May 25, 2009 - Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt - The Making of Art
May 25, 2009

The Making of Art

Tracey Emin
I’ve got it all, 2000

Ink-Jet Print, 124 x 109 cm
© Tracey Emin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Courtesy of The Saatchi Gallery

The Making of Art
29 May – 30 August 2009

60311 Frankfurt, Germany
phone: (+49) 69 29 98 82-0
fax: (+49) 69 29 98 82-240
welcome [​at​]


The exhibition The Making of Art offers a look at the web of relationships of contemporary art, where the triangle of the artwork, the artist, and the viewer has long since been expanded in many ways. Not infrequently, the relationships between artists, collectors, dealers, curators, and critics influence the content of the works; often this is also illustrated: In a large survey from the 1960s to the present, this exhibition presents the positions of artists such as John Baldessari, Joseph Beuys, Tracey Emin, Peter Fischli/David Weiss, Ryan Gander, Christian Jankowski, Louise Lawler, Jonathan Monk, Nedko Solakov, Mladen Stilinović, Andy Warhol/Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Ai Weiwei. These artists reflect on an increasingly elaborate system, question the criteria of art, examine its methods and its institutions as sites, and shed light on the diverse connections and networks. With approximately 150 paintings, drawings, objects, installations, and videos, the exhibition addresses the complex system of the art world in the era of upheaval we are currently experiencing.

In a work from 1972, Jörg Immendorff describes his dream of being an artist: Ich wollte Künstler werden (I wanted to become an artist) was the title of his self-portrait. In a romantic vision of a deliberately pathos-laden painter’s idyll, we encounter familiar ideas of artists as bohemians living beyond all conventions, whose only goal is making their visions, their genius, reality. It is an idea that is found in today’s art only as a caricature. In the meantime, the somewhat romantic idea of the artist genius working in the solitude of his studio is countered by a broad network of artistic production. Those works which reflect an artistic apparatus that is becoming ever more complex today almost represent a separate genre, a late modern tradition that extends from the early 1960s into the present.

The 1960s also mark the birth of the artwork as institutional critique. The results were interventions, works, and objects that for the first time directly explored their relationship to their context. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a second wave of institutional critique follows, without which art since the 1980s can scarcely be understood. The context of the work of art now becomes the central theme of whole series of works by artists, and especially woman artists like Louise Lawler or Candida Höfer, which demystifies the museum as the sublime space of high culture. The Russian conceptual artists Komar & Melamid take it a step further and present the museum as nothing more than a ruin in a pastoral idyll.

The exhibition explores the most diverse aspects of the ‘making of…’ behind the scenes of the artworld: Starting with artworks about aspects of art production, fundamental questions about creativity and the exhibition space, to the dreaded issue of money. Artists report on expectation and overburdening, success and failure, glamour and fall from grace. Chris Burden seeks his answer to the question of how to deal with criticism. Ai Weiwei or Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkáčová play subversive games with the establishment. Thomas Struth or Tina Barney portray their collectors. Azorro document encounters with curators, Phil Collins even hits them in the face. Martin Parr and Jessica Craig-Martin capture the decadence of recent times in their photographs and show impressions of the hotspots of contemporary art: from ‘Art Basel’ via the art fairs of Miami and Dubai all the way to the London ‘Frieze’.

The Moscow Conceptualist Yuri Albert roguishly turns a little painter on his head and states: I Am Not Baselitz! In the end, what today’s artists have in common is the irony and subversion with which they move between museum and market, success and crisis, romanticism and realism.

LIST OF ARTISTS: Yuri Albert, Pawel Althamer, Azorro, John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Tamy Ben-Tor, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Stefan Brüggemann, Chris Burden, Chicks on Speed, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Claire Fontaine, Clegg & Guttmann, Phil Collins, Jessica Craig-Martin, Peter Davies, Jiří Georg Dokoupil, Michael Elmgreen/Ingar Dragset, Tracey Emin, Dan Fischer, Peter Fischli/David Weiss, Andrea Fraser, Ryan Gander, Dieter Hacker, Candida Höfer, Bethan Huws, Jörg Immendorff, Christian Jankowski, Martin Kippenberger, Komar & Melamid, Jeff Koons, Sean Landers, Louise Lawler, Marcin Maciejowski, Piero Manzoni, Jonathan Monk, Dave Muller, Manuel Ocampo, Martin Parr, Dan Perjovschi, Raymond Pettibon, William Powhida, Tom Sachs, Chéri Samba, Nedko Solakov, Mladen Stilinović, Thomas Struth, Goran Trbuljak, Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Waters, Ai Weiwei

CATALOG: The Making of Art. Edited by Martina Weinhart and Max Hollein. With a foreword by Max Hollein and texts by Amanda Coulson, Wolfgang Ullrich, Martina Weinhart and others. German-English edition, 240 pages, 241 illustrations, published by the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86560-586-3

DIRECTOR: Max Hollein

CURATOR: Dr. Martina Weinhart (Schirn)

OPENING HOURS: Tues., Fri.–Sun. 10 AM–7 PM, Wed. and Thu. 10 AM–10 PM.


PRESS CONTACT: Dorothea Apovnik, phone: (+49-69) 29 98 82-118, fax: (+49-69) 29 98 82-240, e-mail:, (texts and images for download under PRESS).

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