This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast remembers Austrian artist Franz West, who died two weeks ago at age 65. West was one of European art’s most Puckish innovators. His art was playful and sly — he often encouraged viewers to pick up and play with or to sit down on his work — but it was also deeply rooted in the intellectual history of Vienna, his lifelong hometown.
One of my favorite Wests is The Thing Itself (Selbiges), a 1987 sculpture that that’s somewhat similar to Usain Bolt’s victory pose.
Joining me to discuss West’s life and work — and his uncomfortable couch-cum-sculptures — is Darsie Alexander, the chief curator at the Walker Art Center. In 2008 Alexander curated West’s only American retrospective, which opened at the Baltimore Museum of Art and traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.