What a perfect ending for Art Ride 2007. As the curators note, Münster has become an “open-air museum for contemporary sculpture in public space”. A “museum” that encourages the viewers to tour the exhibition … by bicycle!
Ran into Natalie Kovacs (curator-artist-consultant and Art Ride paparazzi) who accompanied me on the tour and helped record the experience. Over coffee we reviewed the locations of the various artworks and mapped-out a bike tour. It was quite a scavenger hunt within the old city centre especially since we were vying for space on small cobblestone roads and walkways with tourists and city dwellers. We did end up catching a glimpse of public installations by Andreas Siekmann, Deimantas Narkevicius, Gustav Metzger, Marko Lehaka, Silke Wagner, Isa Genzken, Hans-Peter Feldman, Nairy Baghramian and Michael Asher.
We got to hang-out with the some real animals in Mike Kelley’s Petting Zoo. Further along our route we hop on bikes of another kind … stationary bikes … that power the video screens on which we see Guy Ben-Ner’s film “I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it”. You can make it as short or as long as you’d like depending on how fast you pedal. We meander Lake Aa where we see Rosemarie Trockel’s sculpture made of Yew bushes. We listen to Susan Philipsz’s sound sculpture. Then back along the bike route around the lake to view a few remnants of Skulptur Projektes past … permanently installed sculptures by Jorge Pardo and Ilya Kabakov (both from 1997) and Donald Judd and Claes Oldenburg from 1977.
We cycled through Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s sculputre garden Roman de Münster. A theme park of 1:4 scale replicas of sculptures she selected from previous installments of the Skulpur Projekte. And on our way back to the city centre, we stop to see Dan Graham’s Oktogon für Münster (from 1987). It’s a beautifully subtle work installed in the Schlossgarten.
Just when we thought our tour was over, having returned the bike Natalie had rented, we stumble on Thomas Schutte’s Modell fùr ein Museum (Model for a Mueum) which essentially consists of a glass structure placed over a fountain erected by the Chamber of Commerce in the exact spot of his 1987 sculptural contribution, Kierschensäule. Interesting how the artist was able to reclaim his previous space, incorporating the fountain into a new work that is essentially a concept maquette for a museum structure that may never be realized. A striking critique on the fragility of this ‘open-air museum’, or the relationship of public art and its host communities.
There were some strong works, and some that are not so successful, yet there was a sensitivity and consideration by all the participating artists to the chosen locales creating an overall experience that was engaging, enjoyable, fun even, that it was well worth the (Art Ride) tour.