Ten years after the peak of the global financial crisis in 2008, which profoundly shook the economic systems of America and Europe and had a lasting effect on present-day life, this topical exhibition is the first to illustrate the economy’s dramatic influence on art and to make global comparisons, demonstrating these in an analysis of two separate eras. Economic phenomena in the classical modernism of the 1920s and 30s are not only explored by focusing on art from the German Weimar Republic, the Soviet Union, and the United States, but also juxtaposed with artists of the present day.

Curatorial team: Dr. Eckhart Gillen (Berlin), Dr. Ulrike Lorenz, Dr. Sebastian Baden
Project Lead: Dr. Inge Herold, Assistence: Lisa Valentina Riedel, M. A. mult., Elisabeth Bohnet, M.A.

Part 2 of "Construction of the World. Art and Economy - 2008-2018" is extended until 03.03.2019.

The exhibition is supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (main sponsor), BASF SE (main sponsor), H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, Stiftung Kunsthalle Mannheim, VR Bank Rhein-Neckar eG, City of Mannheim, Innovationsfonds Kunst des Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg. Handelsblatt is media partner of the exhibition.

Artists participating 2008-2018

Maja Bajevic - BBM (Observers of Operators of Machines) - Bureau d'Études - Claire Fontaine - Jacques Coetzer - Abraham Cruzvillegas - Szilárd Cseke - Chto Delat - Jeremy Deller - Simon Denny - Tatjana Doll - Harun Farocki & Antje Ehmann - Thierry Geoffroy - Andreas Gursky - Thomas Hirschhorn - Olaf Holzapfel - Sanja Iveković - Charles Lim Yi Yong - Maha Maamoun - José Antonio Vega Macotela - Tobias Rehberger - Oliver Ressler & Dario Azzellini - Mika Rottenberg - Superflex - Zefrey Throwell - Volume V - Maya Zack - Artur Żmijewski

Artists participating 1919-1939

Berenice Abbott - Gerd Arntz - Lester Thomas Beall - Thomas Hart Benton - George Biddle - John Biggers - Peter Blume - Margaret Bourke-White - Jacob Burck - Clarence Holbrook Carter - Charlie Chaplin - Ottilie Cieluszek - Ralston Crawford - Francis Hyman Criss - Stuart Davis - Alexander A. Deineka - Rudolf Dischinger - Otto Dix - Nikolaj A. Dolgorukow - Arthur Durston - Sergej M. Eisenstein - Fred Ellis - Walker Evans - Philip Evergood - Conrad Felixmüller - Hans Finsler - Max Gebhard - Hugo Gellert - John R. Grabach - Otto Griebel - William Gropper - Carl Grossberg - George Grosz - Hans Grundig - Kurt Günther - O. Louis Guglielmi - John Heartfield - Werner Heldt - Karl Hubbuch - Eric Johansson - Joe Jones - Grethe Jürgens - William Karp - Lewis W. Hine - Hannah Höch - Heinrich Hoerle - Edward Hopper - Hermann Otto Hoyer - Edward McKnight Kauffer - Gerhard Keil - Gustavs Klucis - Käthe Kollwitz - Pawel D. Korin - Valentina N. Kulagina - Wilhelm Lachnit - Fritz Lang - Wladimir W. Lebedew - Jack Levine - El Lissitzky - Arkadi Lobanow - Louis Lozowick - Sergej A. Lutschischkin - Reginald Marsh - Carl Mayer - László Moholy-Nagy - Dimitri Moor - Reinhold Nägele - Otto Nagel - Alice Neel - Oskar Nerlinger -Solomon B. Nikritin - Alice Lex-Nerlinger - Gerta Overbeck - Werner Peiner - Kusma S. Petrow-Wodkin - Juri I. Pimeno w - Natalia Pinus - Michail M. Plaksin - Jackson Pollock - Curt Querner - Climent N. Redko - Albert Renger-Patzsch - Serafima V. Rjangina - Alexander Rodtschenk o - Theodore Roszak - Walter Ruttmann - Leni Riefens tahl - Nikolaus Sagrekov - Alexander N. Samochwalow - Paul Sample - August Sander - Arkadi S. Schaichet - Rudolf Schlichter - Wilhelm Schnarrenberger - Georg Scholz - Franz Wilhelm Seiwert - Ben Shahn - Charles Sheeler - Georgi und Wladimir A. Stenberg - Warwara Stepanowa - Paul Strand - Miklos Suba - Ernst Thoms - Alexander G. Tyschler - Bumpei Usui - Konstantin A. Vialov - Karl Völker - Wladimir A. Wassiljew - Dsiga Wertow - Piotr W. Wiljams - Grant Wood - Gustav Wunderwald - Ekaterina S. Zernova - Heinrich Zille

