Borrowing its title from one of the exhibited works, Stratification concentrates on seven key pieces from the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s collection of contemporary art from German-speaking Europe. The installation’s theme, layers, explores relationships among objects that span several decades and incorporate a range of approaches to art making. From smooth, overlaid coats of color to dense accretions of paint to stacked, repeated forms, each work employs a different mode of layering in its structure, application of materials, and overall physical process of formation. The varied uses of stratification in these pieces not only contribute to the overall aesthetic effect of each work but also signal more theoretical issues about surfaces, stability, artistic principles, and the act of creation.
The installation features paintings by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Rudolf de Crignis, and Richard Paul Lohse as well as sculptures by Max Bill and Thomas Lenk. Two sequential selections of drawings, prints, and photographs further develop the overarching theme: the first (September 17–November 30, 2005) focuses on Polke’s multilayered experiments with different motifs, media, and techniques, and the second (December 3, 2005–February 26, 2006) examines layering through the photographic manipulations of Gerhard Richter, Isa Genzken, and Valie Export. Organized by Celka Straughn, 2004–06 Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Intern at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Chicago. A brochure accompanies this exhibition.