentation. Central to all of the pieces is the way they pick up on a story from the subculture that has fed on gossip and scandal, rumours, articles in papers and magazines and what others say, and in this way contradicts the official version.
Music has always played a decisive role in the development of this subculture. It has suspended the boundaries in a heady way and helped loosen the tight corset of gender ascriptions. In order to give an idea of the power music has to break the moulds, 50 titles ranging from seventies disco to music of today can be listened to by means of an audio guide.
A strong programme accompanies the exhibition. Currently Klaus Theweleit, Douglas Crimp, Katharina Sieverding, Thomas Meinecke and David Moufang, among others, are expected to give lectures and participate in discussion panels. Apart from the “Filmbar” on the Museum roof, which throughout August will show films connected with the “Eighth Square”, ten film evenings each followed by a discussion have also been planned.
A richly illustrated catalogue will be published for the exhibition by Hatje Cantz, and includes articles by Judith Butler, Douglas Crimp, Diedrich Diederichsen, Harald Fricke, Julia Friedrich, Hanne Loreck, Thomas Meinecke, Eva Meyer, Cristina Nord and Frank Wagner.
The exhibition has received the gracious support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Kunststiftung NRW, and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.