Exhibitions / 09 November - 12 January 2013


Show Time: 11.00am - 8.00pm

Raivo Puusemp (EE/US) with Ben Kinmont (US)
Curated by Krist Gruijthuijsen (NL)
In 1975, Raivo Puusemp was elected as Mayor of the troubled town of Rosendale, New York. What the residents did not know, and what his campaign did not reveal, was that Puusemp was a conceptual artist who would later come to view his appointment and the situation as an artwork, Rosendale, a public work. During his tenure, he applied the work he had been doing as an artist, in group dynamic and predictive behaviour, to the political problems of the town and was successful in guiding them to a resolution – the dissolution of Rosendale. Puusemp documented this process through a series of official letters, documents and press clippings, from which a booklet was later published. Following the dissolution of the town, Puusemp resigned his post, relocating to Utah with his family. He removed himself from the art context and from his practice as an artist.
Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution is the first comprehensive overview of Puusemp’s work produced between the mid-1960s and late 1970s. The exhibition will present documentation and materials around Rosendale, a public work, a number of his early works and one recent artwork. Presented alongside these are related works by artist Ben Kinmont (1963, US) that negotiate the notion of withdrawal and artistic contextualisation.To accompany the exhibition, a reprint of the original publication Rosendale, A Public Work, from 1980, will be produced.The exhibition is organised by Krist Gruijthuijsen (NL), director of the Grazer Kunstverein, and will travel afterwards to the Grazer Kunstverein (Graz, Austria) and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City, US).
Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution is generously supported by the Lectoraat Art and Public Space, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
In 1969, while involved with an underground art group in New York City, Raivo Puusemp developed an interest in group dynamics and social and political processes. Some of his early artistic activity included works he called “influence pieces” where he would discreetly suggest an idea for a piece to someone who would then execute the work without being aware of Raivo’s influence. Becoming concerned with the manipulative aspects of this practice, Raivo moved into politics “where influence and concept come together compatibly.” In 1975 he was elected mayor of a small village and had the opportunity to apply his interest in aesthetic structure and form to the political situation at hand. As mayor it was clear that the village could not fiscally survive under its current tax base, and that the only solution was its dissolution as a village and incorporation into a neighboring town. By the end of his two years as mayor, the town had accepted this idea and the small village ceased to exist.
Artist and bookseller Ben Kinmont looks at interpersonal communication as a means of addressing the problems of contemporary society. His sculptures and actions attempt to establish a direct, personal relationship between the artist and the viewer, using the work as mediator. Ben Kinmont has used the term “Third Sculpture” since 1988 to describe his work out on the street and in stranger’s homes. He explores the way art can function in the social sphere but also within various notions of value and exchange. Since 2011, a survey of his work has been presented at Kunstverein, Amsterdam, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, NYU Fales Library (i.c.w. Kunstverein NY), New York, and SFMoMA (i.c.w. Kadist SF), San Francisco.
Krist Gruijthuijsen is artistic director of the Grazer Kunstverein, co-founding director of Kunstverein, Amsterdam and course director of the MA Fine Arts program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. Previous exhibitions and projects have been presented at a.o. Manifesta 7, Platform Garanti, Artistsspace, Extra City Antwerp, Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art, Swiss Institute, New York, A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Stedelijk Museum, Van Abbemuseum and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam.


Raivo Puusemp – Dissolution is generously supported by the Lectoraat Art and Public Space, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


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