When attitudes become - curating.

The 747 was born out of the explosion of the popularity of air travel in the 1960s. The enormous popularity of the Boeing 707 had revolutionized long distance travel in the world, and had began the concept of the "global village" made possible by jet revolution. The first edition of the jet, the 747-100, rolled out of the new Everett facility on 2 September 1969. (
In 1969 Playboy magazine printed an interview with Marshal McLuhan in entitled "A Candid Conversation with the High Priest of Popcult and Metaphysician of Media," pp. 53-74, in The Essential McLuhan, Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone (ed.), (New York: Basic Books, 1995)
When attitudes become form, March - April 1969 1969, Suisse, Berne, Kunsthalle, curator: Harald SZEEMANN.


As a child, an impressive day was when we drove to the airport Zurich. Nobody was dropped off or picked up. We couldn't even imagine flying since we didn't know anybody living beyond 30 minutes driving. We went to see the first jumbo jet, the Boing 747, which left the factory in 1969 and was flying first for PanAm in 1970. On that occasion, we went on to visit a newly built shopping center outside Zurich next to the high way, another novelty in the early 1970s. Our family never entered a museum, nor any bookshop or library.

"When attitudes become form" was an exhibition that wouldn't have been possible without the jet revolution. Harald Szeemann was working for Kunsthalle Berne and had traveled the USA where he got to see contemporary American art. This new art was already made by artists who had started to travel by airplane and were mobile. This mobility changed not only society but also art. I believe that conceptual art was the first 747 art form to facture transportation and mobility into material decision-making. Marshal McLuhan's the-medium-is-the-message conversion soon dominates all conversations that defined art: language and concept related works emerged and artists started to communicate. Thought it was Karl Marx who first discussed machines and tools as extensions of human organs and the human body, McLuhan reworked it for a happily communicating and mass consuming "global village" in which everybody potentially conversed with everybody with no specific regards to relations of production and class.

A new area of national, racial and sexual liberations and emancipations took off. The birth control pill, live TV-field-broadcasting, portable and affordable video cameras, early computers and consumer electronics rendering the world fun and promiscuous before the oil crisis, aids and terrorism doomed the arena. The Munich 1972 Olympic terror attack coincided with the beginning of live TV field-journalism broadcasting with mobile cameras outside TV-studios. Artists and intellectuals also celebrated this new world. They entered the field with propositions and international exhibitions independent of museums and galleries. Ausstellungsmacher - exhibition makers - became welcome and necessary to sort out existing disorders and create new ones. Harld Szeemann called his office "Büro für geistige Gastarbeit" - Office for intellectual guest work - recycling the German term Gastarbeit usually reserved only for the then new phenomenon of unskilled migrant industrial workers in Western Europe. Gastarbeiter were and have been (even after generations) perceived as foreign with only modest help for integration. Capital, work, services and products traveled and exchanged and art as always tried to keep up with the pace. Today, curators too are more often then not free agents not directly associated with an institution. Szeemann himself has been defining his role as a free agent even though there have been lose but steady institutional associations. The same is true with many other well known contemporary curators who might be employed by a museum or a Kunsthalle but are perceived as independent and ready to be hired for any show anywhere in the world if the context is attractive - i.e. reputation and remuneration).

Today, the internationalized system of art has become so complex and sophisticated that any role can be taken on by any player anywhere in the game. We more and more see now also artists collecting, curating, writing and dealing as well as collectors, writers and curators making art and reflecting about artistic production in the role of writers and art historians. Interesting enough, even Harald Szeemann, and not only Hans-Ulrich Obrist couldn't resist taking on the role of artists: He showed in the Tirana Biennial 2003, where he had some silk-screens made. Another example of mixing roles is this text which was commissioned by Victor Misiano, a trained art historian who turned curator, publisher, critic and director of an art center. ("I am deputy director of the State Center for Museums and Exhibitions. I am editing my Moscow Art Magazine. I am curating, publishing. writing and so on") Misiano commissions me, an artist, to write a text on how to teach curating. He doesn't ask me for an artwork, he asked me for a pedagogical essay.

