MoMA opens Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing. Editions by Dieter Roth

. February 17, 2013 . 0 Comments

MoMA presents Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing. Editions by Dieter Roth, an exhibition on view from February 17 to June 24, 2013.


Dieter Roth. Snow. 1964/69. Artist’s book of mixed mediums, with wood table and two wood chairs. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, 1998. © 2013 Estate of Dieter Roth

Presenting a comprehensive selection of prints, books, and multiples from the first half of the artist’s career, the exhibition offers a lens through which to examine not only Roth’s radical redefinition of these mediums but also his essential contributions to art in the 20th century. Drawing substantially from the extensive collections of both MoMA’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books and The Museum of Modern Art Library, the exhibition features nearly 160 works, and features several important new additions to the collection, including Roth’s seminal P.O.TH.A.A.VFB (Portrait of the artist as a Vogelfutterbüste [birdseed bust]) (1968), a self-portrait bust of the artist as an old man, cast in chocolate mixed with birdseed. Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing is organized by Sarah Suzuki, Associate Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books.

The work of Dieter Roth (Swiss, born Germany. 1930–1998) encompasses everything from painting and sculpture to film and video, but it is arguably through his editioned work—prints, books, and multiples—that he made his most radical contributions. These experiments include the use of organic materials in lieu of traditional mediums, including printed “pressings” and “squashing” of foodstuffs, book-sausages filled with ground paper in place of meat, and multiples of plastic toys mired in melted chocolate, as well as a dazzling array of variations on printed postcards. Taken together, they reveal a thorough reassessment of these formats, constituting an experimental body of work that calls into question the standard definitions of these staid, established mediums. The centerpiece of Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing is an expanded presentation of Snow (1964/69), an artist’s book by Roth in MoMA’s collection. It marks a turning point in Roth’s approach, away from the rigorous, abstract visual language of his early work and toward an embrace of chance, the everyday, and accumulation. Its pages reflect the mind of the artist at work and provide a trove of information about Roth’s creative process, plans for future works, literary and technical experiments, thoughts on artistic colleagues, and much more. The work is also a physical embodiment of Roth’s burgeoning interest in entropy and decay, and an inscription by Roth inside—“wait, later this will be nothing”—predicts the eventual outcome of not only the tome but also himself and his oeuvre. The current presentation of Snow is the first time since 1969 that the interior pages of the book have been publicly exhibited. www.moma.org

Category: Fine Art

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