Paul Maenz is giving three important works of contemporary art to the Nationalgalerie. In an exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof titled To Whom It May Concern, following on the heels of his 80th birthday, these works are on view for the first time, together with the Berlin collector’s earlier gifts. Since 2006 Maenz has given numerous works of art to the Nationalgalerie and the Kupferstichkabinett (Prints and Drawings Collection), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, as well as to the Stiftung des Vereins der Freunde der Nationalgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst (Foundation for Contemporary Art, Friends of the Nationalgalerie).
The exhibition brings together various approaches in conceptual art ranging from subjective and expressive painting to photographic installations by Walter Dahn and Jiří Georg Dokoupil, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Joseph Kosuth and Sturtevant. Strategies of appropriation and questions about authorship and representation are features the works have in common. Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs (1965) is an iconic work of conceptual art. Sturtevant’s large-scale painting Warhol Flowers (1990) reflects the American artist’s reassessment of the Pop Art celebrity over a period of many years. The 22-part painting series Die Ricki-Bilder (1982–83) by Walter Dahn and Jiří Georg Dokoupil is a sardonically humorous reaction to the Berlin painter Rainer Fetting. Two major works by Hans-Peter Feldmann are shown in the exhibition: the installation Rotes Abendkleid (2002) and the room-sized photo installation 100 Jahre (1998–2000). The latter work, in addition to Sturtevant’s painting and the Ricki-Bilder, is part of Maenz’s current gift.
This gift to the Nationalgalerie also includes Paul Maenz and Gerd de Vries’ reference library, comprising some 2,500 publication titles on contemporary art reaching back to 1960. Maenz was a formative figure in the West German contemporary art scene. With Gerd de Vries, he ran an influential gallery in Cologne from 1970 to 1990 for art of the international avant-garde. Maenz moved to Berlin in 1993.