It can't be pointed out enough that these changes are the product of a dramatically changing society and its permanently improving technologies. Therefore any other domain changes as well. I give here only three basic unrelated examples but which artists and curators have come to reflect upon. Banking: I pay now with money I don't have and make financial transaction with the computer and the mobile phone. I shift virtual money - a euphemism for my debts - from credit card to credit cards and feel lured into debts. I have started to believe that my extending credit frame is my actual money. Food: I call in for food, or I take it out, I freeze it and microwave it. I also complement it with highly processed vitamins, proteins and whatever I think I need that doesn't often resemble anything "eatable" or "natural". I also cook myself with easy to follow instructions and pre-prepared substances. Needless to say that parts of my foot is now manipulated, designed in size, resistance, taste and composition. I came recently to realize that often in one bite I have products from three to four different continents. Yet, another basic activity that undergoes drastic change is work: Today, we work at home, we work in teams via computers without seeing each other, we work three jobs and more at the same time. We chose, we outsource and subcontract parts and entire productions and work in multiple places around the world simultaneously with our digital arms, voices, eyes and brains.

Is it therefore a surprise that I - in the role of an artist - make my curators paint my paintings, my dealers do my drawings and part of my artistic decision-making. Here at home, I study Chinese and Arabic, I write texts, I try to sell my art, and I panic to organize money, recuperate debts from others, curate shows, advice dealers. I even collect some art. Currently, there are up to 20 people producing my artistic work for me in different places, different continents for different shows with different financial support. It is partially done by people who are no artists and don't understand it. If my computer is an interface, I am an "interbrain," a decision-making body which is processing and producing information.

In this new, twisted and multi-layered international context, curators have to create and not only find their own niche. They have to work locally as well as internationally. Some local positioning comes almost automatically with international exposure. Getting a show or curating a show even in upcoming Brooklyn galleries - so let's even ignore Chelsea or London's East End - will be noticed in mayor art centers around the globe with the speed of spam. On the other hand, any international exposure today is barely reaching a larger audience then any traditional local community since the grandiose art world of today is thinned out to a tiny suburb in a village. A minority of highly specialized professionals that communicates across borders in a new audio-visual Latin backed by a fast changing theoretical jargon starts to vitally interact from the moment new members enter graduate classes in fancy international art schools. Art-star teachers, often not longer out of school then their students in school, integrate quickly new artists into a tide network of contacts. They smoothly mingle with curators, and writers in the many international events available, first as volunteers and interns, then as curators and artists. Many public event providers who love to act internationally offer now "residential programs," and indoor or outdoor experiments for curating and art making. European countries see in their cultural spheres national and chauvinistic pride without ignoring the fact that museums and cultural activities are promotional keynotes for their local tourist industries as well as for their real estate sectors. This allows for a very active exchange between all cultural participants on an international level. Grants are the passwords for this international exposure.

Recently, curating has not only become internationalized but also institutionalized and turned into a discipline that is taught academically. International classes for curatorial learning are now created anywhere: at universities, art schools, museums, auction houses and so on. The question of "What to teach curators?" is about as impossible to answer as "What to teach artists?" in a time of deskilling and artistic outsourcing. I am convinced that the recipe for a good curator is the same as for somebody who succeeds in life and anywhere else. It is an elixir that I locate in people themselves. It is the basic understanding of who we are, of where we are from, of how we are living, of what we want, and of what we can do. This "che voi?" (Italian: "What do you want?" Lacan) is crucial in shielding us from things other people want us to want, to do, to buy, to believe, to sell, to say and to fight for. Concerning art and artist, I don't really have any preference as long as I can see that there is a genuine interest in what a person is doing, an interest that is not opportunistic, externally driven and remote controlled by trends and dominating taste formations. Curators too, should learn to distinguish between motivations and interests that are intrinsic and logical to those that are not. On top of that they have to figure out what kind of art they would like to defend, for whom, and why. They also have to find inventive ways to put their vision respectfully into practice without the total exploitation of artist and anybody else helping in the making of a show.

