Josephine Meckseper and Paulina Pobocha in Conversation

March 31, 2021
5:30PM EST

A conversation between artist Josephine Meckseper and curator Paulina Pobocha centered on Meckseper’s body of work and her new catalog monograph published by Sternberg and Frac des Pays de la Loire. Meckseper and Pobocha will explore the artist’s complex family narrative, contextualize inter-war, wartime, and post-war German art, and discuss Meckseper’s exhibition at the Frac des Pays de la Loire.

For the last two decades, Josephine Meckseper has created large-scale installations, sculptures, paintings, and films that simultaneously expose and encase signifiers such as advertisements, political imagery, and everyday objects to form an exploration into the collective unconscious of our time. The artist’s exhibition at the Frac des Pays de la Loire is her first major institutional survey show in France. Taking place at the Frac, Carquefou, and the associated HAB Galerie in Nantes, the twofold exhibition brings together a selection of significant works by the artist from the last fifteen years and an artist-curated selection of works from the Frac’s collection. Meckseper creates a dialogue around gender and scale by including artworks by Becky Beasley, Karla Black, Kate Blacker, Katinka Bock, Monica Bonvicini, Claire Fontaine, Melanie Counsell, Jason Dodge, Lili Dujourie, Michel Gerson, Johannes Kahrs, Sister Corita Kent, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Jack Pierson, Martha Rosler, Rosemarie Trockel, and Valie Export. Partly informed by the abandoned industrial landscape and the old shipping cranes surrounding the gallery in Nantes, as well as by the escalating “yellow vest” protests across France, Meckseper’s own monumental sculptures and politically charged works intersect with the artworks from the collection, which are exhibited in part on wood and mirror shelves designed by Meckseper, providing an additional conceptual mode of display and narrative. An in-depth essay on the exhibition by writer and critic Joshua Decter accompanies the exhibition views and index of works in the catalogue.

Josephine Meckseper, born in Lilienthal, Germany, lives and works in New York. She received her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles in 1992. Meckseper’s large-scale installations, vitrines and films create a window into the collective unconscious of our time. Her works have been exhibited in numerous international solo museum shows worldwide, including her most recent survey exhibition at the Frac des Pays de la Loire (2019); Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (2014); The Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY (2013); Kunsthalle Münster, Germany (2009); Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2009); and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, German (2007.) Her work was included in numerous biennales, such as the Taipei Biennial 2014, Taiwan, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud (2014); Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates, curated by Suzanne Cotter (2011); Whitney Biennale 2010, New York, curated by Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari (2010); the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville, Spain, curated by Okwui Enwezor (2006); Whitney Biennial 2006, New York, curated by Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne. Her works are in the permanent collections of many major institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Her recent film Pellea[s], 2018 includes footage of the historical event of the 45th Presidential Inauguration and concurrent protests filmed by the artist. Meckseper’s first public project in New York, Manhattan Oil Project, commissioned by Art Production Fund was installed adjacent to Times Square in 2012.

Paulina Pobocha is Associate Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she has worked since 2008. At MoMA she has organized Constantin Brancusi Sculpture, 2018; The Long Run (with Cara Manes), 2017; Rachel Harrison: Perth Amboy, 2016; Projects 103: Thea Djordjadze, 2016 (at MoMA PS1); Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor, 2013 (with Ann Temkin); Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, 2013 (with Ann Temkin). She has also been central to the conception and display of the Museum’s contemporary collection galleries, 1970s-present, including the recent installation Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977. Currently Pobocha is working with artist Thomas Schütte on a forthcoming retrospective exhibition for MoMA. In her curatorial practice, she is committed to understanding art as part of the larger social and political landscape, centering previously underrepresented artists and narratives within that history.
Pobocha received her B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University in 2000 and her M. Phil. in 2005 from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.