Rose: Post-war Contemporary Artist Isa Genzken at New Museum

Isa Genzken’s 28-foot Rose II Arrives on the Bowery Acclaimed German Artist’s First Public Sculpture in the US. Genzken’s Rose is the second work in the New Museum’s Rotating Façade Program

Last Saturday, November 13, 2010, the New Museum unveiled acclaimed German artist Isa Genzken’s first public artwork in the United States, installed on the façade of the Museum’s building on the Bowery. Standing twenty-eight feet tall, Genzken’s Rose
II (2007) is the second work to be presented as part of the New Museum’s ongoing Façade Sculpture Program since the building’s completion in December 2007. A crucial figure in Post-war contemporary art, Genzken is a sculptor whose work re-imagines architecture,
assemblage, and installation, giving form to new plastic environments and precarious structures. The artist represented Germany at the 2007 Venice Biennale and has shown her work in leading museums across Europe.

Part of original image by Naho Kubota

She was among a group of prominent international artists featured in the exhibition “Unmonumental,” the survey that inaugurated the New Museum’s SANAA building. Genzken’s first Rose was created in 1993 and reprised in 2007. The work can be seen as the culmination of a practice that explores the way we perceive objects and images through our senses; the implications of scale; and the integration of architecture, nature, and mass culture.

Although Genzken is a longtime resident of Berlin, she has had a forty-year love affair with New York City, which began when she first visited as a student. Looking back on
that experience, she commented, “To me, New York had a direct link with sculpture…(It) is a city of incredible stability and solidity.” The installation of Rose II can be seen as a tribute to a place Genzken continues to love. Rose II will remain on view through 2011. The New Museum Façade Sculpture Program is made possible by an endowment established by The
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust. Rose II is on extended loan, courtesy David Zwirner Gallery, New York.

About the Artist

Isa Genzken’s diverse practice draws on the legacies of Constructivism and Minimalism and often involves a critical, open dialogue with Modernist architecture and contemporary visual and material culture.

Using plaster, cement, building samples, photographs, and bric-a-brac, Genzken creates architectonic structures that have been described as contemporary ruins. She further incorporates mirrors and other reflective surfaces to literally draw the viewer into her work. As part of her deep-set interest in urban space, she also arranges complex, and often disquieting, installations with mannequins, dolls, photographs, and an array of found objects.

Born in 1948 in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, Isa Genzken studied fine arts and art history in Hamburg, Berlin, and Cologne before completing her studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1977.

Genzken was the subject of a major retrospective in 2009, jointly organized by the Museum Ludwig, Cologne and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. She represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and other notable solo exhibitions in the past decade include Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2008); the Camden Arts Center, London (2006); the Photographers Gallery, London (2005); the Kunsthalle Zürich (2003); and the Städtlische Galerie im Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich (2003).

Her work is included in the collections of many prominent institutions internationally, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Generali Foundation, Vienna; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Genzken lives and works in Berlin.

Façade Sculpture Program at the New Museum

The first artwork for the Façade Sculpture Program was installed in December 2007. Ugo
Rondinone’s Hell, Yes! (2001), was unveiled on the façade to celebrate the opening of the New Museum’s first freestanding building at 235 Bowery. The sculpture quickly became such a pivotal part of the Museum’s new identity that it was acquired and donated to the New Museum by several museum trustees. The New Museum plans to reinstall Hell, Yes! in another location soon. The Façade Sculpture Program is made possible by an endowment established by The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust.

The New Museum

The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum was conceived as a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding, dedicated building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a hub of new art and new ideas and is a place of ongoing experimentation about what art and arts institutions can be in the twenty-first century.


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