Bonner Kunstverein / Kunstmuseum Bonn

Person with Guitar (Red), 2005, 6-color screenprint in 3 layers, handcut, 88,9 x 104,1 cm, Gemini G.E.L. LLC copyright J. Baldessari

May 3, 2007


12 May-29 July, 2007

Christina Végh (Bonner Kunstverein) and Dr. Stefan Gronert (Kunstmuseum Bonn)


JOHN BALDESSARI (*1931, lives and works in Santa Monica, California) is doubtless one of the foremost American artists, whose work since the 1960s and 1970s has influenced young American, as well as European, artists. The list of the exhibitions of this multimedia artist is correspondingly long, but the way his work is reviewed still leaves countless questions open. The collaboration between Kunstmuseum Bonn and Bonner Kunstverein under a common thematic banner seeks therefore to uncover an (up to now) almost disregarded dimension of his approach: BALDESSARIS artistic engagement with music.

This is the first time that the two Bonn institutions will collaborate on a project that they have developed in tandem. The two-part exhibition at both Bonn venues makes apparent the different goals and undertakings of their respective houses: while JOHN BALDESSARI is developing a thoroughly up-to-date 3D presentation for the Kunstverein, the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum will pursue his multimedia work from the 1970s to 2006, with a focus on its musical elements. Using the example of over 50 works (paintings, photographs, videos and mixed media) from international museum and private collections, the Kunstmuseum will make visually comprehensible the great variety of Baldessaris pictorial vocabulary up to the present.

Meanwhile Baldessari has accepted the Kunstvereins invitation as an opportunity to create an interactive installation for the first time. The (partial) deafness of a musician and composer was the occasion that sparked BALDESSARIS questioning of the processes of, and capacities for, hearing. Titled BEETHOVEN`S TRUMPET; IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE SAME EAR there will be six interactive sculpture as well as 9 new works on the theme NOSES and EARS. In the six sculptures BEETHOVEN’S TRUMPET (WITH EAR) OPUS # 127, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135 Beethovens ear trumpet will play a central role.

These questions on processes of hearing will again be taken up in a different musical installation by LEIF INGE (*1970, lives in Oslo), an artist invited here for this occasion. INGES work 9 BEET STRETCH records Beethovens 9th Symphony and stretches it out to a 24-hour duration. On the one hand, the work is presented as an installation and, on the other, as a concert for which the Kunstverein will one time stay open for 24 hours.

This exhibition custom-made for the Beethoven town Bonn not only for the first time makes graphic the artistic significance of the theme of music, but also enables the visitor to review how far the complex relationship of text, sound and image in JOHN BALDESSARIS works have developed from the late 1960s up to the present.

An extensive program has been planned around the exhibition, among which is the acoustic performance BEETHOVEN`S EAR in the exhibit rooms by the American avant-garde composer and award-winner of the Beethoven prize, PAULINE OLIVEROS (in cooperation with the Beethovenfest Bonn), an event organized around the film Conceptual Paradise by the Munich media artist, STEFAN RÖMER, video showings in cooperation with the Videonale e.V., as well as the presentation of up to now unknown film material from ALLAN KAPROW to BALDESSARI. In a two-day symposium, organized in tandem with the University of Bonn, the relevance of conceptual art in todays world will be discussed. Here the way music and the visual arts became interwoven in the 1960s and at present will be the subject of debate from the perspective of art history, musicology, as well as from that of visual artists and musicians.

Press contact
Kunstmuseum Bonn: Dr. Stefan Gronert, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 2,
53113 Bonn, Tel 49 228 7762-26,
Bonner Kunstverein: Anna Dietz, Hochstadenring 22, 53119 Bonn,
Tel. 49 (0) 228 693936,

Bonner Kunstverein and Kunstmuseum Bonn

Bonner Kunstverein  / Kunstmuseum Bonn
May 3, 2007

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