Everybody should have answers to the questions of why they do what they do. These answers should be intrinsic to the job and not extrinsic to it. Money, power, and banking love shouldn't dominate curatorial or artistic decision making though it can never be avoided. But we all know people who are purely motivated by the social context onto which they project themselves without any authentic interest in what they do. Many are those curators who only work with the view artists from high-powered galleries with already guaranteed status. This reinforces the given artistic and curatorial status quo without challenging it - sometimes without even comprehending it. Curators should not only understand artists, be able to listen to them but should also understand their own role in today's constant remaking of a complex cultural and political landscape. Anything we visitors, collectors, curators, artists, and dealers do is part of on an ongoing eternal shaping and reshaping of esthetic, cultural and intellectual standards that have wider political, social and ideological impacts. Cultural and intellectual formations can be liberating or oppressive and have wide repercussions on individual psychologies but also on general politics. Right now, in the post-9/11 period in the United States, cultural institutions and universities are under more pressure to be complicit with right wing politics and encourage a terrifying culture of mutual mistrust and eavesdropping. Critical departments lose their funding, political speech is discouraged and intimidated, artists are threatened with lawsuits, and independent media outlets risk being silenced. It has been so far impossible for a group that resisted the war against Iraq to purchase advertising space at Time Square denouncing war. Currently there are several lawsuits opened against artists and I could be one of them given "my" US-postal stamp-project that plays with symbolic civil disobedience ( Today, everybody has to understand that he/she is part of a larger discourse shaping our public and private spheres in a less oppressive way.

Years ago, I happened to be part of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (ISP) that puts artists, curators and writers together in a course for professionals expected to succeed somehow in the highly competitive field of cultural production. During that formational year, we worked together without much discussing art and the usual politics that surrounds it. Art seemed almost a taboo that was better addressed in the back rooms and corridors than in the regular and frequent plenum discussions. We were expected to read books, and had to work through non-ending photocopies of articles relevant to discussion on the cultural front. Art was only one optical device to look outside our windows. In many ways, it did change my way of thinking and doing things, for not saying that it actually changed the direction of my life. This wasn't the case because of social contacts made during that program but because of what we discussed, what we read, what we focused on. I found subsequently a way to reformulate my art making and thinking that can be partially traced back to the two years I spent there. A couple of years later, I was invited to Grenoble where a curatorial "école" was created. When the ICP program didn't provide any means and was only equipped with a photocopy machine, the Le Magasin in France offered grants, travel stipends and all kind of other possibilities still unavailable to the NY based program. To my surprise, in France, nobody was interested in art or any subject I proposed to discuss. The talk was only about "How did you get your book published," "How do you get in there" etc. Traveling and social networking were privileged over reading and discussing culturally important issues.

Lets now look at the question of power for some of these relevant cultural agents. As I have pointed out earlier, cultural roles are becoming more diversified, more difficult to define and somehow interchangeable in this always changing landscape. Yet, this doesn't indicate that the power and influence inherent to these roles is evaporating. If artists curate a show or collect art they create the same effects on the distribution of power and influence than when "curators-only" or "collectors-only" do it. As an artist, I have had quite some troubling experiences with artist-curators. Some of them have assumed the power of curators but not the responsibilities of curating. During the selection process they were reasoning like curators but during the organizational phase they acted like artists: i.e. paying little respect to artist's work. Artists have the right to see the world through their works and are allowed to deal with their art works in whatever way they decide. But when in the role of a curator, they have to change their optics and need to respect other artist and their works. Of course, people who are professional curators-only can act irresponsibly as well.I am going now to be very specific and polemical and use samples of my own experience, positive and negative ones. I might risk consternation on both ends: There are many curators I have had the pleasure and honor to work with excellent and positive outcomes then I can list here. Also, generally speaking, I have been treated by most curators with respect, intelligence and generosity. Of course, the experiences on the other end of the spectrum have been disappointing but relatively minimal. Pointing to a few cases where things went wrong might add a bitter taste to this essay when reading it. But it hasn't disenchanted me: Quite the opposite. I have learned to understand that behind these conflicts - that can take on very personal and idiosyncratic forms - there are mostly structural problems traceable back to weak financial support due to greedy communities that host these institutions. For the few negative cases I have created web-pages that feature the exact development and context, and show key correspondences.

