When a collection of art ephemera only includes items from American galleries it inevitably does not convey the full picture. During the final decades of the 20th century Europe was not only the birthplace of important artists (e.g., Christo, Marina Abramović, Anselm Kiefer) but it was also a key market for American artists.
Gallery 98’s goal is to capture the entire development of contemporary art from 1960 to 2000 by means of gallery announcements, posters and catalogues. We have recently been fortunate to be able to greatly expand our European holdings. Here are some of our favorite items. More European cards are posted on our New Additions page.
Because their art projects were usually short-lived, Christo and his partner Jeanne-Claude always put time and effort into the related art and ephemera both to publicize but also to pay for these events. Afterwards, these items also served as documentation keeping the projects alive. This signed poster was issued in conjunction with the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland that sponsored Christo’s tree-wrapping project in a park adjacent to their headquarters. It was the final realization of an idea that Christo first conceived 32-years earlier. Wrapped in a reflective fabric used in Japan to protect trees from cold winters, the one-month installation resembled a futuristic sculpture park.
Jeff Koons created this huge, 33-foot high topiary puppy in Arolsen Germany close to Documenta 9, the art fair in nearby Kessel. Consisting of living plants over a steel support, Koons’ puppy was inspired both by 18th century gardens and contemporary cute, puppy-lovers’ kitsch. This postcard published by Koons shows the temporary installation of the Arolsen Puppy, the earliest version of what would become one of his most famous creations. Puppy travelled to other sites, and in 1997 a permanent version was placed outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.
Yugoslavian Marina Abramović and West German Ulay met in Amsterdam in 1976 where they began a 12-year creative partnership often doing single night performances in galleries and museums throughout Europe. For Relation in Time the collaborators tied their ponytails together and then sat back-to-back for 16 hours. This now famous performance dates from 1977, as does this vintage card from Switzerland.
By the 1990s photographer Cindy Sherman was at the top of the art world — the winner of a MacArthur genius award (1995), whose work was regularly on display in the most prestigious museums. These were active years for the prolific artist with nearly a dozen exhibitions a year. As she continued working, Sherman’s signature self-portraits expanded beyond the film and gender critiques that marked her works from the 80’s. Now she worked in large scale, in color, and often wore elaborate make-up and costuming. This card captures a period when extreme fashion style was an integral part of the characters she created.
This invitation for an exhibition of the sexually provocative work of painter John Currin marks the very first exhibition at Sadie Coles’ now long-running London gallery. The image on the card titled The Unpopular Guy is a collage made from the pages of a woman’s magazine such as Cosmopolitan, showing a smiling male gaze at women all of whose faces have been given hideous expressions. The gallery press release includes a quote by art historian Norman Bryson that reads, “Currin’s amorous male is stuck forever in the position Freud described in his paper On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love” (1912).