13 The New York Decade MARY BAUERMEISTER T his provocative exhibition presented the work of Ger- man artist Mary Bauermeister born 1934 during the time she lived and worked in the United States prin- cipally in New York City from 1962 to 1972. Featuring ve works from the museums collection with loans from private and public East Coast collections the show highlighted Bau- ermeisters signature optical lens boxes assemblages stone reliefs drawings and other works from this prolic period in her career. Thanks to the vision and dedication of Senior Cura- tor and Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs Linda Muehlig curator of the exhibition this was the rst Bauermeister show in this country in over 50 years and the rst monographic exhibi- tion organized by an American museum. In addition to seeing the inuential exhibition on view mem- bers of the museum community had the opportunity to meet with the artist herself during a week-long residency at SCMA organized by Taiga Ermansons associate educator. In March 2015 Bauermeister met with faculty local educators students and supportersboth formally and informallyto share her history creative process and passion. For details on Bauer- meisters residency please see page 14. Bauermeisters story is a fascinating one. Before she moved to New York her studio in Cologne served as a meeting place and stage for events by avant-garde artists and musicians in- cluding American composer John Cage choreographer Merce Cunningham Korean-born artist Nam June Paik and Karlheinz Stockhausen a seminal gure in electronic and serial music of the 20th century. Her rst major museum exhibition in 1962 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam was a joint project with Stockhausen Bauermeisters future husband. It was on the road from Amsterdam in 1961 that the two stopped in a small village where Bauermeister bought boxes of optical lenses at an antique shop. She experimented using them to magnify and distort objects in a glass-topped box. Filled with drawings objects optical lenses and the artists handwritten intuitive and often humorous words these boxes developed during her New York years to become Bauermeisters most im- portant body of work. Bauermeisters move to the United States was inspired by Robert Rauschenbergs combine Monogram a now famous sculptural assemblage of a taxidermied goat that she saw in an exhibition of American contemporary artists at the Stedelijk Museum. Like Rauschenberg Bauermeisters work was shaped by experimentation and the use of found objects. She believed that the American art scene offered more artistic freedom and opportunity than her native Germany. Her decision to relocate was met with almost immediate suc- cess. Within a year after her arrival she was signed by Gale- ria Bonino on 57th Street which became her principal gallery. Critics were fascinated by Bauermeisters glittering lens boxes though they struggled to place the work of this unique artist within a particular movement or aesthetic. Her artistic roots were in Europe both in the vanguard as well as in earlier traditions of modernism. Her use of the box links her with other artists of the time who worked in similar format but more as a means of artistic production rather than in conceptual terms. And while she incorporated color in her work in the latter half of the 1960s Bauermeister rejected what she saw as Pops misogyny. The artists self-described scribblingsthe punning rifng and intuitive texts that line the inner surfaces of her boxesare word plays uniquely her own part narrative and part visual acrobatics. To offer greater insight into Bauermeisters work the museum installed a special computer monitor-based zoomify program created by RBH Multimedia enabling visitors to explore the lay- ers of objects and drawings inside selected lens boxes. A listen- ing station with excerpts of Stockhausens music as well as a video montage of images from Bauermeisters time in New York enhanced the viewing experience. A beautifully designed scholarly catalogue with essays by Bauermeister specialist Kerstin Skrobanek art historian Liz Kotz and musicologistStockhausen scholar Paul V. Miller was produced in conjunction with the exhibition. The museum is deeply grateful to the agencies donors and lenders who made this project possible. In particular we are indebted to Fernanda Bonino who with her late husband Alfredo was Bauermeisters gallerist in New York. She provided insight recollections and loans of important works that had not been publicly displayed for many years. The exhibition was funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts the National Endowment for the Arts the Massachusetts Cultural Council the Carlyn Steiner 67 and George Steiner Endowed Fund in honor of Joan Smith Koch the Suzannah J. Fabing Programs Fund for SCMA and the Publications and Research Fund SCMA. The museum is also grateful to the Smith College Music Department the Festival of Sound Space and the Smith College Ofce of College Relations for their sustained support and expertise.