Priority report.

Freitag, der 13. Mai 2016

I am part of some women-only networks and organize ladies salons for female artists/curators/critics as well. I am convinced, that there is an urgent need for women to connect and to promote and sponsor each others, like men do „naturally“, be it in „Burschenschaften“ or later at the bar. But from time to time I am a bit confused, how bitchy and uncooperative women tend to behave, once they are by themselves. Thursday evening I attended a SALOON, a monthly gathering of women in the artworld. The SALOON is an interesting format: curator Tina Sauerländer founded it and „curates“ it together with the director of the Museum „The Kennedys“, Alina Heinze. With „curating“ I mean, that it is invitational only. Tina and Alina select the most „interesting“, „emerging“ and „promising“ young women out of the recommendations by women, that are already SALOON members. Once a month, a member shows her workspace – the female artists show their studios, the gallerinas and galleristas show their bureaus/galleries/current exhibitions, the curators give us guided tours through their institutional spaces and current projects and – depending on the guide and her field – it is mostly fun or inspiring and seldom boring.
Afterwards we have dinner at some restaurant. That is the „networking part“ and this is what the second „O“ in SALOON stands for: eating and drinking. The idea is great- to have some insight, a look behind the curtains, first, and one or three drinks afterwards. I know, that the time together in the restaurant is meant for reflection and to discuss the impressions- but that doesn’t work out for me. On Thursday, for example, we’ve visited the show „Sculpture as Place“ a big (the biggest ever) retrospective of works of minimal artist Carl Andre. Curator Lisa Marei Schmidt gave us a tour and went with us for a drink afterwards. I’ve already visited the exhibition a couple of times, as I am currently working on an art mediation project together with students from different universities for this show. And I must say, I don’t like it! His is a strong sculptural position, no argue about that. But for what reasons? All of Andres promoters (Kasper König, Konrad Fischer, Frank Stella e.g.) have been male and white, like him. He tested the rules and limitations of art, just to invent some new, that are now protected with passion and Berlin charme by the museum guards .
Normally I would like that, though, but somehow the works seem to be dead, digged in a museum grave. Although you are allowed to walk onto the floor sculptures (except one), which is a special experience, the spirit won’t flow. Everything is behind glass, in vitrines, untouchable, sublime, nor labels neither texts on the walls disturb this holy place. I am not a fan of explanational randomness on the walls or artwiki in every room. I advocate the dialogue in front of the original and to think for myself, instead of beeing teached about what to see. But this show celebrates an oldfashioned art definition, that isn’t mine at all. I like Lisa-Marei and what she has said in interviews about art mediation – and from the curators point of view I can totally understand, why she decided to do it this way. Andres work couldn’t stand benches in every room or any other „accessory“ like labels. The sculptures need room and emptiness to glow and shine. That might be to „oldschool“ for me, but I am looking forward, what my students make out of it. I am not interested in teaching them the „right and only“ way to look at Andres work. Surely I can’t ignore what Andres original intentions were and I’ll discuss them with my students. But lets see, what they do with Andres „rules“ and how far we can bend them and the institutional ones…
But back to the SALOON. I could never tell Lisa-Marei my opinion on Thursday. Part of that game is, that you don’t criticize the work of the others. In my opinion, honest and constructive critique could be useful. Not to say: make it better next time (we’re all experts and Lisa-Marei for example is an extraordinary great curator) but to share thoughts and opinions, fields of interest and different attitudes.
Unfortunately, the most of the young women i met are not honest at all, when they are by themselves. They pretend to be (getting better paid, being more successfull/ busy/not mothers) all the time, they play act. Thursday it was much better, because I brought my daughter Marie with me. The mood went from professional to informal, once I’ve unwrapped her and I had some really honest and beautiful discussions about freelancing, motherhood and what it means to give 110% all the time, because you work project-based. I liked that experience. Made me hopeful for the future.

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