AICA Symposium on Art Criticism - As part of the exhibition Constructing the World: Art and Economy
November 10, 2018, Kunsthalle Mannheim

“Art Criticism and Web Culture: Reports from the Field”
A conference organized by the art criticism association AICA Germany (Association International de Critique d’Art)—hosted by the Kunsthalle Mannheim
Initiator: Sabine Maria Schmidt, vice president of AICA Germany

What influence have digitalization and social media had on media coverage of culture and art in recent years—and what role does the media play in this?

The AICA Germany symposium explores new opportunities and challenges for journalistic coverage of culture and art, the different ways medial formats (both current and present) function, new internet terminology and indexing terms, the emergence of both shared and conflicting interests, and the future of corporate publishing. Art criticism creates a space to develop aesthetic assessment criteria and a place for a liberated and independent discussion. It stands and has always stood in a shifting relationship to the art market, which creates a demand for artistic expertise beyond the monetary value of art.

What role does written text play when seen vis-à-vis the growing significance placed on image-based representation? How does its influence shift as a result of the group dynamics created by social media channels and comments from influencers? What is the future of art criticism? How can it be financed? The bulk of symposium contributions are from AICA members. They will be supplemented by short topic papers and remarks for discussion from other members.


9 a.m.

Sebastian Baden, curator, Kunsthalle Mannheim
Danièle Perrier (president of AICA Germany)

START UP performance by Thierry Geoffroy

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Sabine Maria Schmidt

Followers for Everyone! Or: It’s strange to work alone...
Introduction Thomas Wagner

Art Criticism in Tribal Culture—Online Spaces, Content Management, Feedback and the Hedgehog’s Strategy

Working as an art critic today is not easy. What happened to those dreams of being able to act differently and more freely in the online world? What is the significance of the fact that publishers are always demanding up-to-date content? Will art criticism remain relevant, or will it mutate into mere marketing? Is it simply not strategic enough?

Barbara Hess
On the Value of Criticism in the (Digital) Online World

“Art today is distributed in a network of communications,” noted the art critic and curator Lawrence Alloway back in 1972. What prospects does art criticism have in the present world of the (digital) net, in which the idea and practice of criticism themselves appear to have entered a state of crisis, as described by the French social scientists Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello in Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus (2003, The New Spirit of Capitalism)?

12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. (Lunch break)

1 p.m.—3 p.m.
Annekathrin Kohout

Art Criticism and Social Media
Social media has given rise to both a new culture of debate and new expectations of art and its criticism. Rankings and “likes” make an art criticism that bases its judgments on shared artistic criteria appear superfluous. This is often romanticized as having finally created a space in which artists can once more act independently, in which culture is democratized and gatekeepers must relinquish their monopoly on power. But social media, in which mysterious algorithms determine what appears on a feed, social media influencers select according to their own (newly invented) criteria, and “likes” rigorously obey social factors, have created new power structures—which we can eschew or support.

Johannes Bendzulla

Art Criticism as Metacriticism - Observations on the State of Online Criticism

Political and moral arguments are being brought to the table more and more often when art is evaluated. Breaking boundaries has long been considered a classic artistic strategy, one which takes its meaning from an assumption that one enjoys total artistic freedom. Yet increasingly, this paradigm is being called into question. Who are the actors in this discussion and what assumptions do they base their argumentation on? How can the debate be sited within the political maelstrom of what can be described as the crisis of liberal democracies in the Western tradition? And finally—what is there to win and what is at stake?

