Partners: Ydessa Hendeles

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One of the most powerful people in the art world--and the only Canadian on that list--Ydessa Hendeles is renowned not only as one of the foremost supporters of contemporary art but also as a brilliant curator and collector. The collection she has assembled under the auspices of the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation is one of the most original, prescient, and highly regarded contemporary art collections in the world--if one of the lesser known. Large parts of it are being shown for the first time in Haus der Kunst in Munich, assembled and arranged by Hendeles; this book has been conceptualized by her in conjunction with the exhibition. In typical Hendeles fashion, Partners combines artworks, press photos, anonymous snapshots, and everyday articles. Maurizio Cattelan's “HIm,” a depiction of Hitler on his knees, plays a key role, as does a large installation of thousands of historical snapshots of teddy bears.

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Paul McCarthy was born in 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah and he currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of Southern California. McCarthy's artwork was brought to public attention in the 1970s with his performance pieces and works in film. Since then he has experimented with sculpture, installation and inflatable objects.

Born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bruce Nauman has been recognized since the early 1970s as one of the most innovative and provocative of America's contemporary artists. Nauman finds inspiration in the activities, speech, and materials of everyday life. Confronted with 'What to do' in his studio soon after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1964 with a BFA, and then the University of California, Davis in 1966 with an MFA, Nauman had the simple but profound realization that "if I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product." Working in the diverse mediums of sculpture, video, film, printmaking, performance, and installation, Nauman concentrates less on the development of a characteristic style and more on the way in which a process or activity can transform or become a work of art. A survey of his diverse output demonstrates the alternately political, prosaic, spiritual, and crass methods by which Nauman examines life in all its gory details, mapping the human arc between life and death. The text from an early neon work proclaims: "The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths." Whether or not we--or even Nauman--agree with this statement, the underlying subtext of the piece emphasizes the way in which the audience, artist and culture at large are involved in the resonance a work of art will ultimately have. Nauman lives in New Mexico.

Lawrence Weiner was born in 1942 in the Bronx, New York. Upon graduating from high school, he worked in a variety of jobs--on an oil tanker, on docks, and unloading railroad cars--and then traveled throughout North America before returning to New York, where he exhibited at the Seth Siegelaub Gallery in 1964 and 1965. Since the 1970s, wall installations consisting solely of words in a nondescript lettering have been a primary medium for Weiner. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., ICA London, Dia Center for the Arts in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others. Weiner lives in New York and Amsterdam.

During a relatively brief career, Diane Arbus created a distinctly personal style of portraiture that made her one of the great 20th-century photographers. Born in New York in 1923, by the 1950s she was supporting herself by working for magazines such as Vogue and Glamour. Two Guggenheim awards (1963 and 1966) allowed her to travel and undertake her own projects. The artist died in 1971. Retrospectives of her work have been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

"More than any other artist, Walker Evans (1903-1975) invented the image of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact. Evans did most of his best work in the 1930s, and his pictures have been celebrated as documents of the Great Depression. But his concerns ranged far beyond the troubles of the 1930s, and his work has made its impact not only on photography but also on modern literature, film and the traditional visual arts."

Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1946. He received his MA from the University of British Columbia in 1970, with a thesis on Berlin Dada. He studied with T.J. Clark at London's Courtauld Institute from 1970-1973, and worked as a writer until 1977, when he made his first lightboxes. In 2006, Wall received the prestigious Hasselblad Award, putting him in the company of such photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams. A major traveling retrospective stopped at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2007 and 2008.

"Ydessa Hendeles was born in Germany in 1948, the only child of Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust. Raised in Canada, she began to exhibit contemporary art in 1980 and ran, until 1988, The Ydessa Gallery in Toronto, an influential commercial gallery that supported such emerging Canadian artists as Jeff Wall, Jana Sterbak, Ken Lum, Krysztof Wodiczko, and Rodney Graham. In 1988 she founded the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Canadais only privately funded exhibition space for contemporary art, where she continues to present shows curated from her collection of contemporary art, sculpture, installations, and videos, as well as historical and documentary photography, news photographs, family album photographs, and antique toys."

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