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Exclusive: Büchel's Statement, Part 1

Posted by Geoff Edgers  May 23, 2007 05:19 PM

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Back in March, I received a seven-page statement from artist Christoph Büchel outlining his complaints over Mass MoCA's handling of his planned exhibition. Now that the situation has blown up more, I figure I should post the statement in its entirety. Previously, I've posted only Büchel's demands.

I'll present the statement in several parts over the next few days.

Part 1:

Communication to the press would not be necessary had the museum agreed to the terms made by an artist in order to realize his artwork. “Training Camp for Democracy” is a solo exhibition by artist Christoph Büchel at Mass MoCA, which is currently in the midst of being installed, which is in no way to be viewed by anyone until completed.

This press communication is a response to the fact that members of the press were allowed to view a work in progress without the consent or presence of the artist or any of his representatives. The following is an attempt to communicate the difficulties and obstacles that result in the unfinished installation by Christoph Büchel.

Christoph Büchel prohibited the installation “Training Camp for Democracy” from being viewed in its current state. This condition was made verbally stated as well as written to the museum before he left for the Christmas holidays. The museum has led tours of the installation, without notifying the artist or his representatives. Journalists, art critics, art collectors, museum curators -- and even politicians have viewed the in-progress installation. In fact the governor of Massachusetts was led through Building 5 by the museum director himself. Please refer to this article:


The unfortunate reality is that MASS MoCA was unable to adequately prepare the exhibition space of Building 5 – the location for “Training Camp for Democracy”. The delay was precipitated by the fact the museum was three weeks late in dismantling the previous exhibition of Carsten Holler. In addition, the museum did not assemble materials and elements that were necessary to begin Büchel’s installation. These major logistical errors forced the opening date, originally slated for December 16th to be postponed. The museum proved to be incapable of managing and supporting technically and logistically a production the scale of “Training Camp for Democracy” The museum underestimated this exhibition even though the scope and detail of it was clearly defined.

After the show was postponed to March 3rd and in a few days before Christmas the museum confessed that they were out of money. There was no money to pay bills and to continue. There was no money to pay Christoph’s three assistants. Christoph was compelled in December to cancel several very important shows (for example a solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, scheduled to open early February) to deal with the Mass MoCA installation as he was committed to finishing the project by the new goal of early March. As it turns out he cancelled these other shows for nothing as the installation remains 50% completed and Christoph is still on standby. Meanwhile Mass MoCA has removed the announcement that states its inability to realize the exhibition in time along with any information regarding Büchel’s show from their website. It is removed from their online schedule.


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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..

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