Philipp Kaiser

Visiting Distinguished Fellow
Nov. 18, 2014

"Holes with History: Sculpture in the Late 1960s"

In the second half of the 1960s, artists went underground for the first time. Philipp Kaiser, a renowned curator and art historian, reveals the radical shift that sculpture took as it redefined its own categories. By deconstructing and negating its own forms, it went so far as to question sculpture's legitimacy. On various continents artists, unbeknownst to each other, began to create negative sculptures by digging trenches and holes in the surface of the earth. The simultaneous examples of this in the late 1960s were not so much coincidence as an expression of a specific historical, political and cultural post-war state of affairs.

Philipp Kaiser, Ph.D., is the former director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and has also served as the senior curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA). At MOCA, Kaiser organized "Ends of the Earth," a historical survey of Land Art with Co-Curator Miwon Kwon, professor of art history at UCLA. From 2001 to 2006, Kaiser was curator for modern and contemporary art at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel.

He has realized large-scale exhibitions on the art of the 1980s and California Conceptualism, and conceived various individual shows with artists such as Jack Goldstein, Bruce Nauman, Louise Lawler, Simon Starling, and Christian Philipp Müller.

In addition to his curatorial responsibilities, he has published numerous contributions to art magazines, catalogs, and other publications, and has taught art history at the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe/Germany, and the University of California.

Kaiser studied at the Universities of Basel/Switzerland and Hamburg. He was the former director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and his talk is the 2014 Golo Mann Lecture and is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.