Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock

Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock

Saint Louis Art Museum

Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, The Reichstag?, 2013. Courtesy Stih & Schnock. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

October 2, 2013

Currents 107: Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock
Now open through January 5, 2014

Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
St. Louis, MO 63110

The Saint Louis Art Museum presents its ongoing exhibition series devoted to contemporary art, Currents, which this fall features Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock. Berlin-based conceptual artists, Stih and Schnock explore how memory is formed and how it functions in public spaces and institutions. They examine how a museum such as the Saint Louis Art Museum functions as both a container and carrier of memories, embodied by different works of art. Their exhibition, subtitled The German Connection—Raft with Stranded Objects, features collages, prints, photographs, and video, including site-specific interventions installed in several galleries throughout the Museum’s newly expanded campus. Such interventions underscore the artists’ concept of the raft-like journey through time and space that visitors take every day when visiting a museum. By alluding to river voyages, Stih and Schnock also reference the parallel importance of the Mississippi to the United States and the Rhine to Germany. 

Through their characteristic approach of extensive research, Stih and Schnock have uncovered three compelling stories about St. Louis and German history from the late 19th century through the fall of the Berlin Wall. The subjects of these intriguing real-life tales include a 15th-century sculpture of a Virgin and Child that had been seized by the Nazis, a large-scale plaster model of the Reichstag that German Emperor Wilhelm II had shipped to the Midwest, and a former double agent for West German intelligence who later studied at Washington University in St. Louis under a new identity provided by the CIA. 

Weaving in St. Louis into the broader and complex connections between Germany and the United States during the 20th century, Stih and Schnock have produced an absorbing and provocative exhibition that investigates German identity, cultural mobility, and transnational exchange. Through two specific works, We Like America and America Likes Us and I Want To Be a Dog in America, Stih and Schnock also refer to artist Joseph Beuys and his lasting impact. Curated by Tricia Y. Paik, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, Currents 107: Renata Stih &Frieder Schnock will be on view through January 5, 2014.

Stih and Schnock are perhaps best known for their 1993 memorial Places of Remembrance, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. This work commemorates the Jewish population that lived in a specific neighborhood in Berlin during Nazi rule, the Bavarian Quarter in Berlin-Schöneberg. In addition to Places of Remembrance (1993), other projects include their well-received proposal for the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, BUS STOP (1994–95); Who Needs Art, We Need Potatoes, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (1998); The City As Text, Jewish Museum, Munich (2007); and Show Your Collection, featured at sixteen Munich museums (2008). 

Stih and Schnock were the 2012–2013 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellows, sponsored by the Saint Louis Art Museum and Washington University in St. Louis. Generous support for Currents 107: Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock is provided by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, established to support the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the teaching principles of contemporary art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

With the recent opening of the David Chipperfield-designed East Building, more of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s encyclopedic collection is on view. The East Building increases gallery and public space by 30 percent with 21 new galleries for the collection and temporary exhibitions. Inaugural exhibitions in the East Building feature works from the Museum’s extensive holdings of postwar German art and American art. The expansion project also enabled the renovation and reinstallation of the entire Museum. In the iconic Main Building designed by Cass Gilbert, more than 1,450 works of art have been reinstalled in 68 galleries. A highlight of the expansion is Stone Sea, a new site-specific sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy that symbolically bridges the past and future of the Museum.


Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock at Saint Louis Art Museum
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October 2, 2013

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