Artists are taking their place in art history: In the feminist work Art Herstory, Hermine Freed puts herself into famous paintings by using Blue Box studio methods. Not only does she thwart the traditional role of the woman in art history as muse and model, but in Brechtian alienation explains the production of her work to the viewer even further while she, as an Art Nouveau beauty, asks for a light for her cigarette. The garish colors, bad resolution from early color-video technology and aging tapes refer to the limits of electronic reproducibility. In Malraux’s Shoes, artist Dennis Adams plays the French writer, theoretician and minister of cultural affairs André Malraux. Adams alludes to the famous photograph that shows Malraux with over a hundred black and white photos of artworks from around the world, his imaginary museum. Adams’ reenactment oscillates between Malraux’s arrogant colonial manner and his unconditional love for art, and then in the spirit of the imaginary museum completely expands to a reflection of contemporary art and culture. The hubris lying in the universal reproducibility and availability of all art dissolves here in the age of the Internet, in the inner and obsessive monologue of a tragic hero.
Art Herstory, Hermine Freed, us 1974, 21 min
Malraux's Shoes, Dennis Adams, us 2012, 42 min