Michael Buthe: Paintings, Drawings, and Paper Works, 1968 â€“ 1994
Jan 23 – Mar 6, 2010
Alexander and Bonin is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Michael Buthe, Paintings, Objects and Paper Works, 1968-1994. Buthe’s work was widely exhibited throughout Germany from 1968 until his death in 1994. This will be the second solo exhibition of his work at Alexander and Bonin and only his third in the United States.
Beginning in 1970, Buthe spent an increasing amount of time in North Africa and the Middle East. These experiences, melded with his European upbringing and the zeitgeist embraced by his contemporaries Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, led to the development of Buthe’s distinct and constantly evolving vernacular. With little separation between his Shamanistic lifestyle and the work he produced, there exists a seamless shift from medium to medium. An embrace of kitsch emboldens some of the works in this exhibition; an image of a beautiful young man has been juxtaposed with splatters of gold and silver paint, tinfoil and gold leaf. The addition of organic detritus signals his connection to landscape, the environment and an interest in entropy. This use of common materials provides ballast to the themes of spirituality and mortality and Buthe’s fascination with desire and celebrity.
The first museum group exhibition to include Buthe’s work was Harald Szeemann’s 1969 When Attitudes Become Form: Live In Your Head (Kunsthalle Bern; Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld; ICA, London). Between 1972 and 1992, Buthe exhibited in four Documenta exhibitions. Posthumous solo exhibitions were presented simultaneously at Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf and Kunsthalle Bielefeld in 1999. Last year, Buthe’s work was the subject of a monographic exhibition at Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg and the Arp Museum Bahnhof, Rolandseck.