March 18, 2017

Transparency in the Art World

“In the summer of 2015, Adrian Piper wrote me an email. She offered to sell her work The Probable Trust Registry... As to the price tag, Piper wrote that the piece would cost a mere fraction of one of Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dogs.” So writes director of the Nationalgalerie Udo Kittelmann in the booklet for Adrian Piper’s ongoing exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof. Reading the first sentence gave me a chill. Why are we suddenly allowed to know what lands in the email box of the director? Why this sudden transparency? And why let us know that Adrian Piper, who's been living in Berlin for a long time, offered her work herself, although Kittelmann, as he claims, has been a long-time admirer, but hadn’t come up with the idea to invite her before? In the very white male collection of the Staatliche Museen we are let known that Piper, a black female artist, had to offer her work, and for a price a fraction of her male colleagues. Harmless story, you say? Let me repeat Iza Genzken words in an interview for the Tagespiegel, when they tell her she's doing well on the art market: "“Sells well? Take Jeff Koons, he’s of my generation, much worse than I am, but so much more expensive. That's injustice.”

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