Superstars – The Celebrity Factor. From Warhol to Madonna
3 November 2005 – 22 February 2006
Two institutions – one exhibition
The exhibition takes place in the KUNSTHALLE wien and the BA-CA Kunstforum
Daily 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–9 p.m. (Kunsthalle Wien: Thursday 10.a.m. – 10.p.m.)
Press conference: Thursday, 3rd November 2005
9.30 a.m.: KUNSTHALLE WIEN | 10.15 a.m.: BA-CA Kunstforum – (transfer via shuttle)
Opening: Tuesday 3rd November 2005, 7 p.m.
I don’t know who you are, But you must be some kind of superstar, Coz you got all eyes on you no matter where you are. (Superstar, Jamelia)
Since the 1980s the media have been dropping the name “superstar”, whenever they refer to a particular brand of fame possessing global significance and universal appeal. No longer the exclusive preserve of celebrities from the fields of film, fashion and music, the expression is also applied to artists such as Jeff Koons or Andy Warhol, who also proved themselves to be skilful PR strategists in their own right.
As far back as the Renaissance, there have been artists who could easily correspond to the label of ‘stars’ in the contemporary sense, such as the painter-princes Rembrandt, Michelangelo or Titian. However it was in the 20th Century that the media was first able to extend its tentacles around the world to guarantee celebrity on a global scale.
Departing from the figure of Andy Warhol, the ‘Superstars’ exhibition sets out to explore both the phenomenon of artists as stars (Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Markus Lüpertz, etc.), as well as the way in which images of media celebrities can serve as visual raw material. To a considerable extent, the careers of artists such as Elizabeth Peyton or Jeff Koons can be traced back to an aesthetic recycling of images that were already circulating in the public space of popular perception. Additionally, ‘Superstars’ also features the ‘Bad Boys and Bad Girls’ – artists such as Jonathan Meese or Tracy Emin who have gained notoriety by using shock effects and provocative inversions of images of stars to eventually end up as celebrities themselves. The celebrity principle also holds true for industrial products. Nike, McDonalds, Marlboro and Coca Cola have all been transformed into global emblems, mostly by dint of their association with sports and entertainment personalities, whose appeal fans the fires of consumer passions. Artists such as Tom Sachs, Marc Bijl, Richard Prince and Sylvie Fleury employ critical approaches to brand fetishism and the erotics of consumption. Rodney Graham and Adrian Tranquili show the reality lurking behind inflated, idealised images, while Cindy Sherman and Dennis Oppenheim present idols as elements in a mechanical process.
Special areas are dedicated to ‘old stars’ such as Marilyn Monroe (the most famous actress of all time) and the Mona Lisa (the most famous painting in the history of art) and the way they are perceived in art. Furthermore the fascination that global heroes of the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson exercise on artists is illustrated in works by Paul McCarthy, Slater Bradley and others.
Superstars are the most visible representatives of our media driven contemporary society. The aim of the exhibition is to depict the splendours and sorrows of a world that is increasingly metamorphosing into an “artificial paradise”.
Curators: BA-CA Kunstforum Wien, KUNSTHALLE WIEN, Ingried Brugger, Gerald Matt, Heike Eipeldauer, Thomas Mießgang, Florian Steininger
Architects of the exhibition: HOLODECK.at breuss ogertschnig