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Press release

Jutta Koether – Tour de Madame

Press Release for the Press Conference on May 16th, 2018 in Munich

Press release

Munich, May 11, 2018 - There is scarcely any other artist who has shaped our current understanding of painting and the cultural landscape as significantly as Jutta Koether (born 1958). Tour de Madame is the first in-depth survey show dedicated to her work and, as such, represents a unique opportunity for the general public to view the astonishing and spectacular scope of her paintings. In many respects the exhibition will be a journey of discovery, bringing together more than 150 paintings in a totally novel fashion. Many of the works have either never been exhibited before, or have not been on display since their initial presentation. One highlight of the exhibition will be a newly produced 15-part series of paintings – with a nod to Cy Twombly’s Battle of Lepanto cycle on permanent display at Museum Brandhorst – embodying Koether’s own “battle” with art history.


The exhibition offers a chronological overview of Koether’s multifaceted oeuvre. It goes back to her beginnings in the context of Neo-Expressionism in Cologne in the early and mid-1980s, and her subsequent exploration of the colour red as an expressive device – presenting a response to the cliché of male painters. After moving to New York in the early 1990s, Koether began making breathtakingly intense and colourful large-scale paintings that layer motifs from pop culture, literature and art history in dense painterly gestures. In the early 2000s, Koether’s approach became increasingly involved with performance and music, culminating in inky black canvases and assemblage paintings incorporating devotional objects from punk and noise culture. The final chapter of the exhibition is dedicated to Koether’s eccentric turn to history painting and her latest appropriations from art history’s visual memory.


As a female artist, Jutta Koether's work is programmatic in its challenging of the male-dominated canon of art history. She reflects this history and adopts motifs from the work of other female artists, such as Giorgia O’Keeffe, Eva Hesse, or Louise Bourgeois. An example of this would be Koether's decision to make the color red the central focus of her art. According to the respective context, red stands for pain, shame, hysteria, intensity, aggression, provocation, make-up, desire, femininity. The bringing together of all the disparate work groups consequently permits an appreciation Koether’s oeuvre in terms of its historical significance: as an ambitious attempt to posit a counterhistory to the (male-dominated) canons of modern painting. The systematic and consistent nature of her oeuvre leaves us in no doubt that, above all else, Jutta Koether is one of the most important German painters in recent decades.


Museum Brandhorst will be hosting a talk between the artist and Kerstin Stakemeier, which will take place on 28 June at 7 pm.


On the final weekend of the exhibition on 19 and 20 October, in collaboration with the Münchner Kammerspiele and the Academy of Fine Arts Munich, Museum Brandhorst will be organizing a series of events, including lectures, performances, and concerts.


The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalog, which offers the first systematic engagement with Jutta Koether's art practice and presents her entire oeuvre from 1982 to her most recent works, made specially for the exhibition, in a comprehensive series of illustrations with approximately 230 color reproductions. It will be published in separate German and English editions. Internationally renowned art historians, Manuela Ammer, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Julia Gelshorn, Achim Hochdörfer, Branden W. Joseph, Tonio Kröner, Michael Sanchez, and Anne Wagner each illuminate one of the diverse work groups and phases in Koether's career (372 pages, approx. 270 illustr., Verlag Buchhandlung Walther König, German edition: ISBN 978-3-96098-359-0, English edition: 978-3-96098-360-6, bookstore price: €49.80).


The exhibition has been organized by Museum Brandhorst in conjunction with Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.


It was initiated and curated by Achim Hochdörfer and Tonio Kröner, assisted by Kirsten Storz. It will be shown at Museum Brandhorst from 18 May to 21 October 2018.


The presentation at Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean from 8 February to 12 May 2019 will be curated by Suzanne Cotter.