About the Participants:

Johannes Bendzulla studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Since 2012, the artist and photographer has also written an online press review on contemporary art that appears on donnerstag-blog.de (in cooperation with Steffen Zillig) and art-magazin.de. He lives and works in Düsseldorf. (www.johannesbendzulla.net)

Barbara Hess studied art history and Romance studies in Cologne and Florence, completing a PhD on the origins of the documenta and the founding of the Cologne art fair. Since the late 1990s, she has contributed to numerous publications including Camera Austria, Flash Art, Kunst-Bulletin, Metropolis M, Sediment—Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Kunsthandels and Texte zur Kunst. She works in Cologne as an author and translator.

Annekathrin Kohout is a journalist and a cultural studies scholar. She is the publisher and editor of the magazine POP. Kultur und Kritik and a researcher at the department of philosophy at the University of Siegen. She also works as a freelance author and writes about internet phenomena, pop culture, photography and art on her blog sofrischsogut.com.

Sabine Maria Schmidt is an art historian, curator and author. Since the mid-1990s, she has consistently published on twentieth and twenty-first century art, with a focus on art in public spaces, photography, film, video and media art in Kunstforum International, Artist Kunstmagazin, Springerin, Kunst-Bulletin, Foam and elsewhere. Since 2017, she has volunteered on the board of AICA Germany. (www.sabinemariaschmidt.com)

Thomas Wagner studied German and philosophy. From 1991 to 2007, he edited the features section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.). From 2008 to 2017, he established an online magazine on design, architecture and art for Stylepark AG, while also contributing to the art magazine art, Die Welt, and other publications. Today he works as a freelance author and editor for the magazine designreport. He is also an honorary professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg, and the author of numerous texts on art, design and architecture.

Thierry Geoffroy, known as Colonel, lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin. He has tirelessly covered prominent exhibitions as a norm-challenging “biennalist” since 1989, using the tent as a symbolic and dramatic surface. He is the creator of several art exhibition formats including Emergency Room, Critical Run and Penetrations. Together with Tijana Mišković, he cofounded the Copenhagen Ultracontemporary Biennale (CUB). He is also a participant in the exhibition Constructing the World at the Kunsthalle Mannheim. (http://www.colonel.dk)


Kunsthalle Mannheim, Ulrike Lorenz, Eckhart J. Gillen (Ed.): Constructing the World. Art and Economy 1919-1939, paperback with flaps, 24 x 28 cm, 400 pages, German or English, with texts by Helen Adkins, Elmar Altvater, Makeda Best, Daniel Bulatov, Hiltrud Thomas Flierl, Eckhart Gillen, Larne Abse Gogarty, Hans Günther, Karoline Hille, Lynette Roth, Hans Dieter Schäfer, Ute Schmidt, Bernhard Schulz, Zelfira Tregulova/ Faina Balakhovskaya, Otto Karl Werckmeister; Price in bookstores: 58 Euro, in the museum shop: 39 Euro, ISBN 978-3-89165-233-6 (German and English edition) and English edition).

Kunsthalle Mannheim, Sebastian Baden, Ulrike Lorenz (Ed.): Constructing the World. Art and Economy 2008-2018 - German/English, paperback, 24 x 28 cm, 192 pages, German and English, with texts by Sebastian Baden, Paco Barragán, Alexander Bauer, Johan Hartle, Onur Nobrega, Berit Sandberg. Price in bookshops: 40 Euro, in museum shops: 29 Euro, ISBN 978-3-7356-0459-0.

Special price for both catalogues in the museum shop: 55 Euro.

All catalogs are available in the museum Shop (Tel. 0621 432 92670, shop.km@museumswelt.eu) or by Mail: katalogbestellung@kuma.art.

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