Edited by Glenn Phillips and Philipp KaiserWith Doris Chon and Pietro Rigolo
Widely regarded as the most influential curator of the second half of the twentieth century, Harald Szeemann (1933–2005) is associated with some of the most important artistic developments of the postwar era. A passionate advocate for avant-garde movements like Conceptualism and Postminimalism, he collaborated with artists such as Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, and Cy Twombly, developing new ways of presenting art that reflected his sweeping vision of contemporary culture.
Szeemann once stated that his goal as an exhibition maker was to create a “Museum of Obsessions.” This richly illustrated volume is a virtual collection catalogue for that imaginary institution, tracing the evolution of his curatorial method through letters, drawings, personal datebooks, installation plans, artists’ books, posters, photographs, and handwritten notes. This book documents all phases of Szeemann’s career, from his early stint as director of the Kunsthalle Bern, where he organized the seminal Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969); to documenta 5 (1972) and the intensely personal exhibition he staged in his own apartment using the belongings of his hairdresser grandfather (1974); to his reinvention as a freelance curator who realized projects on wide-ranging themes until his death in 2005.
The book contains essays exploring Szeemann’s curatorial approach as well as interviews with collaborators. Its more than 350 illustrations include previously unpublished installation photographs and documents as well as archival materials.
This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center February 6 to May 6, 2018 (a satellite show will be at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles February 4 to April 22, 2018); at the Kunsthalle Bern in Bern, Switzerland, June to September 2018; at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany October 2018 to January 2019; and at the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rivoli in Turin, Italy, February to May 2019.
Glenn Phillips is curator and head of modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute. Philipp Kaiser is an independent curator based in Los Angeles. Doris Chon is a research specialist at the Getty Research Institute, where Pietro Rigolo is a special collections archivist.
“[This] hefty catalog, a yeoman’s task to assemble given the volume of material from which to choose, is excellent.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Replete with installation photography and more ephemera than you could fit into three lifetimes, this book does justice to a figure who expanded the field of curating to be a limitless means through which to re-envision what we consider art.”
9 1/2 x 12 inches
240 color and 122 b/w illustrations
Imprint: Getty Research Institute