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b. 1962, USA

Lutz Bacher Biography

While the artworks of American artist Lutz Bacher—ranging from installation to video, collages, photography, and sculpture—defy categorisation, they are characterised by her use of found and personal materials, and examine the themes of power, privacy, violence, and popular culture through humour.

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Bacher used a pseudonym, and little is known about her personal life beyond the fact that she began her career in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s. Some of her artworks directly concern her private affairs, yet they generally refuse to yield concrete information. One example is the series of interviews she conducted from the 1990s, inviting friends and artist-peers to talk about her. Titled 'Do You Love Me?' the interviews were presented initially as video footage and later in the form of an artist's book, in both cases offering partially obscured hints as to who the artist was. In a humorous gesture, for her solo exhibition Lutz Bacher: ODO at Ratio 3, San Francisco, in 2008, the artist even replaced the standard press release with a recipe for butterscotch pudding.

Despite such elusiveness, Bacher often drew on materials from her experiences, creating artworks that traverse private and public spheres. Huge Uterus (1989), for example, is a video of a six-hour operation on her uterus, filmed in real time. In 1997, when her friend and art dealer Pat Hearn was diagnosed with liver cancer, the artist documented her work activities for ten months. After Hearn died in 2000, the artist presented a version of the recording that reduced the 1,200 hours of footage to a 40-minute video, offering an intimate and moving portrait of the New York art dealer (Closed Circuit, 1997–2000).

Other themes running through Bacher's practice include the intersections of imagery, masculinity, and power. The photographs of the 'Men at War' (1975) series, for example, depict American sailors posing for a picture on a beach. Though seemingly innocuous, details such as the presence of a swastika on one man's chest allude to the threat of violence. Sex with Strangers (1986) combined found pornographic images with captions about rape, exposing male desire in porn as being satisfied through violence against the female body. In her solo exhibition The Long March at New York University in 2018, she also examined the construction of political imagery, examining photographs of Mao Zedong as a mighty leader and as an ordinary individual enjoying daily life.

The satirical yet intimate nature of Bacher's works can be encountered in two installations from 2011, both of which were presented at the Whitney Biennial in 2012. In The Celestial Handbook, illustrated pages—each depicting galaxies and constellations lifted from an astronomy book—were dispersed throughout the Museum, while Baseballs II consisted of old baseballs on the floor and a video that featured a short dialogue between two lovers about happiness in the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)—possibly intended as a memorial to her late husband the astrophysicist Donald C Backerhaz.

Bacher's solo exhibitions include: K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf (2018); Lafayette Anticipations—Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette (2018); KADIST, San Francisco (2017); Yale Union, Portland (2016); Greene Naftali Garage, New York (2016); Secession, Vienna (2016); and Aspen Art Museum (2014).

Bacher's artwork is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Ocula | 2019

Lutz Bacher Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Penguins) by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherUntitled (Penguins), 2015Plastic
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
Lincoln by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherLincoln, 20164 paintings on canvas in wooden frames, plastic cellophane
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
The Celestial Handbook by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherThe Celestial Handbook, 20111 of 85 framed offset book pages
23.2 x 15.3 cm
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
The Celestial Handbook by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherThe Celestial Handbook, 20111 of 85 framed offset book pages
23.2 x 15.3 cm
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
Swingers by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherSwingers, 2018Inkjet print in artist frame
56 x 43.5 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
Swingers by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherSwingers, 2018Inkjet print in artist frame
56 x 43.5 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
Swingers by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherSwingers, 2018Inkjet print in artist frame
56 x 43.5 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
Swingers by Lutz Bacher contemporary artwork
Lutz BacherSwingers, 2018Inkjet print in artist frame
56 x 43.5 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery

Lutz Bacher Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Lutz Bacher, FIREARMS at Galerie Buchholz, Cologne
Closed
30 August–26 October 2019 Lutz Bacher FIREARMS Galerie Buchholz, CologneCologne
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Hölle at Galerie Buchholz, New York
Closed
20 September–27 October 2018 Group Exhibition Hölle Galerie Buchholz, New YorkNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Lutz Bacher, Open the Kimono at Galerie Buchholz, Cologne
Closed
7 September–20 October 2018 Lutz Bacher Open the Kimono Galerie Buchholz, CologneCologne

Lutz Bacher Represented By

Galerie Buchholz contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Galerie Buchholz Berlin, Cologne, New York

Lutz Bacher In Related Press

A Show by the Late Lutz Bacher Evokes Something ‘Just Outside of Perception’s Grasp’ Related Press A Show by the Late Lutz Bacher Evokes Something ‘Just Outside of Perception’s Grasp’

Lacan’s sentiment could describe Lutz Bacher’s art practice. Bacher spent 40 years making art that evoked something just out of perception’s grasp. ‘Blue Wave’ at the University of California Irvine (UCI) is Bacher’s final exhibition, conceived seven months before her death last May and curated by her longtime friend, artist and UCI professor...

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LUTZ BACHER (1943–2019) Related Press LUTZ BACHER (1943–2019) 8 July 2019, Artforum

WHEN LUTZ DIED THE WORLD SHRANK. In those ethereal days immediately following her stark exit, magic was the word I heard most to describe her effect. A magical phenomenon requires an effortless delivery, the mysterious sleight of hand where one is made incapable of conjuring the method of transmutation. Magic happens before our eyes, but points to...

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Everything is connected: new exhibition on art and conspiracy Related Press Everything is connected: new exhibition on art and conspiracy 17 September 2018, The Guardian

In 1974, Black Panthers artist Emory Douglas created a portrait of Gerald Ford, America's 38th president, being pulled by puppet strings held by giant corporations. A speech bubble had Ford saying: 'I Gerald Ford am the 38th puppet of the United States.'

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From assassinations to CIA mind control: new show investigates how artists tackle conspiracy theories Related Press From assassinations to CIA mind control: new show investigates how artists tackle conspiracy theories 14 September 2018, The Art Newspaper

'When you don't have all the information, you're left to fill in the blanks, and so people come up with these crazy theories,' says Doug Eklund, the co-curator of possibly the first ever exhibition to tackle art and conspiracy theories.

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