New York Space to Hold Wake for Martin Kippenberger

Martin Kippenberger, Champs Elysee, Paris, 1991. Photo by Andrea Stappert. Courtesy the artist and OSMOS

Andrea Stappert, Martin Kippenberger, Champs Elysees, Paris, 1991.


A retrospective of the iconoclastic German artist Martin Kippenberger at the Museum of Modern Art eight years ago proved just how influential his work has been on a younger generation. But now it’s time to really pay our respects. A wake is generally a vigil held for someone who has recently died, but next Tuesday, the publication OSMOS, which turns 20 this year, will buck tradition by holding one for Kippenberger, who died 20 years ago at the too-young age of 44.

The ceremony at OSMOS’s exhibition space in New York’s East Village (50 East First Street) begins at 7 p.m. on the anniversary of Kippenberger’s death. It’s a slide show recollection of the last ten years of Kippenberger’s life, presented by the artist’s curator and friend, writer Roberto Ohrt. The evening also celebrates the opening of a Kippenberger exhibition at Osmos: the centerpiece is a photographic recreation, by Andrea Stappert, of the book vitrine that Ohrt and Kippenberger assembled in 1993, for Kippenberger’s exhibition at Paris’s Centre Pompidou. In Paris, it was stocked with books, postcards, and ephemera created by the artist, who considered such things to be just as important as his paintings and sculptures. Alongside the recreation, Osmos will show video documentation of Kippenberger performances.

Andrea Stappert, Documentation of Candidature à une retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1993 Courtesy the artist and OSMOS

Andrea Stappert, documentation of ‘Candidature à une retrospective’ at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1993.


Friends and family of the artist will be in attendance at the wake, said OSMOS’s founding director and publisher, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, who co-curated the show with Ohrt and Axel Heil. But the wake is very much open to the public. “Anyone who loves Martin,” she said, adding, in a Kippenbergian spirit, “Lovers and haters alike.”

As for how people are expected to conduct themselves at this rather unconventional wake, Rabinowitz said, “there will of course be the consumption of alcohol,” before conceding, “I’ve personally never hosted a wake.”

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