Tagging art in Herford 
MARTa , now that was a strange museum. After arriving there on Friday last for an interview with Cai Guo-Qiang there was an opening on Saturday with a lot of energy. The museum itself is initiated of the kitchen and furniture industry in Herford. They wanted a schaufenster for their collection and for their…furniture (the Name stands for Möbel (German for furniture) ART, and a stands for ambient). They contacted Frank Gerry and then Jan Hoet – the latter one going into retirement after opening the SMAK in Ghent. And he came – saw – and got a heart attack.

319 works of art and more than 180 artist (as far as I could tell from the catalogue) – many contemporary makes this to a rather large art happening for a city of 65.000 inhabitants. So on the opening day; first came the demonstrants – being against the new unemployment- reform of the German state, against one of the ministers (Clement, former minister of this county) and MARTa… there where quite a lot of them occupying the whole street in front of the museum. When they where gone came the visitors, blocking the whole street. All with umbrellas due to rain. And mid amongst them the work of Paolo Chiasera, a statue of Tupac Shakur placed on a pedestal five metres above the mob. Looking great. Then the was the performances.

The exhibition itself is rather good, consisting of many works a lot of them being classics. Unfortunately they are ordered rather good (thorsos over here – holes, that being vaginas or wunds, over here etc.). Anyway. Amanda Coogan sat on a couch for I do not know how many hours looking very painterly. A lovely living painting in her long blue dress. At the same time Lotte Lindner was laying behind Gavin Turks rather boring Che statue (in a t-shirt and jeans on a concrete floor – very cold I can assure) on her back with a lot of potato chips on her head, the bags of spread around her head. It looked great – and one of the other artists commented that it look like the world greatest rock concert and somebody died and in honour all the other present spilled their chips over the deceased’s head like a homage to both the concert and the reaction to it.

MARTa is preformative in its expression of architecture but one cannot move any walls – no matter how curved they are there is no chance in the world to change the rather static and square exhibition rooms. Till Steinbrenner – another performance artist shot a whole in the wall, in the concert hall. We where all waiting for it. We where in there to see it, and still we was taken by surprise as he shot. I was seated up front – expecting him to do this rather sacral and with pathos, going all the way up front. I was sort of hoping for him to shoot the grand standing there – and fantasying of him collaborating with Cai on blowing the grand up with firecrackers. And then I jumped. Till had entered the room (he is about 210cm tall) and shot his bullet into the wall in the middle of the room and was gone before I could react. Just like an assassination in public spaces. There where no real chaos but a lot of confusion.

Talking about confusion. Cai had a project for the opening – blowing up a car with fire works. The only thing was that no one wanted to take responsibility for the security and neither him nor his assistant understood German. The problem where the mob outside. The securities need much more people and a good deal of time. Cai came up with the brilliant idea of just using six guards with a security rope between them giving the car its needed 7 meters distance to spectators. “Oh, that’s a great Idea” the head of security said when he heard about it. So of the car went with a load and many firecrackers and at the entrance there was a series of really loud, colour full and bright explosions. That more or less marked the end of the opening and the party ha begun, a lot of people being very drunk.


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