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"Better Books: Art, Anarchy and Apostasy" exhibition at ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art
Better Books, 92-94 Charing Cross Road©/photo: Richard Friedman, Oakland.
KARLSRUHE.- This archive-structured exhibition is dedicated to the history of a small English bookshop – “Better Books” of Charing Cross Road in London. In the 1950s and 1960s, this bookshop became the center of the London avant-garde movement. Successful writers such as the artist biographer Barry Miles were regular guests at the shop, which proprietor Tony Godwin ran completely independently. The reason for it was that Godwin’s “Better Books“ offered a space for the free expression of art and opinions far removed from social conformity or religiously prescribed behavior. At ZKM | Karlsruhe, next to documentation of the goings-on at “Better Books,” films and sound material by well-known writers and artists are being exhibited, as well as the works that were created there. The exhibition thus portrays not only the growing significance of this shop, but it also unites so to speak the histories of the artistic avant-garde members who were active there.

In the 1950s and 1960s, London underwent a cultural revolution, which changed forever the way contemporary art would be seen and set off a radical reformulating of artistic creation. United in their disbelief in the wellestablished cultural norms, the post-war generation of artists, poets and writers found new ways to distance themselves from the previous generation. Many of these artists first met one another and took refuge at Tony Godwin’s Charing Cross bookstore. With the successful concept by Bill Butler, Barry Miles and Bob Cobbing, “Better Books” became not only a haven but also the platform and “voice” of the explosively radical mien within London. The bookshop enabled and initiated meetings, gave room for ideas, and became a sanctuary for numerous avant-garde artists, poets, filmmakers, musicians and writers.

The exhibition presents the artworks, films, and poems that bore witness to this movement, as well as rarely shown photographs, ephemera, and additional archive material. This presentation gives a deep insight into the scene around “Better Books” from which a multitude of activities and events emenated, such as the “International Poetry Incarnation“, Gustav Metzger’s “Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS)“, The People Show, the foundation of the London Filmmakers’ Cooperative or John Latham’s and Jeffrey Shaw’s Book “Plumbing“-Events.

For the first time it will be possible to see and to experience a live presentation of Gustav Metzger’s re-fabrication of his own work “Earth from Space (revisited).” The project (1966–2012) belongs to Metzger’s earliest experiments with liquid crystals, which became the basis for his psychedelic light object. The seldom shown work “Sound Hat” (1970) by Annea Lockwood, of which 15 copies were produced for Henri Chopin’s “OU,” is likewise a part of the show along with a documentation of Criton Tomazos’s unfinished “Cage” project.

Additionally, early works by Jeff Nuttall can be seen, as well the bizarre constructions of Bruce Lacey and also John Latham’s sculpture „The Laws of England“. Films by Stephen Dwoskin, Pip Benveniste, John Latham, Jeff Keen, Peter Whitehead, Piero Heliczer and many others form the mise-en-scène of the exhibition at ZKM. Also present will be documents and publications by, among others, Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall, Alexander Trocchi and Dom Sylvester Houdard.

Artists:
Pip Benveniste, William S. Burroughs, Bob Cobbing, Stephen Dwoskin, Group H, Piero Heliczer, Dom Sylvester Houdard, Jeff Keen, Bruce Lacey, John Latham, Annea Lockwood, London Filmmakers’ Cooperative, Gustav Metzger, Jeff Nuttall, Jennifer Pike, John Rowan, Criton Tomazos, Alexander Trocchi, Werner Schreib, John Sharkey, Jeffrey Shaw, Islwyn Watkins, Peter Whitehead, and many more.





Last Week News

December 25, 2012

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: One of the most important museums reopening in 2013

Cindy Sherman at the Walker Art Center is a comprehensive survey of the acclaimed artist's many guises

Dialogue between two masters of color, Johannes Itten and Paul Klee, at the Kunstmuseum Bern

Only known work in Canada by the great Venetian artist Titian, featured at the National Gallery of Canada

Treasures of the Alfred Stieglitz Center: Photographs from the permanent collection opens

Exhibition looks at the V&A's engagement with and changing view of art and design from Africa

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Canadian Pioneers: Masterworks from the Sobey Collections on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Design Museum in Ghent exhibits works by revolutionary Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata

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Diana Venet's collection of jewelry made by artists on view at Valencian Institute for Modern Art

Robert Frost's Christmas cards collected by Dartmouth College in New Hampshire

A huge collection comprising 10,000 of ames Comisar's TV memorabilia items needs a home

Ben Ali's ill-gotten gains draw crowds of Tunisians

Tale of lost military jacket prompts curiosity

Belvedere opens a new exhibition floor space to feature young contemporary artists

The Story of the 47 Ronin at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Pssst: An Exhibition for Kids at the MMK in Frankfurt

Grateful Dead exhibit extended in Cleveland

December 24, 2012

Exhibition of large paintings by Neo Rauch opens at Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz

Seven hundred years of French painting on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia presents the first major exhibition in Australia of artist Anish Kapoor

The Museum of Modern Art explores development of one of Modernism's greatest inventions: Abstraction

Review of the auction year 2012: Koller extends its position as the leading Swiss auction house

Kimbell Art Museum announces first ever loan of 20th century works from the Art Institute of Chicago

Gallery reinstallation project enters exciting new phase with 'Empire of Things'

The San Diego Museum of Art hosts interactive art exhibition from the Centre Pompidou

Charles Ginnever's Rashomon and Amy Kaufman's drawings on view at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva organizes biggest in-depth Edy Ferguson solo exhibition to date

Available now to download: Free PDF of The New Explorers Guide to Dutch Digital Culture

