Hanne Darboven’s Address—Place and Time on View at the Princeton University Art Museum

Distributed April 24, 2018


Exhibition explores how the German conceptual artist experimented with the media of modern communication to disrupt cultural norms for the representation of place and time

PRINCETON, NJ—Hanne Darboven (1941–2009), an important figure in the history of conceptual art, is the subject of a multipart installation presented by Princeton University’s Art Museum, Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, and departments of Art and Archaeology and German. Hanne Darboven’s Address—Place and Time features works on paper from the German artist’s breakthrough period in New York in the late 1960s to her mature work of the 1970s and 1980s.

On view at the Princeton University Art Museum from April 27 through June 24, the exhibition emerged from a seminar led by Brigid Doherty, associate professor in the departments of German and Art and Archaeology and director of the Program in European Cultural Studies at Princeton University, in which undergraduate and graduate students investigated the many ways in which Darboven and other artists and writers in late twentieth-century Germany reckoned with the recent past. Darboven, as the works on view reveal, sought to disrupt cultural norms for the representation of place and time.

Hanne Darboven’s Address—Place and Time presents a selection of works that explores how space, time, and communication were organized and experienced in twentieth-century European culture. Using a variety of techniques for drawing, writing, and arithmetic calculation, Darboven reconfigured elements derived from the Gregorian calendar, the postal system, and her personal correspondence, including picture postcards and handwritten letters. Beginning in the mid-1970s, a critical exploration of methods of historical documentation, advertising, and news media became central to Darboven’s art, which expanded dramatically in scale. Her magnum opus, Cultural History 1880–1983 (1980–83), for example, confronts the legacies of national socialism and the Holocaust while taking up topics related to the Cold War and to West German politics of the 1970s and 1980s in a monumental work comprising nearly 1,600 graphic panels and 19 sculpture-objects.

Featuring a 2003 print edition of Cultural History 1880–1983 from the collection of the Princeton University Library, this exhibition explores connections between Darboven’s early drawings and her later large-scale works. It also includes works by American artist Sol LeWitt (1928–2007), with whom, after the two artists met in New York in the 1960s, Darboven maintained a close friendship and carried on a decades-long correspondence. An important early drawing by Darboven from LeWitt’s personal collection is featured.

“University museums are at their best when they provide unique experiences to their students that also offer great value to visitors of all kinds,” notes Museum director James Steward. “This collaboration around the work of an essential conceptual artist whose concerns are so germane today exemplifies these virtues at a modest scale.”

Concurrent with the exhibition at the Art Museum, additional works by Darboven will be installed in Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology in McCormick Hall, and seven works will be installed in the Department of German at 207 East Pyne Hall. The works in Marquand Library can be viewed Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., until July 27. Please inquire at the library’s front desk about the Darboven case exhibition. The works in the Department of German can be viewed Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., until June 12.

On April 27 lectures, readings, and performances related to Darboven’s work, including contributions by artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi and composer and artist Seth Cluett, will accompany the opening of Hanne Darboven’s Address—Place and Time. The installation and opening events are cosponsored by the Department of Art and Archaeology, the Art Museum, the Department of German, and the Program in European Cultural Studies, at Princeton University.



Please note that the following events are located throughout Princeton University’s campus, as indicated below.


To / From: Hanne Darboven and Sol LeWitt

1:30 p.m., 207 East Pyne Hall

Readings from letters exchanged between Hanne Darboven and Sol LeWitt, who maintained a decades-long correspondence from the late 1960s until LeWitt’s death in 2007 


Sea Change: Readings from Homer’s Odyssey

2:30 p.m., Princeton University Art Museum

Readings from Homer’s epic poem, including from a 2017 English translation by Emily Wilson and a 1781 German translation by Heinrich Voß, as well as in ancient Greek. In 1971 Hanne Darboven created Homer’s Odyssey, Songs 1–5, a 70-part work for which she copied out by hand, page by page, the first five books of Homer’s text as it appeared in her own paperback copy of Voß’s translation.


How to tell you, how to transmit

3:30 p.m., 106 McCormick Hall

A lecture by artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi on Hanne Darboven’s Cultural History 1880–1983 (1980–83)

New York-based artist Nick Mauss’s exhibition Transmissions is on view through May 16 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Also based in New York, artist Ken Okiishi has had recent solo exhibitions at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA. He is currently a visiting faculty member in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.


The Audible Number and the Legible Trace

5:00 p.m., 106 McCormick Hall

A lecture by composer and artist Seth Cluett on the musical practice of Hanne Darboven

Seth Cluett has presented his work internationally at venues and festivals including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; the Moving Image Art Fair; CONTEXT Art Miami; GRM, Paris; and the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM), Amsterdam. Cluett is the assistant director of the Computer Music Center and the Sound Art Program at Columbia University, New York; and an artist in residence with Experiments in Art and Technology at Nokia Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, where he maintains a studio and is active in research on virtual- and augmented-reality acoustics and multisensory communication.


Darboven Tracings

6:00 p.m., Princeton University Art Museum

Premiere of a musical work by composer and artist Seth Cluett that was commissioned by Princeton’s Program in European Cultural Studies and will be performed by Cluett with collaborators Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Jeff Snyder. A reception in the Museum will follow.


About the Princeton University Art Museum

With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include over 100,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. Intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, the Museum offers a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art, and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.


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