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Hanne Darboven: Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983

November 5, 2016–July 29, 2017, Dia Chelsea



Dia presents Hanne Darboven’s Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983 (Cultural History 1880–1983, 1980–83) at Dia:Chelsea at 545 West 22nd Street in New York City.  The presentation offers audiences the opportunity to experience this important work from Dia’s permanent collection, which has not been on view in the United States for over a decade.

Cultural History 1880–1983 features 1,590 framed works on paper and 19 sculptural objects. The framed works on paper include photographs of doorways, daily newsmagazine covers, images of cameras and Hollywood celebrities, touristic postcards, the contents of an exhibition catalogue on postwar art, and documentation of prior installations of the work. The specificity of the materials chosen embodies a blending of the personal and the public, telling the story of society at large, while also presenting an autobiography of Darboven herself. From the covers of Der Spiegel with their emphasis on war and brutality, to the racial overtones seen in the slave figures and rainmaker sculptures, to the postcards presenting a bucolic and pastoral prewar Germany, there is a narrative of trauma and recovery that runs throughout Darboven’s work. For the viewer, Cultural History 1880–1983 can be an all-encompassing and overwhelming experience, physically impossible to take in at once. It is the magnum opus of an artist whose work remains lesser known than her Minimalist and Conceptual peers, particularly so within the United States. 

Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983 (Cultural History 1880–1983) is made possible by generous support from Frances Bowes, Jane and Roger Goodell, Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg, Karyn Kohl, and Brenda R. Potter. Additional support is provided Beth Rudin DeWoody and Sprüth Magers.

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In conjunction with the installation of Hanne Darboven’s Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983 (Cultural History 1880–1983, 1980–83), Dia Art Foundation presents four performances of Darboven’s musical compositions for double bass. Completed in 1984, Wunschkonzert is both a large-scale visual installation and a four-part musical score for double bass, featuring Opus 17A, Opus 17B, Opus 18A, and Opus 18B. Opus 17A was first presented at the 1996 opening of Cultural History 1880–1983 at Dia Center for the Arts. In addition to Opus 17A, Robert Black, who performed the work in 1996, performs the three companion pieces—Opus 17B, Opus 18A, and Opus 18B. All four concerts take place within the installation at Dia:Chelsea to allow visitors to experience a live performance of Darboven’s musical work within the all-encompassing visual impact of her installation located at 545 West 22nd Street in New York City. 

Concert Schedule

Opus 17A
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 3 pm

Opus 17B
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 3 pm

Opus 18A
Saturday, June 3, 2017, 3 pm

Opus 18B
Saturday, July 29, 2017, 3 pm



Hanne Darboven

Hanne Darboven was born in Munich, Germany, in 1941. She died in Hamburg, Germany, in 2009.

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Artists on Hanne Darboven

Artists on Hanne Darboven is the first installment in a series culled from Dia Art Foundation’s Artists on Artists lectures, focused on German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven. It features contributions from Gregg Bordowitz, Sam Lewitt, Josephine Meckseper, and Matt Mullican.

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Photo: Don Stahl

Hanne Darboven: Opus 17A (audio CD)

Hanne Darboven's Opus 17A is a work for double bass that the artist composed immediately after finishing Kulturgeschichte 1880–1983, 1980–83. It was first performed at the opening of Darboven's exhibition at Dia on Wednesday, May 1, 1996.

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