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April 18, 2018

Exhibition of German Artist Hanne Darboven’s Work Organized by ECS Students

The work of Hanne Darboven (1941–2009), an important figure in the history of conceptual art, is the subject of a multipart exhibition that will open at Princeton University on April 27, 2018, with installations in the Princeton University Art Museum, Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, the Department of Art & Archaeology, and the Department of German.

Developed in collaboration with ECS Director Brigid Doherty by a team of students from the Department of Art & Archaeology (PhD candidate and ECS Graduate Affiliate Nathan Stobaugh), Department of German (senior and ECS certificate student Alexander Robinson), and Department of Comparative Literature (junior Cecily Polonsky), and organized under the leadership of Nathan Stobaugh, the exhibition emerged from a seminar, Art Against Culture?, that was taught by Professor Doherty in Spring 2017. Crosslisted in the Departments of German and Art & Archaeology and ECS, the seminar brought together graduate and undergraduate students from Art & Archaeology, German, History, Economics, Philosophy, and Comparative Literature to explore the wide range of ways in which Darboven and other artists and writers in late twentieth-century Germany sought to disrupt cultural norms for the representation of time and place in response to the difficulties of reckoning with recent German history.

The exhibition’s opening day, April 27, will feature readings by Nathan Stobaugh, Erica DiBenedetto, and Denise Koller, PhD candidates in Art & Archaeology; Andreas Strasser, PhD candidate in German and an ECS Graduate Affiliate; Cecily Polonsky, junior in Comparative Literature; Alexander Robinson, senior in German and ECS certificate student; Austen Hinkley, PhD candidate in Comparative Literature; and Aidan Gray, senior in Classics. New York-based artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi will deliver a lecture on Darboven’s magnum opus, Cultural History 1880-1983 (1980-83), and composer and artist Seth Cluett will speak about Darboven’s musical compositions.

The opening day will conclude with the premiere of Darboven Tracings, a musical work by Seth Cluett that was commissioned by the Program in European Cultural Studies and will be performed by Cluett with collaborators Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Jeff Snyder, at 6 PM in the Princeton University Art Museum.

Hanne Darboven’s Address — Place and Time features works on paper and artist’s books from the German artist’s breakthrough period in New York in the late 1960s, when she turned from abstract painting to a practice of drawing that involved the serial presentation of systems of linear construction and calculations based on the dates of the Gregorian calendar, to her work of the 1970s and ‘80s, in which an engagement with German history came to the fore. Using a variety of techniques for drawing, writing, and arithmetical calculation, Darboven reconfigured elements derived from the calendar, the postal system, and the media of personal correspondence, including picture postcards and handwritten letters. This exhibition presents a diverse group of drawings and prints that investigate and critique systems for the organization of time, space, historical documentation, and interpersonal communication in modern European culture.

The works brought together for this exhibition demonstrate the singularity and significance of Darboven’s contributions to art of the past fifty years while exploring connections between her art and that of her peers. The installation in the Princeton University Art Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Gallery includes seven works by Darboven as well as two works by the American artist Sol LeWitt (1928–2007), with whom Darboven maintained a close friendship and carried on a decades-long correspondence after the two artists first met in New York in the 1960s. An important early drawing by Darboven from LeWitt’s personal collection is featured in that installation. Concurrent with the exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum, a selection of Darboven’s artist’s books from the extensive holdings of her work in the collection of the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology will be shown there, while seven additional works on paper by Darboven will be installed in the Department of German.

The Princeton University Art Museum is open 10 AM – 5 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 AM – 9 PM on Thursday; and 12 PM – 5 PM on Sunday. The works installed at the Museum will be on view through June 24. The works in Marquand Library can be viewed 9 AM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday, through July 27. Please inquire at the library’s front desk regarding the Darboven case exhibit. Hanne Darboven’s sixteen-part drawing Letter and Indices to 24 Songs (1974), reproduced in facsimile with the permission of the Harvard Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, will be on view in the Department of Art & Archaeology 9 AM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday, through July 27. The works in the Department of German can be viewed 9 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday, through June 12.

Full schedule of opening day events

For more information about the exhibition