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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

Kirsty Bell Lecture

Kirsty Bell Lecture

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami welcomed writer Kirsty Bell, who discussed the work of renowned German Pop artist Thomas Bayrle. Read Kirsty Bell’s latest article, “Part to Whole” on the work of Thomas Bayrle, in Art in America.

Since his beginnings as a German Pop artist in the 1960s, Thomas Bayrle has applied his acute sensibility, and unflinching sense of humor, to the forces and structures that shape society. Religion, consumerism, media communications and mass transportation systems all come under his scrutiny. “I never tried to obtain an overview,” he says, “but stayed with the detail, knowing that the detail comprises the whole.” His work suggests that only through incident does the system reveal itself and can be articulated. This lecture will look at how Bayrle’s train of thought draws a line linking Gothic architecture, Fordian production lines, organized religion and the rise of the highway as the ultimate superstructure.

Kirsty Bell studied art history at Cambridge University before pursuing her interest in contemporary art as an exhibitions assistant at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. She has developed close working relationships with artists through her work as an artist’s assistant, as an independent curator, and as gallery director of Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York. Since arriving in Berlin in 2001, her art criticism—published in such magazines as frieze (of which she is a contributing editor), Mousse, Afterall, Art Agenda, and Art Review, as well as in numerous exhibition catalogues—has focused on the young art community in Berlin.

Part of ICA Idea 007: Super Infrastructure

Our cities and our daily lives—the entirety of the planet—are increasingly organized with and through proliferating infrastructures. Physical and digital systems alike are characterized by massive scale and dominant control: phones and laptops are connected to networks nested in networks, while physical presence is scanned through towering surveillance structures. Global computation has become a tool for governance. Thomas Bayrle’ engagement with highway systems and urban sprawl since the 1970s, as well as his observations on seriality and standardization, anticipate many of the questions regarding form and power that arise from living in a fully interwoven world.