From poetry to parrots: Marcel Broodthaers at Michael Werner

From poetry to parrots: Marcel Broodthaers at Michael Werner

The superlative media artist Marcel Broodthaers – who worked across poetry, painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and film – is commanding attention all over Manhattan.

Launched to coincide with MoMA’s newly opened ‘Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective’, Michael Werner Gallery is showcasing ‘Marcel Broodthaers: Écriture’ which, in addition to the works drawn from the artist’s already broad oeuvre, also features one of his only paintings. All explore his penchant for language and found objects.

No stranger to injecting surprising elements into his work, with 1972’s Parle Écrit Copie, the Belgian artist utilised three typewriters, each displaying a word from the title in a diverse palette, running from sharp yellow to purple.

Further exemplifying Broodthaer’s nods to surrealism is 1968’s Boot and photographic canvas – a single black rubber boot stuffed with a canvas emblazoned with inscriptions.

Turning to yet another medium, his 1971 Signatures sees Broodthaers’ initials penned in blue and red ink and presented via a stunning 80 projection slides.

The focus of the show is 1974’s Dites Partout Que Je L’Ai Dit (Say Everywhere What I Have Said), which was originally presented as an entire room. Consisting of a parrot under a bell jar, along with audiotape, the piece has long been considered Broodthaers’ prescient precursor to what we now know as installation art.

If the transatlantic rift means missing either show, fear not; the artist’s retrospective is travelling to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid this October, and on to the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf next year.

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