|Between 1993 and 2007, â€œLa Ribaute,â€ Anselm Kieferâ€™s studio-estate in Barjac, France, also became his most developed artwork, the site where the artist created, collected, and re-imagined his art, while working with a fluctuating team of assistants. Â A former silk factory on a hill that Kiefer transformed into a vast complex of living spaces, studios,workshops, and storage facilities, it was also an environment in which he created a new type of â€œland artâ€ consisting gigantic concrete structures, some reduced to postwar-like ruins, amidst the rural French countryside. Because of its monumentality, its environmental and experiential qualities, and the fact that it synthetized multiple media, â€œLa Ribaute,â€ has been called a â€œGesamtkunstwerk,â€ Kieferâ€™s total work of art. This assessment is, as we shall see, correct, but with qualifications, which need to be drawn from the conceptâ€™s history.
Matthew Biro is Chair and Professor in the Department of the History of Art and the University of Michigan. Â Originally trained as a continental philosopher, he came to art history through an interest in aesthetics and visual thinking. Â He is the author of two books, Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and his articles on modern and contemporary art and philosophy have appeared in Art History, the Yale Journal of Criticism, RES, Art Criticism, and New German Critique, among other places. Â His reviews of contemporary art, film, and photography have appeared in Artforum, Contemporary, Art Papers, The New Art Examiner, and he has also written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clio, CAA Reviews, and the European Legacy. Â He is currently working on a book about the photographer Robert Heinecken.
About The Lecture Project
Enrique MartÃnez Celaya created Whale & Star as an evolving idea of social and intellectual interaction. At present, it has an imprint, maintains a project of public lectures, hosts several working visits each year for poor and at-risk children, keeps a modest residency and intern program, and offers four small scholarships.
Whale & Star brings prominent writers, art historians, artists, and philosophers to present a public lecture for our community. To date the project has brought to the studio art historians Daniel A. Siedell, David Raskin, Karen Wilkin and Suzanne Hudson, curators Mary Schneider-Enriquez, Ivan Gaskell, Michael R. Taylor and Klaus Ottmann, and philosopher Bruce Ellis Benson.Â To learn more about The Lecture Project visitÂ thelectureproject.com