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Art from Art and Media

Previous pictures in a new context – this is shown at the exhibition “About Pictures – Strategies of Acquirement” at Basel’s museum of contemporary art (MGK).

By Isabelle Wanner (translated to English by Martin Pütter)

The artists John Baldessari, Harun Farocki, Hilary Lloyd and Cindy Sherman all follow the same concept with their works of art: They take something from other paintings or pictures and set it into a new context. This is what Basel’s museum for contemporary art (MGK) is currently showing with the exhibition “About Pictures. Strategies of Acquirement”, curated by Søren Gammel.

Museums, popular culture or the mass media all serve as a point of origin to create something new. Thus the works tell something about previous pictures or paintings, but also about the context the paintings were originally taken from. On a technical level the artists use several methods of acquirement, predominantly with multimedia adaptations and alterations that can be transferred from one medium to another.

As an example, Farocki filmed the production of centrefold pictures by the magazine Playboy, or Sherman has produced a number of fictitious film stills that are a reminder of the cinema industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Numerous artists also use topics of the magazine culture as acquirement for their work – and are also active in it. For example, artist Hilary Lloyd was invited to shoot photos of a fashion feature for a magazine, thus placing her at the crossroads between fashion industry, magazine culture and visual arts. Pictures of this photographic series are presented at the exhibition as a slide show; as a consequence fine art acquires elements of popular culture.

Once already existing works are transformed into new ones, the question arises about authorship. The MGK dedicates its exhibition to the question of acquirement in an age of high technical reproducibility and to the authenticity of paintings, and it shows the visitor the fine line between popular culture and fine art.

Museum für Gegenwartskunst (link to English page)
About Pictures. Strategies of Acquirement
Until 24 January 2016
Entry free
St. Alban-Rheinweg 60
4010 Basel

Tue – Sun 10am – 6pm
Mondays closed

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