Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The network was down yesterday here at the Aquis Grana, but today I’m finally able to access it—so here is my first post from Aachen, city of Charlemagne, hot springs, countless cigarette machines, dreary skies that threaten rain for days on end, and, of course, the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst.

The Ludwig Forum is incredible. Really, I had no idea of the size of their space or the depth of their collection—they have a library, a restaurant, a performance space, and 16,000 or so works of art, depending on how or what you count. Wander through the first floor exhibition spaces and you’ll run into works by Jasper Johns, Gerhard Richter, Robert Rauschenberg (they loaned a piece to the combines show), Jenny Holzer, Naim Jun Paik, Jeff Koons, Duane Hansen, Warhol, Baselitz…the list just goes on and on.

There are also a number of German artists in the collection whose work I continue to mistake for that of certain American artists. “Maybe every American artist has a German doppelganger…or maybe it’s vice-versa,” Mona pondered at one point yesterday.

As soon as I’m able to offload some pictures from my camera, I’ll post them, and go into more detail about what I’ve seen.

There have been some challenges getting the exhibition together, but I don’t need to go into detail regarding that here. Suffice it to say that Holger Hermannsen and Harald Kunde have been patient, gracious, and pleasant to work with. Holger is a thin, soft-spoken, unassuming guy, and I get the sense that he’s the glue holding the whole place together. Harald, meanwhile, is the intimidating voice of authority—as Holger put it, “he can convince collectors that not loaning work to us for shows will damage their reputations.”

Incredibly, the Forum’s staff is about the size of the Arlington Arts Center’s—about five people deep, although they also contract out for security guards.

Today, once I check in at the Forum, depending on what there is to do, I may head off with Evan Reed to check out a few museums elsewhere. He made the rounds in Dusseldorf yesterday, and came back with a camera full of great pictures. Evan observed that the Germans have a culture of collecting, much moreso than we do—every little town seems to have a pretty impressive Kunsthalle or museum or two, and a cathedral full of relics. Sacred objects, old and new.

More later, including pictures.


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