David Zwirner is pleased to present For Keeps: Selected Parkett Editions 1984–2017, on view on the second floor of the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location in New York and with a concurrent online presentation. This group exhibition, which honors the legacy of Parkett's publisher and cofounder, Dieter von Graffenried, who passed away in December 2021, features works by more than forty artists created in collaboration with the celebrated long-running international art publication Parkett, including Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Yayoi Kusama, Sherrie Levine, Julie Mehretu, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Bridget Riley, and Andy Warhol, among others. Complementing the presentation in New York, the online feature includes key works from the exhibition as well as a selection of editions on view exclusively online. It will additionally highlight the history and making of Parkett’s artist editions through ephemera such as sketches, archival studio images, and correspondence between artists and the publication. Several of the works included in this combined presentation are rare, last-remaining editions of sold-out works, which have been made available exclusively for the exhibition.
The works in this exhibition reflect the broad spectrum of creativity promoted by Parkett as well as the spirit of experimentation and exchange that was central to the publication. Founded in Zurich in 1984, Parkett was a unique voice in contemporary art publishing, built on the ideals of transatlantic interchange and artistic collaboration. In its 101 volumes—the last of which was published in 2017—the magazine featured collaborations with more than 300 artists as well as new texts in German and English by influential authors, critics, and curators. Each issue of Parkett was produced in close cooperation with artists, 270 of whom were also commissioned to create an editioned artwork in the medium of their choice, which could range from sculpture, painting, photography, prints, and drawings to multimedia work and installations. Several artists made numbered series of unique works, while others created multiples in close collaboration with printers or fabricators. In both cases, Parkett was instrumental in pairing artists with the appropriate collaborators to realize their visions.
Included in this presentation will be noteworthy editions such as Franz West’s bookshelf, which was created in 2004 for the publication’s twentieth anniversary and designed to hold a then-complete set of Parkett volumes; a pair of leather shoes by Sherrie Levine made in 1992 that reproduced those featured in her important 1977 Shoe Sale at 3 Mercer Street in New York; and Marlene Dumas’s series for the final issue of Parkett, an intimate work on paper titled Art is/Always/Having to say/Goodbye (2017) that pays homage to the publication and depicts a female figure in profile above the titular phrase. Additional works on view include Meret Oppenheim’s pair of sky-blue goat suede gloves embroidered with hand-stitched red veins from 1985, which realized a design she had made almost fifty years prior for fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as Bruce Nauman’s Violent Incident—Man-Woman, Segment (1986), a two-act video derived from his seminal twelve-monitor installation Violent Incident (1986; now in the collection of Tate, United Kingdom), which marked the artist’s return to video after an almost fifteen-year hiatus.
Online-only works include John Baldessari’s 1991 screenprinted porcelain enamel steel plate depicting six mouths with different expressions, all in varying hues. Viewed in tandem, the online presentation and exhibition not only illustrate the rich artistic history of Parkett but act as a survey of more than three decades of international contemporary art.
The presentation will also highlight a selection of artist-designed inserts. Featuring text, drawing, painting, and graphic elements, the inserts, which honor the tradition of the artist’s book, take a variety of forms and show the creative possibilities of the printed page.
Previous presentations celebrating the legacy of Parkett have been hosted at prominent institutions worldwide, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1987); Palazzo Remer, Venice (2003); and Swiss National Library Bern, Switzerland (2018), and a traveling retrospective, which originated at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2001), and toured to Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2001); Kunsthaus Zurich (2004); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2009); STPI, Singapore (2010); Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea (2010); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2012); and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2013).
The title of the publication, Parkett, was chosen for its multiple, nuanced meanings: not only does it reference the parquetry often found in museum or gallery spaces, in German it can mean an arena, a dance floor, or the seats closest to the stage, and in French, it translates to the name of the state attorney. These varied connotations, as well as its pronounceability in many languages, spoke to the international aim of the publication. Indeed, Parkett reached a broad audience: each volume was published in a run of between 2,000 and 11,000 copies and distributed across sixty countries. Today, a total of 700,000 volumes of Parkett are spread across the globe.
From the full-page image spreads to the artist-produced inserts, and from the equal treatment of the German and English texts to the spines featuring artist collaborations—with some designs spanning the binding of multiple volumes—the magazine, whose early slogan was “Parkett is for keeps,” was intended to be collected, displayed on shelves, and read often. While Parkett first highlighted a single artist in each volume, it subsequently introduced artist pairings (in 1989) and, later, multiple-artist volumes, in an effort to promote artistic dialogue and cross-cultural connections. These pairings served both to complement and juxtapose, often crossing media, movements, generations, or nationalities.
Conceived of as a “Kunsthalle on paper,” Parkett viewed its role not unlike that of a curator, collaborating with artists and thinkers on printed volumes and editions that created a space for exploration, discussion, and connection. Beloved by artists and readers alike, Parkett operated at the vanguard of contemporary artistic developments and, over the course of its thirty-three-year history, remained true to cofounder Bice Curiger’s statement written on the first page of the first edition: “Parkett will be partial and bold in discussing notable, yet unnoted undercurrents, and quick to recognize new developments in the bud.”
Image: Meret Oppenheim, Glove, 1985
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