My worst experience ever so far has been with Italian curator Claudia Zanfi who has been trying to disown me of an artwork of mine using quite intricate tactics to do so. We are still in dispute since my piece has not been returned. This case is documented to the point that is almost amounts to a sociological study of a town ( and serves as an example of an entire network of exploitation and self-exploitation in the middle of a rich city that refuses to give enough money to the arts in spite of its attempt to recycle it for its image. The curator Zanfi made herself a complicit agent in this mechanism of disrespect and abuse. Maike Pollack from Southfirst gallery in Brooklyn is another case of somebody who tried to extort artworks from me and even kicked me out of the running group show I was in ( Ad midst some minor cases of frustrations which I'm listening here in the hope of pressuring some solutions thanks to the power of free speech, I have to mention well-known Italian artist Maurizio Mnannunci who heads a respected art space in Florence entitled BASE. After three years of empty promises, he still hasn't yet reimbursed me the promised airfare nor returned my art works. The other petty case that isn't even worth a description here can be seen on line with some artists-curators based in Amsterdam ( who did me in financially and on the level of presentation. My last remarkably disappointing example in curating with a large and respected institution had been with Christian Bernard who invited me to do a one-person show in a part of the Mamco in Geneva in 1997. Though funding was guaranteed and a time for the opening was chosen, the show was abruptly canceled for rather ludicrous reasons only 2 months before its scheduled opening. No rescheduling. In place of my show, Bernard put the work of an artist who much more smoothly fit the social network context of the rest of the artists then occupying his chic museum. In that case, it wasn't money or financial support that provoked the conflict though Bernard used the funding-argument as a pretext. He had my written assurance that all costs were covered by resources others than his.

Before I go into positive territory of my best experiences with curators and museum programmers, I would like to address the funding issue, a permanent source of potential conflict. There are artists who reject participation when there is no funding, when they have to pay themselves. I do not share this position and differentiate. I sometimes participate even when I have to pay myself. But I have learned to insist that funding is discussed in a clear and comprehensive way upfront. Years ago, I accepted the no-funding conditions of the Contemporary Art Center Moscow when Victor Misiano was curator. At that time there was no money in Moscow and Misiano made it clear from the beginning. I organized myself, went ahead and had a great time. I was able to produce a show I organized around the studies of Basic Russian and my Reading Seminar projects. This exhibition has been important for my own working-history and the lack of international reception and funding didn't matter.

Currently, I'm working on a one-person exhibition for a non-for profit space in Hong Kong, Artist Commune, which requires elaborate work. The chief curator Shin-Yi Yang, who is currently in a PHD-program at an Ivey League school here in the USA, invites a guest curator, Mie Iwasuki who invites me. The show sounds great but there is also no funding. He simply seems to ignore the fact that we are on the other side of the globe. It was made clear that there is no money. I accept it because several volunteers, including both curators will study with me Chinese on a regular basis advancing my four-year old Basic Chinese art project. Mie Iwasuki is hard working and supportive. Additional to teaching Chinese, she is painting three large canvases for my show. I will pay my own flight ticket, cover the costs of most of the materials and hope to have a nice time in Hongkong. Without making it look like a complaint I can't ignore the fundamental question why a rich city like Hong Kong can't afford basic coverage of artistic activities? Why do curators work when there is no financial support for the arts? Answers are complex but always comprehensive within the logic of pre-monetary thinking that dominates the art world. My "I don't sell but I learn something"-mantra undergoes in this case a slight modification.Currently, I am in another international situation with no funding that is acceptable and pleasant. It is an intelligent show that doesn't require any money. They understand that internationalism doesn't necessarily have to signify air travel and jet lag. Alejandro Cesarco and Gabriela Forcadell are curating a show - if we are allowed to call it that - for the Centro Cultural Rojas without any significant funds but lots of engagement, ideas and pleasure. At least, Cesarco is living permanently in Brooklyn and acts as a satellite decision maker to the Argentineans, still hard hit by the failed politics of the IMF and the World Bank. I am one of the artists invited every month to present a bibliography to read with an introduction explaining the artist's selection of texts with proposed reading strategies. The texts go into an archive they are about to set up in remote and cash poor Argentina. There seem to be lots of people left with curiosity and interest for art and artists' reasoning. For me, this participation is not only a perfect pretext for reading but also a way to brush up the link between my fingers and some parts of my cortex. I love to express myself with old-fashioned media that have been dominating me and my artistic rendering: reading, writing and discussions have been the center pieces in many of my exhibitions. These basic cultural practices have become more and more anachronistic in a cultural status quo that works with mice, scrolling bars, clicks and remote control sticks. Seeing these curators - who are mainly artists who don't like to wait around - working respectfully with simple and eco-friendly strategies makes me almost forget about the stress that can define this world of programming.

