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Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress

March 8–September 9, 2019, Dia Beacon


Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress, the first North American retrospective dedicated to the German artist, opens this spring at Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York. The exhibition traces the evolution of Posenenske’s practice from early experiments with mark making, to transitional aluminum wall reliefs, to industrially fabricated modular sculptures, which are produced in unlimited series and assembled or arranged by consumers at will.

Posenenske exhibited widely during the years that she was active as an artist, alongside peers such as Hanne Darboven, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt, with whom she shared an interest in seriality. However, her work is distinguished by its radically open-ended nature. Embracing reductive geometry, repetition, and industrial fabrication, she developed a form of mass-produced Minimalism that addressed the pressing socioeconomic concerns of the decade by circumventing the art market and rejecting established formal and cultural hierarchies. Posenenske used permutation and contingency as playful conceptual devices to oppose compositional hierarchy and invite the collaborative engagement of the public in the continual reconfiguration of her variable sculptures.

The exhibition is on view at Dia:Beacon from March 8 to September 9, 2019, before traveling to Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (October 18, 2019–March 8, 2020), Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf (April 4–August 2, 2020), and Mudam Luxembourg—Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (October 2, 2020–January 10, 2021). 

Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress is made possible by major support from Brenda R. Potter. Significant support is provided by the Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, VIA Art Fund, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Straus Family Fund.

Major support for the publication is provided by Brenda R. Potter. Generous support is provided by Berta Fischer and Konrad Fischer Galerie, and Peter Freeman, Inc., New York/Paris. Additional support by Mehdi Chouakri Gallery, Berlin.


Event Details
Fridays, May 31–June 21, 2019, 6 pm

3 Beekman Street
Beacon, New York
In conjunction with the exhibition Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress, Dia presents a month of open discussions at Dia:Beacon, which take Posenenske's work as a point of departure. These Beacon-based evenings invite participants to contribute to a sustained conversation about the labor of making and the spaces in which this unfolds with artists, scholars, and activists from the region. Each of the four participatory sessions will address one of the central themes of Posenenske's work: form, labor, space, and play.
Held in the galleries, each session is free and open to the public. These evenings will allow for private viewings of the exhibition with the curators and session leaders while the museum is closed.
Space limited; reservations are required. Resources related to the evening discussions will be available to registered participants in advance of each session.
Friday, May 31, 2019, 6 pm
Led by artists Rey Akdogan and Alan Ruiz, both of whom have, in their own practices, engaged with Posenenske's modular sculpture, this session invites discussion about questions of form as they pertain to this radical work.
Friday, June 7, 2019, 6 pm
This conversation with sociologist and labor scholar Stephanie Luce and activist Sandra Oxford will focus on labor activism in the Hudson Valley today.
Friday, June 14, 2019, 6 pm
Led by architect Diana Mangaser, this workshop will explore how Posenenske's work creates spaces of imaginative thinking and is shaped by its situational environment.
Friday, June 21, 2019, 6 pm
Steve Seidel, director of the Arts in Education program at Harvard University, will lead a discussion about the ways in which we cultivate spaces of play in contemporary society.

About the session leaders
Rey Akdogan is a German-born artist based in New York City. By employing materials ubiquitous in our environment, Akdogan resignifies and subverts their use value. Her interest in standards as the anonymous-yet-familiar infrastructure of our everyday signals her conceptual proximity to Charlotte Posenenske. In 2013 the artist stripped the tile floor of her Lower East Side gallery of its tiling before installing a configuration of Posenenske’s Vierkantrohre Serie D (Square Tubes Series D, 1967– ). Akdogan completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2004 after receiving her MA in 2001 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Recent one-person exhibitions of her work have been shown at Hannah Hoffman Gallery in Los Angeles (2017), Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York City (2017), Radio Athènes in Athens (2016), and MoMA PS1 in New York City (2012). 
Alan Ruiz is an artist and writer based in New York City, whose work explores the ways space is produced as both material and ideology. He received an MFA from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York. His work has been shown at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Kitchen, Queens Museum, and Storefront for Art and Architecture, among other New York institutions. He has been an artist-in-residence at Abrons Arts Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Whitney Museum of Art's Youth Insights program, and his writing has been featured in BOMB Magazine, Millennium Film Journal, and Women & Performance, among others. Ruiz teaches at Pratt Institute and the New School in New York.
Stephanie Luce is a professor of labor studies and sociology at City University of New York. She received her BA from the University of California, Davis, and both her MA in industrial relations and PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Known for her research on living-wage campaigns and social movements, she is the author of Fighting for a Living Wage (2004). Her current research focuses on globalization and labor standards, labor-community coalitions, and regional labor markets. Her most recent book is Labor Movements: Global Perspectives (2014).
Sandra Oxford is a longtime labor activist based in the Hudson Valley. She has been involved in immigrant rights and labor movements for many years, including organizing for the United Food and Commercial Workers, New York State Justice for Farm workers campaign, Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, and the Worker Justice Center of New York.
Diana Mangaser is an artist, architect, and educator. She received her MA in architecture from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, and her BA in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Based in Newburgh, New York, she leads the creative practice Y S D M with Yoshihiro Sergel and directs the creative initiative Artist-in-Vacancy with the Newburgh Community Land Bank, Newburgh, New York. Mangaser’s own practice explores communally constructed spaces, recalling the radical approach to art making set forth by Charlotte Posenenske. An artist educator at Dia:Beacon, Mangaser’s spring curriculum is shaped by the exhibition Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress. During this Arts Education Program, Dia’s Learning Lab and classrooms function as sites for students to collaboratively build a space wherein elements such as walls and columns are mutable forms to be constructed, moved, and transformed.
Steve Seidel holds the Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Chair in Arts in Education and is Faculty Director of the program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was formerly director of the research center Project Zero between 2000 and 2008. Seidel is currently conducting a study focused on working artists’ insights into artistic development and learning entitled “Talking With Artists Who Teach." Before becoming a researcher, Seidel taught high school theater and language arts in the Boston area for seventeen years. He has also worked as a professional actor and stage director.


Charlotte Posenenske

Charlotte Posenenske was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1930. She died in Frankfurt in 1985.

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Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress

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