Art into Society – Society into Art

This archival display documents the seminal 1974 ICA exhibition Art into Society – Society into Art: Seven German Artists (29 October – 24 November 1974).

Art Exhibition previously on at ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts in United Kingdom.
From Tuesday 19 January 2016 to Sunday 06 March 2016

Art into Society – Society into Art image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 24 November 2015.
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Organised by ICA Curator Norman Rosenthal and German art dealer Christos M. Joachimides, this seminal exhibition sought to engage with ideas around the relationship between art and politics emerging from West Germany at that time. Artists involved included Albrecht D., Joseph Beuys, KP Brehmer, Hans Haacke, Dieter Hacker, Gustav Metzger, Klaus Staeck and photographer Michael Ruetz. Art into Society – Society into Art was a key part of a season staged at the ICA called German Month which featured film screenings, talks, performances and exhibitions showcasing the wide-ranging cultural developments emerging from West Germany at that time.

The exhibition drew on the notion of an ‘active’ working process and form of exhibition display. Both curators and artists alike sought to move away from an individualistic approach to art and exhibition-making, and towards a more democratic system. A key example of this process was the staging of a colloquium involving the curators and artists and which took place on 26-27 April 1974 in Dieter Hacker’s studio in Berlin. Its aim was to open a discussion with all parties involved in the project as a way to create a more egalitarian work-process between artists and curators.

The original display included wall-based works by artists such as K P Brehmer and Klaus Staeck as well as photographs of key political events from that time by Michael Ruetz. While Gustav Metzger decided to physically remove himself from the exhibition itself, as a protest against the art world, Josef Beuys remained present in the gallery for the majority of the exhibition and engaged in conversations with the audience around democracy and education, sketching out his ideas onto numerous chalkboards subsequently strewn across the floor – a work now known as Richtkräfte.

Co-curated by Lucy Bayley (PhD candidate ICA and Middlesex University) and Juliette Desorgues (ICA).

The ICA Fox Reading Room was made possible by the generous support of the Edwin Fox Foundation.