Next to money, there are many other conflicts like we know them in daily life. I am going to pick here only a few that become more and more apparent between curators and artists: Artistic interference by curators. It is the result of changing roles and the deskilling in many artistic practices. Curators start to interfere and compete with artists in the artistic decision making process: "Make it bigger, make it smaller, use this material etc...." Curators also assume roles that resemble prior demands by Maecenas and other patrons. "We want you to do a bar, a dance floor, a skateboard ramp, wall paper, furniture, a floating structure, and last but not least a tomb for the CEO." The merging of artistic production with the emergence of a small artistic cottage industry of social services reinforces this kind of interference as well. "Could you a reading seminar? Will you teach the children of the neighborhood? Will you psychoanalyze members from our museum board?" Because artists are today often producers and organizers of their own art works and don't shy away from spectacle and event planning, their modes of working and managing affairs have become similar, if not the same to those of curators or dealers. This proximity between curators and artists is therefore a lure that everybody should be aware of.

The importance of ("I wonna get mass-") media attention in the art world is yet another factor that can push artists and curators onto crashing courses. People compete for public and narcissistic love. Attention seems to be the lifeblood for our media driven industry. It is not uncommon that curators of mega-shows are more important than the art temporarily left behind by an international jet set. When Harald Szeemann invited me for the Kwangju Biennial in 1997, the Korean press couldn't stop asking questions about my star curator. "How is it working with him? How did he find you? Have you worked with him before? What do you think about Szeemann? Etc..." Almost no substantial question about my artistic proposition was asked. Today, many writers follow this obsession with curating and curators. Larger group shows don't seem to fall or stand with the work of the artists in the show but with the curatorial reasoning placing it. Unfortunately, this selection process can often resemble horse betting or stock picking contests. People prefer seeing reoccurring high profile names mixed with unknown young newcomers. Older artists try to rejuvenate themselves through collaborations with young talents. Curators reinvent themselves by inviting younger artists. They easily can change their modes of working and synchronize their perception with the flux of things.

It is no surprise that thinking about art in scores and ranking proliferates since even investment capital enters the arena. Without knowing many details, it came to my attention that some high profile US-curators are not only advisors but founders of a venture fund amassing capital to invest in the arts. With auction prizes of contemporary art exceeding even the appreciations of internet-stocks during the frantic years of irrational exuberance, it is no surprise that institutionalized investment thinking has become a reality. By the way, published best selling lists in business magazines of artists have been around since the 1980s. I sometimes have the feeling that many curators of museums make exhibitions to impress and signal to other curators and directors of museums advised by blue chip galleries and collecting board members. The "shopping" of artists is defining museum profiles. At the peak of their careers, highly overbooked and overexposed players move from big museum to big museum only. It is not an easy game to assure the booking of these high-flying artists. This gives the false impression that there is such a think like the NBA of art.

