press release

Alexander and Bonin is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Michael Buthe, whose paintings and installations were widely exhibited throughout Germany from 1968 until his death in 1994.

Buthe worked in various media and was one of the first artists to present room-size installations as works of art. These installations could be seen as settings for shamanistic ceremonies. In painting and assemblage, Buthe consistently experimented with color and a wide variety of materials, including fabric, foil, and organic matter. His art was greatly influenced by his personal spirituality and by his travels to Africa and the Middle East.

A contemporary of Sigmar Polke, Buthe lived the majority of his adult life in Cologne and was a professor at Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf from 1983 to 1994. Beginning in 1970, he spent part of each year in Morocco becoming “the traveler between the worlds” of Cologne and Marrakesh and had solo exhibitions in Kathmandu and Kabul. During the 1980s, Buthe lived in an industrial building with the actor Udo Kier and the video artist Marcel Odenbach. Kier participated in several of Buthe’s performances, the motifs of which frequently inspired Buthe’s art.

Buthe’s first inclusion in a group exhibition was in Harald Szeemann’s legendary 1969 exhibition When Attitudes Become Form: Live In Your Head. Buthe also exhibited in four Documenta exhibitions between 1972 and 1992. The Kunsthalle Bielefeld and the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf presented posthumous solo exhibitions of Buthe’s work in 1999. Despite this prominent exhibition history in Europe, his work has rarely been seen in the United States. The exhibition of his work at Alexander and Bonin will be the first solo show in New York since 1982.

Michael Buthe: Selected Paintings 1988-1994