Bennett Simpson, ed.
Make Your Own Life: Artists In & Out of Cologne
Catalogue for the 2006 exhibition curated by Bennett Simpson at the ICA Philadelphia, which brought together over twenty-five artists of three generations—centering from Cologne but also including Los Angeles, New York, London, and Berlin—to explore themes of autonomy, artistic collectivity and social relationships, and the privileging of the artist's life and context as a basis for understanding creative practice.
In the 1980s and early-90s, the German city of Cologne was one of the most important centers for contemporary art in Europe, if not the world. With its many galleries, artist run-spaces, and artist bars, the city assumed a kind of mythological dimension, a place where artists came to show, sell, socialize, and distinguish themselves and their work on levels symbolic and real. The open question of how one makes one's art in relation to a set of communities, histories, market conditions and social attitudes was at the core of the Cologne scene. It was fiercely debated, dramatized in exaggerated behavior, art works and exhibitions alike, and it contributed greatly to the impression that Cologne was a place of extreme self-consciousness and audacity.
Artists included in the exhibition and catalogue are: Bernadette Corporation, Cosima von Bonin, Merlin Carpenter, Stephan Dillemuth, Michaela Eichwald, Andrea Fraser, Kim Gordon, Charline von Heyl, Gareth James, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Jutta Koether, Michael Krebber, Louise Lawler, Hans-Jorg Mayer, Lucy McKenzie, Nils Norman, Albert Oehlen, Christian Philipp Muller, Stephen Prina, Josephine Pryde, Blake Rayne, Reena Spaulings, Josef Strau, Rosemarie Trockel, Filmgruppe West, Christopher Williams, and Christopher Wool, among others.
Softcover, 96 pages, b&w offset, 8.25" x 11.75", 2006.