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Martin von Haselberg exhibit opens at NOMA tonight

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Martin von Haselberg exhibit opens at NOMA tonight
Posted by Doug MacCash, Art critic, The Times-Picayune June 10, 2009 4:57PM

Meet artist Martin von Haselberg at the opening of his exhibt “Floatulents” from 6 to 9, tonight (June 10). Review below.

Art seen: Critic Doug MacCash rates New Orleans art exhibits.

The ratings: Wonderful, Worthwhile, Whatever

“Floatulents” is not your normal narcissism

Talk about having a swollen head. Artist Martin von Haselberg, who splits his time between New York and Los Angeles, has crowded one of the New Orleans Museum of Art‘s upstairs galleries with hundreds of photos of himself.

But, to be honest, they’re not the most flattering shots.

Von Haselberg apparently prefers to see the grotesque in himself. He uses a computer to twist, stretch and squeeze his poor head like Silly Putty. If that weren’t enough, he prints his distorted self-portraits on large sheets of crinkly paper that he uses to make weird balloons and pillows. One or two are free to languidly stagger the gallery floor as if they had spent a bit too long on Bourbon Street. And to lend everything a dignified air, Von Haselberg titled the exhibit “Floatulents.”

The overall effect is like a psychedelic version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And who wouldn’t want to see that.

The rating: Wonderful

OK, there’s another point of interest here. Nobody likes to stand out just because he is the husband of a celebrity, but I have to tell you anyway. Von Haselberg is married to Bette Midler.

Beat that.

The exhibit of strange self-portrait paper balloons continues through Sept. 6 at the New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins Diboll Circle, City Park. Museum hours are Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m.; and Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

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6 thoughts on “Martin von Haselberg exhibit opens at NOMA tonight

  1. Well he stay’s true to his line off art, you can still see similarity with the kind off work his old partner off the Kipper kids creates.
    I like man who dare to express their “other sides”.

  2. Well what a ka-wink-a-dink! I’m leaving for New Orleans tomorrow for a week! I’ll report back if I get to see the exhibit!

  3. From

    Through September 6
    Inflatable Photographs by Martin von Haselberg

    Martin von Haselberg (aka Harry Kipper) was a member of the infamous London and L.A. based 1970s performance art duo, The Kipper Kids. Also in the early 70s he began evolving his deeply psychological public performance work into personal photographic self-portraiture, a practice which he continues today. His musings and extreme muggings for the camera are both comical and aberrative. Their zaniness borders on the insane. His artistic lineage leads the viewer from the slapstick clowning of Spike Jones to the heightened abreaction of the 1960s Vienna Aktionists.

    In this, von Haselberg’s first U.S. museum show, his latest photographic experiments are presented as inflatable sculptures, which rise into the air, or, when deflated, rest upon the floor. “FLOATULENTS” are air balloons in the sense of Warhol’s 1964 “Silver Flotations,” but they are more than mere design. Von Haselberg describes these new works as ‘time-based’, as springing from the facial contortions and grimaces of his performances. But here the balloons are the performers, rather than Martin or Brian of The Kipper Kids.

    “FLOATULENTS” are made from images printed on glassine, a delicate archival material normally used to protect photographs and art. They are stitched together and then inflated. Their fragility conceptually allude to the malleability and frailty of the artist’s ego. (Freud described the ego as a blase or bubble.) Images of the artist’s face stare out at us from the crinkly surfaces of the inflatables, which look crushed, in a procedure that John Chamberlain or Frank Gehry might employ, to lead the way to abstraction. Von Haselberg’s consistent use of his face as subject, from his earliest performances as Harry Kipper to his subsequent photo auto-portraits, is proof of his long-standing concern with issues related to the psyche, the id and to the ego of the artist, and to the source of his own creative acts.

    The photographic components of “FLOATULENTS” were shot in Austria, Germany and Hungary, always under a single light, usually a chandelier or wall fixture, after which they were digitally manipulated. This manipulation raises issues of the plasticity of the body in performance, and of the face in photography, particularly the face used as a solitary ‘theater’ for the creation of other ‘selves’, perhaps in pursuit of the Anatta, or ‘non-self’, also found in the work of Claude Cahun or Cindy Sherman. Ultimately, von Haselberg’s work uses ironic procedures to subvert self-importance. ‘Self’ and ‘ego’ are everywhere undermined with humor and critical rigor. Perhaps the homonymic echo between “FLOATULENTS” and flatulence is von Haselberg’s ultimate comment on artistic production itself.

    Martin von Haselberg was born in Buenos Aires in 1949 and lives in Los Angeles and New York. From 1971 to the present, he has performed as one of the Kipper Kids mostly throughout Europe and the Americas. Since 1980, he has also worked as a solo performer and visual artist. His work has been exhibited at P.S.1, New York; Galleria Emilio Mazzoli, Modena; Glenn Horowitz Booksellers, New York; Zabriskie Gallery, New York; Dokumenta, Kassel; and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles and Vienna.

    FLOATULENTS: Inflatable Photographs by Martin von Haselberg is the third in the _museological exhibition series curated by Diego Cortez, Freeman Family Curator of Photography.

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