But there isn't. More often then not, when artists touch a certain critical point of success and exposure they start to over-produce and under-perform. I am inclined to say that museum shows that don't challenge artists, curators, the public and critics are prerecorded visual musak. We all shouldn't ignore the common fact that most artists become known for works they did when few people expressed interest in them and when barely anybody was spending money on them. In this landscape of illusions, endless diversity and competitive selecting, decision-making is difficult and contextualizes curators quickly. "Who do you show? Who do you collect?" Curators stay and fall with their artists, their galleries, their openings, their dinner invitations, and their press coverage. Working with famous artists brings fame to curating (and vice-versa).
I finally resume with the giving of names of people who have offered me opportunities for one-person shows at moments when the discrepancy between my recognition as an artist and the importance of the inviting institution was huge. At the time of my invitation, these curators were in positions of power and could have shown artists who commanded much higher social consensus and approval rates than I did. Risking to disappoint important curators and supporters of mine who for simply technical reasons can't be mentioned all, I am thanking here the following people who all gave me one person museum shows: Annegreth Nill, Dallas Museum of Art, 1992; Timothy Blum, Person's Weekend Museum, Tokyo, 1993; Sabine Breitwieser, Generali Foundation, Vienna, 1997; Edelbert Köb, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 1998; Each of these curators and directors had open and endless options for their programming but were choosing me because of my artistic work only. None of these choices were influenced by social dynamics and networking power games. There had been no dealer or other match-maker involved. My status as a relatively unknown artist allowed me to take each of these shows very seriously. For these museums, I was able to make shows that have become important for my own art making. Each show has somehow altered my artistic direction and turned into a crucial corner stone for the developing of my artwork. Interesting enough, almost all of these shows were relatively ignored by critics, by other institutions and by collectors. I just received an invitation by Bill Kaizen to make a one-person show at Wallach Gallery, the Columbia University Museum in 2005. This is a well-funded institution that usually limits itself to historical positions only. Again, I am amazed that this curator and doctorate student in art history has made me his choice diverting from the regularly prescribed path of his respected institution.

I'm concluding this essay with the banality of stating that there is no formula to teach neither artists nor curators. Every success story differs and cannot be replicated or even fully understood. To a certain degree, it is nearly impossible to decide what success means for people involved: Busy schedules? Frequent Flier Gold Memberships? Sales? Visitors? Prestigious institutions? Media coverage? Artistic consistency? For my part, I define successful stories those that require redefinitions of the very notion of success. My heart is with curators who sometimes against all odds are dedicated to a certain artists, or certain aesthetics without landing social or critical success. I don't even have to like them very much. In New York, Kenny Schachter has been one of these cases for a long time that are difficult to define. Next to a curator he is also a lawyer, a collector, an artist, a writer, a dealer, a gallery owner and recently a real estate developer. Many of the artists that have come to be meaningful and recognized in the 1990s had been first showing in Schachter's rather chaotic events that were placed in unconventional spaces. His frequent programming was held in empty non-art spaces across downtown Manhattan were shows were as much visited as criticized. Most of his artists really hadn't shown before. But quite a number of them moved on with desirable and profitable careers, some ignoring Schachter in their biographies. I liked only a handful of artists he had worked with over the years. I couldn't appreciate the majority of his aesthetics choices, but I very much recognize and adore the fact that he has been home to many artists he showed and collected early on, anticipating and shaping major visual trends in New York. For my personal understanding, Schaechter redefined and extended the social role of the artist/curator/writer/collector/dealer/entrepreneur in a way to remember and to shock.

I end abruptly with the unsatisfying feeling that much had been left out. Being exposed to art and artists is an endless school that is in no need for teachers or students. Listening to artists should be the most urgent job of anybody who works or pretends to work for the arts. Good artists and good curators find their own way to defy the dull institutionalization and the non-stop commercialization of art and its vital channels of communication. They are not satisfied with art schools or curatorial training courses, with dealers and museum directors, with the market and state sponsored event cultures for chauvinistic or group-narcissistic ends. The same applies also to an intelligent audience and outstanding collectors who appreciate and dedicate themselves to things they really like themselves. All these participants know that they need art in their struggle to live a decent and meaning full life. In today's international world of total marketing, spam comes also in form of cultural products we don't want, don't need, and don't (want to) understand. Today, the responsibility of everybody involved with the endless process of a cultural and artistic production and mediation is bigger then ever before. It is a sublime endgame to be endlessly continued on a glocal level. In order to return to the beginning of this essay I would like to point out that Fedex, e-mail and the internet have made even jet-traveling non-essential for being active on the narrow broadband of a temporal globalizing presence. Since everything seems just a keyboard away the choices of staying or flying, curating or art making, consuming or ignoring cultures become not more than an attitude in non-ending changing world.

