Edited by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Massimiliano Gioni
"Gustav Metzger: Historic Photographs" is the first US solo museum exhibition of the influential eighty-six-year-old artist and activist Gustav Metzger, and highlights his long engagement with historical trauma and representation. A survivor of the Holocaust, Metzger's first-hand experience of displacement and destruction shaped his subsequent outlook on the relationship between art and society. Initially trained as a painter, Metzger published the Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto (1959), which called for the production of artworks with industrial materials and a limited lifespan which, in his words, "reenacts the obsession with destruction, the pummeling to which individuals and masses are subjected." These ideas were most dramatically realized in London in 1961, where he sprayed sheets of nylon with hydrochloric acid, burning them to tatters. His work has gone on to touch on issues of nuclear disarmament, war, and environmental destruction. Metzger has continuously viewed his role as an artist as one that seeks radical social and political change. This catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition.
New Museum; 2011; Softcover; 5.5" x 8"; 70 pp; 17 color and 7 b&w images; ISBN 9780915557943