Jutta Koether’s The Thirst

Jutta Koether’s The Thirst

Moderna Museet

Jutta Koether, “Berliner Schlüssel # 13,” 2010.
Acrylic on canvas, 91,5 x 61 cm.
Private collection Switzerland.

March 4, 2011

Jutta Koether
The Thirst

5 March–24 April 2011

Curator: Iris Müller-Westermann

Stockholm, Sweden



Jutta Koether is a painter, performance artist, musician, critic and theoretician. Her works incorporate distinct elements of punk and underground culture. She has exhibited internationally but The Thirst at Moderna Museet is Jutta Koether’s most extensive museum exhibition, and her first in Scandinavia so far, featuring some 40 works from 2004 to 2010. During the exhibition at Moderna Museet, Jutta Koether will perform together with Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and experimental film-maker, poet and musician Tony Conrad.

Jutta Koether, born in 1958 in Cologne, has belonged to the alternative arts scene since the early 1980’s. She has inspired artists in both Europe and the USA. Her interdisciplinary practice includes painting, music, poetry, film and performance. Jutta Koether works in New York and Berlin and is a professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg.

Her conceptual paintings are inspired by many different sources, and are often combined with or commented on by performances. Jutta Koether constantly challenges prevailing norms and side steps the customary notions of what art is regarded to be. Instead, viewers are forced to reflect on their own expectations. In Koether’s attack on pure abstraction, she uses materials that are foreign to “fine” art, including cheap trash such as chains, rings and studs that she glues to her works. Koether also comments on art by producing remakes of works by well-known male artists, including Nicolas Poussin and Francis Bacon. Woman as an artist is a theme in Jutta Koether’s monumental red female portraits of famous women such as the celebrated opera singer Maria Callas and the pop icon Kylie Minogue.

“Against the backdrop of an art scene that is becoming increasingly intent on satisfying the demands of the art market, Jutta Koether’s interdisciplinary and explorative approach and her challenging of established notions of art appear very urgent today,” says Iris Müller-Westermann, curator.

Jutta Koether is inspired by artists and intellectuals who have presented alternatives to mainstream culture, including the underground film-maker Kenneth Anger and the musician Patti Smith. Koether has also collaborated with musicians who are also visual artists, such as Tom Verlaine (Television) and Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore (both from Sonic Youth). In connection with the preview on 4 March, Jutta Koether and Kim Gordon will present a performance at Moderna Museet. On 8 April a performance by Jutta Koether together with Tony Conrad will take place.

The richly illustrated exhibition catalogue, with a foreword by Daniel Birnbaum and essays by Iris Müller-Westermann, Isabella Graw and David Joselit, is co-produced with Koenig Books.

The exhibition was produced by Moderna Museet.


Jutta Koether's The Thirst
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