From abstract and interactive sculpture to furniture and collage, Franz West’s oeuvre possesses a character that is at once lighthearted and deeply philosophical. Belonging to a generation of artists exposed to the Actionist and Performance Art of the 1960s and 70s, West instinctively rejected the idea of a passive relationship between artwork and viewer. Opposed to the existential intensity requisite to his performative forebears (such as Actionism), he produced work that was vigorous and imposing yet unbounded and buoyant. In the seventies, he began creating compact, portable, mixed media sculptures called “Adaptives” (“Passstücke”). These “ergonomically inclined” objects were actualized as artworks only when touched, held, worn, carried, or otherwise physically or cognitively engaged. Transposing the concepts engendered by these formative works, he explored sculpture increasingly through the framework of the ongoing dialogue between viewers and objects, while probing the internal aesthetic relations between sculpture and painting. Manipulating everyday materials and imagery in order to examine art’s relation to social experience, West revolutionized the interplay of concealment and exposure, action and reaction, both in and outside the gallery.
Franz West was born in 1947 in Vienna, and died in 2012 in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Applied Arts from 1977 to 1982. His work has been a fixture in countless international survey exhibitions all over the world. Recent exhibitions include “Burning,” Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille (2002); “Franzwestite: Franz West—Works 1973–2003,” Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2003); “We’ll Not Carry Coals,” Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2003); “Recent Sculptures,” Lincoln Center and Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York (2004); Vancouver Art Gallery (2005); “Les Pommes d’Adam,” Place Vendôme, Paris (2007, traveled to Hall Art Foundation at MASS MoCA - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in 2014); “Sit on My Chair, Lay on My Bed,” Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK), Vienna (2008); “To Build A House You Start with the Roof: Work, 1972–2008,” Baltimore Museum of Art (2008, traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art through 2009); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2009); “White Elephant,” Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2009); “Auto-Theatre,” Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2010, traveled to Museo d‘Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples; and Universalmuseum Joanneum, Austria, through 2011); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2012); and “Franz West: Where is my Eight?” Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (mumok), Vienna (2013, traveled to Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt; and The Hepworth Wakefield, England, through 2014). Public collections including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London; Albertina, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Museum of Modern Art, New York. He was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 54th Biennale di Venezia in 2011.
A major retrospective of his work will open at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in fall of 2018, which will then travel to the Tate Modern, London, the following year.
Art Basel 2019
June 13–16, 2019, booth C9
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Urs Fischer, Ellen Gallagher, Alberto Giacometti, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Man Ray, Albert Oehlen, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West, among others.
Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons
January 31–February 3, 2019, booth B19
Gagosian is pleased to participate in artgenève 2019, with modern and contemporary artworks by Georg Baselitz, Chris Burden, Urs Fischer, Romuald Hazoumè, Damien Hirst, Sally Mann, Olivier Mosset, Steven Parrino, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, Spencer Sweeney, Mark Tansey, Tatiana Trouvé, Tom Wesselmann, Franz West, and others.
To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at email@example.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artgeneve.ch. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.
Damien Hirst, Truffle, 2016 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2018
Mike Kelley and Franz West
To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix)
October 13, October 20, and November 21, 2018, 9pm
Centre Pompidou, Paris
To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix) (1999) is an experimental theater piece by artists Mike Kelley and Franz West. On the occasion of West’s retrospective at Centre Pompidou, director Fanny de Chaillé presents a reenactment of this work—a dialogue in which the artists reflect on the development of their practices within the avant-garde scenes of Los Angeles and Vienna since the 1970s—within West’s installation Auditorium (1992). The event is free with museum admission.
Mike Kelley and Franz West’s poster design for performance of To Be Read Aloud (À haute voix) (1999). Artwork © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All rights reserved/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; and © Archiv Franz West
The Paradox of Stillness
Art, Object, and Performance
Opening May 15, 2021
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Featuring works from the early twentieth century to today, The Paradox of Stillness examines the notion of stillness as both a performative and a visual gesture. More than sixty-five artists present object-based art, pictures, and actions staged by live performers to test the boundaries between stillness and motion, mortality and aliveness, and the still life and the living picture. Work by Urs Fischer, Piero Manzoni, Cindy Sherman, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West is included.
Urs Fischer, Untitled, 2003 © Urs Fischer
Works from the Brant Foundation
November 13, 2019–September 3, 2020
Brant Foundation, New York
Bringing together more than twenty artists integral to the Brant Foundation’s collection, this exhibition offers a glimpse into the multifaceted practices of artists whose work Peter M. Brant has collected over the past fifty years. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Urs Fischer, Mike Kelley, Adam McEwen, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, and Franz West is included.
Installation view, Third Dimension: Works from the Brant Foundation, Brant Foundation, New York, November 13, 2019–September 3, 2020. Artwork, front to back: © Urs Fischer, © Dan Flavin
February 20–June 2, 2019
Tate Modern, London
Tate Modern presents a retrospective on the work of Franz West, with almost two hundred artworks West made between 1972 and 2012. The show includes his rarely exhibited drawings from the early 1970s as well as his first sculptures, Passstücke, begun in 1973, alongside a selection of the papier-mâché sculptures of the 1980s, and West’s celebrated collaborations with fellow artists. The exhibition also features the collages and drawings of his later years, as well as models for open-air works and a selection of such sculptures, in addition to his furniture works. This extensive presentation highlights not only the artist’s outstanding capacity for formal invention, but also his irreverent and caustic sensibility. This exhibition has traveled from the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Franz West, Herbert Brandl, Otto Zitko, and Heimo Zobernig, Untitled, 1988 © Estate Franz West © Archiv Franz West. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
September 12–December 10, 2018
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Centre Pompidou presents a retrospective on the work of Franz West, with almost two hundred artworks made between 1972 and 2012. The show includes his rarely exhibited drawings from the early 1970s as well as his first sculptures, Passstücke, begun in 1973–74, alongside a selection of the papier-mâché sculptures of the 1980s, and West’s celebrated collaborations with fellow artists. The exhibition also features the collages and drawings of his later years, as well as models for open-air works and a selection of such sculptures, in addition to his furniture works. This extensive presentation highlights not only the artist’s outstanding capacity for formal invention, but also his irreverent and caustic sensibility.
Franz West’s Lemurenköpfe (Lemur Heads) (1992) in his studio, Vienna, 1992. Artwork © Archiv Franz West. Photo: Harald Schönfellinger