Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5

Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5

Curated by David Platzker

ICI’s newest series of shows celebrates the fact that interesting projects can come in small parcels, and takes its lead from initiatives such as Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise and George Maciunas’ Fluxkits. Charged with a do-it-yourself imperative, each Exhibitions in a Box provides source material from which venues can generate high-content, low-cost exhibitions, adapting and adding to the materials provided according to the space and facilities available. An evolving series developed by artists, curators and art historians, the content of the boxes variously includes small-scale artworks, videos, sound works, instruction works, ephemera and archive materials.

These projects are suitable for all scales of institution, from libraries and artist-run spaces, to art centers, university galleries, museum project spaces, or education centers. Each box will arrive with materials ready to install, requiring little or no equipment for presentation. The projects are conceived to stimulate discussions and events, to be organized by the host venue. Virtually any configuration is possible: for example, the box contents may be added to with contributions from the host venue’s collections and archives, or can be the starting point for an exhibition that presents local artists’ practices in relation to a broader art issue or event. There are three categories of Exhibitions in a Box: key historic precedents that influence art practice and exhibition making now; artist-initiated boxes; and a project series, focusing on one period or range of works from contemporary artists.

The first historic Exhibition in a Box is titled Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5.  The materials explore the many facets of one particularly controversial Documenta exhibition, which jumped outside the contemporary art sphere into an expanded realm of activity, a legendary extravaganza that invited both visceral criticism and praise. Generally speaking, Documenta is a major international contemporary art presentation that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. This specific 1972 Documenta, chiefly curated by the influential Swiss curator, Harald Szeemann, was a pioneering, radically different presentation that was conceived as a 100-day event, with performances and happenings, outsider art, even non-art, as well as repeated Joseph Beuys lectures, and an installation of Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum, among many other atypical inclusions. The show widely promoted awareness of a contract known as The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, which protects artists’ ongoing intellectual and financial rights with regard to their production.  This Exhibition in a Box includes the exhibition catalogue, ephemera, artists’ publications and editions produced in conjunction with the exhibition, as well as published reviews and critical responses. The assembled materials provide a rich jumping off point for art history students, artists, and general audiences to plunge into the international contemporary art scene of 1972, to see what this particularly fertile cultural moment produced. Venues might like to host an evening of local artists’ talks about contracts and rights, building from discussion of The Artists Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, or could work with community groups to generate their own 100-day series of events.

For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Frances Wu Giarratano, Exhibitions Manager, at 212.254.8200 x 29, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Documenta 5 Exhibition Catalogue

Additional Images

Joseph Beuys, aus / from Saltoarte (aka: How the Dictatorship of the Parties Can Overcome), 1975 (printed bag)

Letter from Robert Morris, "Regarding Documenta V," Flash Art, May-June 1972

Installation view at Specific Object, New York

Touring Schedule

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Project Description