Rainer Ganahl New York , July 2004
(unedited text)

PS1: PS1-Moma is amidst many other things not only a sold out program for artists - it basically is now history since the 12 months program is cut down to a meaningless three months period that will only produce "paid exhibitions" (I was told by current participants that contributing countries are asked to pay 30.000 dollar for 3 months) - but also a sweatshop for curators and its dancing public in Brooklyn. I feel like I didn't point out enough that responsibilities in curatorial decision-making are very important and shouldn't be exported beyond political thinking. I really feel that if we are not careful enough we risk waking up on a page of George Orwell with the only difference of wearing better clothes and seeing in four colors. We might be asked to take off our shoes not only before boarding a plane but also when "turning corners" in our cities.

PS2: A careful critical reader/friend of this text has correctly pointed out that sketches about the "post-Marxist" classless global village have not been taken up again. He is right. If I look at the provenience of the most successful recruitments of the “cultured class” in the USA (Europe will see more of that as well), one cannot ignore the fact that the politics of private schooling and universities is paying well off. Successful curators, artists or writers are more and more an exception and a thing of the past. That is in particular also true with the very slow but yet happening integration of so-called minorities. They might be African-American or immigrants of Pakistani, Latino or Chinese decent but they most likely come from rather wealthy families. Structural economic divisions on the consuming end of highbrow culture – independent of whether artworks address popular audiences or speak with the vernacular of popular culture – are even more determining. The trend to even facture cultural production as well as consumption into the demarcation line of class divisions is increasing and can be observed everywhere, from advertising to real estate planning, from educational investments to on line dating. Curators should be very much aware of what they are doing in regard to the accelerating discrepancies within the disappearing middle classes.

PS3: It goes without saying that I am deeply indebted to and appreciative of everybody who has worked with me in whatever role. I feel very sorry that this text does not allow me to name every single person. My text would have been 20 more pages long. But I do want to mention two people here in New York who have been and are still tremendously supportive and generous with me: Devon Dikeou, artist, writer, curator, collector and editor of zingmagazine and Manfred Baumgartner who is offering me a third one person exhibition in New York where the killing cost structure is so high that an exhibition with an artist of my commercial track record doesn't look justifiable - another curatorial choice against the grain.

PS4: I did not elaborate on the disputes that still are driggering on thought people keep promsing to return works and to pay - the reality until this date has been different and still frustrating. But I do offer links with most of the communications where I clearlyl layout the dispute that is for everybody nothing but a headache. I therefore ask anybody to look at these web pages in case somebody is interested in details. I ommitted these details because it is not the topic of this text.


BELOW some IMAGE choices for possible ILLUSTRATION:


HI RES IMAGES FORf Reading Seminars : IMPORTED -- 1993 - 97




My First 500 Hours Basic Chinese, 1999- 2001 (Museum Ludwig, Cologne)

250 video tapes of 120 min in 50 boxes, 500 video

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Basic Arabic (Study Sheet), 12/6/03 New York

(work on paper, 9 x 12 inches)

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Basic Arabic (Study Sheet), 11/30/03 New York

(work on paper, 9 x 12 inches)

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Basic Arabic (Study Sheet), 12/03/03 New York

(work on paper, 9 x 12 inches)

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Rainer Ganahl

Please, write down the Russian words the artist should should know,1995

interactive wall painting with different responses in different media.

This work was part of my show at the Contemporary Art Center Moscow in 1995. At that time of the shows, I offered this conceptual piece for free to Joseph Backstein (director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow). Backstein was about to put together a collection of contemporary art in Russia he simply refused my offer. I was surprised since I offered it for free. Backstein, a writer, curator, collector, philosopher and empressario of cultural events diidn't want it. Since it was a piece that could be stored in form of a photograph, a reconstruction diagram and a certificate of authenticity I was really wondering. Today, I am not offering it anymore for free. Since this is the first publication of this piece I would like to thank everybody who contributed to this dialogical work with their writing - and their paint throwing.

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more picutres coming soon