Hanne Darboven’s Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983 (Cultural History 1880-1983) (1980-1983) is an overwhelming and encyclopedic installation consisting of 1,590 works on paper and 19 sculptural objects. The work weaves together cultural, social, and historical references with autobiographical documents, postcards, pinups of film and rock stars, documentary references to the first and second world wars, geometric diagrams for textile weaving, a sampling of New York doorways, illustrated covers from news magazines, the contents of an exhibition catalogue devoted to postwar European and American art, a kitschy literary calendar, and extracts from some of Darboven’s earlier works. The panels are sequenced and grouped, with the groups then juxtaposed in arrangements that often seem little more than chance associations. In his illustrated walk through Darboven’s massive work, Dan Adler explores its visual and aesthetic complexities and considers the work in relation to various projects undertaken by European artists in the 1960s—including Gerhard Richter’s ongoing Atlas. The work is now permanently installed at Dia: Beacon.
About the Author
Dan Adler is Assistant Professor of Art History at York University in Toronto. His writings have appeared in Art History and Artforum. Born in Munich in 1941, Hanne Darboven has exhibited her work in the Documenta exhibitions 5, 6, and 7 and in the 40th Venice Biennale.