The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) is honored to present Wild West, a group exhibition commemorating the legacy of late Austrian artist Franz West (1947- 2012), on view September 20, 2017 – January 22, 2018. Curated by former West-collaborator Andreas Reiter Raabe, the show consists of works by Franz West, his New York-based contemporaries, and commissioned works by emerging artists from New York and Austria.
The exhibition’s title acts as a play-on-words for West’s nonconformist, anarchic approach to creating artworks and his critical place in Western art history. His deep curiosity for alternative ways of thinking and exhibiting manifested in his numerous collaborations with fellow artists and creatives. At the height of his career in the mid-1980s, West chose to exceed the boundaries of a typical ‘solo show’ and invited emerging artists to exhibit alongside him, often to the surprise of the institutions.
The exhibition starts with the world premiere of Franz West (2017) by Raabe, a film composed of neverbefore-seen footage Raabe shot in West’s studio between 2007 – 2012. The piece provides an intimate glimpse into West’s studio practice, affirming the equivocal nature of his thought processes. As a precedent to the overarching curatorial direction, the film reveals West’s idiosyncratic approach to art and his wild way of thinking, working, and collaborating.
Wild West will present a similar curatorial approach by showing not only the works of Franz West, but also of his collaborators and emerging artists. Exhibiting artists include: Rudolf Stingel, Urs Fischer, Mary Heilmann, Rudolf Polanszky, Octavian Trauttmansdorff, Sarah Lucas and Andreas Reiter Raabe. The exhibition will also feature artists who have not previously exhibited with West, such as Anna-Sophie Berger, Tillman Kaiser, Anne Schneider, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers). While the exhibition presents collaborations, such as Reiter Raabe’s sculptural lamps Fleur Mal, 2012, it also features new commissions such as Tiravaija’s sculpture untitled (east meets west), 2017, a granite tombstone in West’s body height.