Franz Erhard Walther

Franz Erhard Walther, Work as Action

October 2, 2010 - February 13, 2012

<p>Franz Erhard Walther, <i>Kopf Leib Glieder</i>, 1967. "Franz Erhard Walther: Work <br>as Action," Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, Beacon, NY. October 2, <br>2010–February 13, 2012. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, NY. Photo: Paula Court.</p>

Franz Erhard Walther, Kopf Leib Glieder, 1967. "Franz Erhard Walther: Work
as Action," Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, Beacon, NY. October 2,
2010–February 13, 2012. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, NY. Photo: Paula Court.


This presentation of works by Franz Erhard Walther will feature a selection of Handlungsstücke (Action Pieces) from the early 1960s, including the complete presentation of 1. Werksatz (First Work Set), 1963–69, from Dia's collection. Acquired in 1978, 1. Werksatz comprises fifty-eight fabric elements, or “instruments,” meant to be activated by visitors to the museum, drawing attention to the body as material form.


Artist Biography

Franz Erhard Walther was born in 1939 in Fulda, Germany. In 1957, he enrolled in the Werkkunstschule Offenbach, where he first exhibited his work. In 1959 he transferred to the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main (Städelschule), studying there until his expulsion in 1961. From 1962 to 1964, Walther attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he became acquainted with Joseph Beuys and befriended fellow students Gerhard Richter, Imi Knoebel, and Blinky Palermo. Walther remained in Düsseldorf until 1967, when he moved to New York, residing there until 1973. Since then, Walther has exhibited extensively worldwide. He demonstrated 1. Werksatz in a four-month presentation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1969 and 1970, and his work was included in the landmark 1969 exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form” at Kunsthalle Bern. He participated in Documentas 5 (1972), 6 (1977), 7 (1982), and 8 (1987), and has had solo shows at Secession, Vienna (1989); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1993); and FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France (1999). Walther’s work is on permanent view at the Hamburger Kunsthalle; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; and Mamco, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, where a major retrospective of his work was mounted in 2010. He was a full professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg from 1971 until 2009, where he taught Martin Kippenberger, John Bock, Jonathan Meese, among others. Dia’s exhibition marks Walther’s first solo museum show in the United States since 1990.

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