Press Release
26 June 2007
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Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers, marking the first presentation in the United States of this legendary work.

Décor: A Conquest is a groundbreaking work of art and one of the most important artistic manifestations of the twentieth century. It anticipates 'installation'as a conspicuous mode of expression and is daring in its use of objects to relate a narrative. With Décor: A Conquest, Marcel Broodthaers moved beyond ideas about the resonance of objects to focus instead on the stories those objects can tell. Marcel Broodthaers began work on Décor: A Conquest in 1974, when he was invited by Barry Barker to inaugurate London's new Institute of Contemporary Art. There, the artist installed two 'period rooms' one from the 19th Century, displaying a stuffed python amidst cannons, potted palms and Napoleonic candlesticks and chairs; and another from the 20th Century, with patio furniture, an unfinished puzzle depicting the Battle of Waterloo, and handguns and rifles displayed atop pedestals and shelves. Décor: A Conquest is a complex work, simultaneously exploring ideas about war, conflict, interiority and comfort.

Décor: A Conquest could be considered the culmination of Marcel Broodthaers' life's work. As Marcel Broodthaers remarked, speaking of himself in the third-person: In January 1974, Marcel Broodthaers installed a conservatory in one of the rooms of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels: a few dozen palm trees, some folding garden chairs, natural history engravings...For him, this first achievement heralded the idea for Décor: A Conquest...

Décor: A Conquest was later shown at Documenta 7 in 1982 and at the Hamburger Banhoff, Berlin in 1999.

Marcel Broodthaers (Brussels, 1924 ' Cologne, 1976) is one of the most original and influential artists of the twentieth century. He worked early on as a poet and was published in Belgium by the mid 1960s. His first work as a visual artist came in 1964 and consisted of bundled copies of his final volume of poems, Pense-Bête, embedded in a mound of plaster. From that time, Marcel Broodthaers produced works in various media that revolved around his interest in objects and word-play and his concept of joining word and image. It is precisely because of his deep exploration of these complex themes that Marcel Broodthaers remains a seminal figure in contemporary art, an artist on par with René Magritte and his pipe early conceptualists such as Piero Manzoni.

Marcel Broodthaers has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions including Eulogy of the Subject at Kunstmuseum Basel, Angelus of Daumier at Centre Pompidou and major retrospectives at the Walker Art Center, Galerie National du Jeu de Paume. A major selection of important works was included in Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect, curated by Kynaston McShine for the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1999. Marcel Broodthaers had his first exhibition with Michael Werner in Cologne in 1969. Subsequent exhibitions in the gallery presented major installations and sculptures, the artist's complete prints, and key works on paper from the sixties and seventies.

In September White Columns will screen Marcel Broodthaers' The Battle of Waterloo, which is integrally related to Décor: A Conquest. Filmed in and around London's ICA during the realization of Décor: A Conquest, The Battle of Waterloo makes use of the interiors of Décor: A Conquest as film setting and simultaneously documents the Trooping of the Color. For more information, please visit or call (212) 924-4212.

Michael Werner Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Please contact the gallery for more information.

The exhibition is on view 17 July through 15 September 2007. Michael Werner Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Please contact the gallery for more information.