Let it snow! Exhibition of children's book art opens at Bruce Museum in Greenwich

Pearl Lam Galleries presents its first design art exhibition at its Hong Kong Pedder Building gallery space

The American Museum in Britain hosts Superstars 2012

'Places of Memory-Fields of Vision' opens at the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki

"Beatrice Gibson: The Tiger's Mind, featuring Jesse Ash" at Index-Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation

Builder of California 'Phonehenge' sentenced to jail

Survey comprising works by Lara Favaretto from the past 15 years on view at Sharjah Art Foundation

Mali Islamists destroying more Timbuktu mausoleums

December 23, 2012

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library opens new exhibits after multi million dollar renovation

The Whitney Museum of American Art presents American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov organize exhibition of their work with that of El Lissitzky at Van Abbemuseum

New exhibition 'Princesses' of the Mediterranean in the dawn of History opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art

Comprehensive overview exhibition of Ernst Wilhelm Nay's work on view at Kunstmuseum Bonn

Form Color Space: Aurel Scheibler opens new space with exhibition focusing on four German artists

Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn installs an incredible number of objects reminiscent of an airport

Angela at 80: Exhibition at Flowers Gallery celebrates Angela's 80th birthday

Christie's in Paris announces charity sale to benefit "Villages and People" NGO

Career overview of the work by visionary artist Sturtevant on view at Kunsthalle Zurich

Exhibition at La Malmaison Arts Centre in Cannes presents works by French photographer André Villers

Pour une grammaire du hasard: Works by five artists in exhibition at Kunsthalle Fribourg

Race to the Remix challenges public to create exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Cynthia-Reeves announces Soo Sunny Park installation at Cranbrook Art Museum

Low-water rivers offering up glimpse of history

Thea Djordjadze's sculptures, organisms and indeterminable landscapes on view at Malmo Konsthall

RM Group of companies enjoys significant growth and record $360 million in auction sales during 2012

Artist Michael Najjar completes first phase of cosmonaut training

Exhibition focuses not on physical location but on our connection with other places

Mount Rushmore to be featured on new quarter

December 22, 2012

Exhibition at Ariana Museum in Geneva reflects on agriculture and nutrition as art

Christie's announces a sale devoted to the artistic traditions that flourished in Europe from 1300 to 1600

Recently discovered 15th century masterwork to be offered at Sotheby's New York

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Two Greeks jailed for life over illegal antiquities, two more men for 20 and 16 years

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The Collection de l'Art Brut opens first European solo show devoted to Morton Bartlett

Rossi & Rossi announces spectacular Tibetan work from acclaimed Bronze exhibition at TEFAF Maastricht

Six artists from the border triangle of Germany, Switzerland and France exhibit at Kunsthalle Basel

Most concrete legacy of ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, draws pop stars and presidents

British Prince Andrew's ex-partner actress Koo Stark denies 'painting theft'

Simon de Pury steps down as Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company; The Mercury Group acquires company

Akron Art Museum's 90th anniversary year crescendos with a pledge of a major gift

Daniel & Florence Guerlain Foundation announces winners of Contemporary Drawing Prize

Hamburger Kunsthalle exhibits the work of Artist and author Annette Wehrmann

Paddington bares all in new station artwork

Kaminski Auctions announces 20th Century Decorative Art and Design Sale

Puerto Rican team wins Haitian cathedral contest

Georgia rebuilds Stalin monuments

December 21, 2012

Mexican archaeologists find another 1,200 year-old grave at Atzompa in Oaxaca

RISD museum opens an exhibition of beautiful and rarely seen prints and books

Louvre cements spot as world's most-visited museum; website seen more than 11 million visitors

Guggenheim Museum in New York acquires sculpture by artist Mark Grotjahn

Collection of paintings recording life behind the German trenches during World War I to go on sale

MoMA presents Christian Marclay's groundbreaking video installation "The Clock"

The Playmate as fine art: Seven contemporary artists interpret Playboy's iconic centerfold

Vancouver Art Gallery announces major donation of photographs by Robert Frank and Charles Gagnon

Christie's New York announces it will offer over 400 lots during Americana Week in January 2013

Bonhams in London appoints Matthew Haley as Head of Books, Maps and Manuscripts

Anonymous benefactor buys Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 1950s home in Phoenix

$66 million Thomas Kinkade estate dispute secretly settled by wife and girlfriend of artist

Rare watch by George Daniels sets new world auction record at £1.7 million Bonhams sale

Cant' afford art? Why not barter? Art4Barter holds twelfth exhibition this weekend

'Raiders of the Lost Ark' package mystery solved

Greenpeace protest at Louvre targets French airport project

Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian launches new website for students

America's signature for freedom series fountain pens lead Bonhams Fine Writing Instruments Sale

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December 20, 2012

Field Museum cutting staff, overhauling operations and limiting the scope of its research

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' among 25 selections added to United States film registry

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Tower Hamlets Council's ownership of Henry Moore's 'Old Flo' challenged by Bromley

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

Colby College Museum of Art's 26,000-square-foot Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion to open in July

Sotheby's New York 20th Century Design & Tiffany Studios Sales total $12,877,127

BJ and Richeille Formento present photographs as part of a group exhibition at Edelman Arts

The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited ventures into London for the first time in January 2013

Bonhams to present art of the South Seas Sale in San Francisco in February 2013

Atlanta's High Museum of Art to host Collectors Evening to build permanent collection

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

First exhibition in the UK of Croatian artist Sanja Iveković opens at The South London Gallery

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

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Lluís Barba reworks iconic artworks in new exhibition at Dean Project

Art Asia Miami 2012 concludes its fifth year with strong sales and VIP attendance

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