Ludlow 38, New York
Mark von Schlegell
Hütte | Ludlow 38, Organized by Veit Laurent Kurz & Ben Schumacher09 April – 07 May 2017
Rather than a formal presentation of a group show, Hütti is an installation within which works of artists are included. Based on an original concept design by Veit Laurent Kurz and Ben Schumacher, the exhibition at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is an unofficial follow up to Huettendasein, a cardboard version of an Alpine hut that was built by the artists in the backyard of an apartment building in Brooklyn last May. While a typically rural dwelling, the hut has also come to symbolize existential retreat or a philosophical space, and in this respect becomes the contextual, as well as architectural, framework for an artist-curated exhibition of formal sensibilities and affinities.
Over 50 artworks have been gathered from an open invitation to an extended network of European and US-based artists as well as gallerists, musicians, and students. These works, however, are subsumed into the installation as a whole, and stripped of individual identification, in effect, illustrate a fiction as opposed to an overarching thematic. In this sense, the show serves as not only a haphazard setting in which disparate artworks are collected but potentially creates a mythopoeic characterization of an unknown figure—a person who might inhabit such a space—through them.
The installation itself is built into Ludlow 38’s already-designed exhibition space, humorously conflating the oft-used binary of the inside and outside through the motif of the hut – a quintessential feature of the German, Austrian and Swiss countryside surrounding the Alps. Understanding the creative freedom afforded by artist-curating, one could see Kurz and Schumacher’s installation in the vein of late Surrealist exhibitions that abandoned neutral spaces in favor of immersive environments. Yet if Hütti is thought of as a framing device, perhaps nowadays, it counters the generic exhibition-as-image that proliferates online, which has become an influential model for exhibition-making as well as contemporary art production.