FAME explored the ambivalent soul of Los Angeles. One part dream machine and another part Vanity Fair, Los Angeles is home to dislocated whimsy and constructed memory. It is also the headquarter of the Wende Museum, which has the most interesting archives of artifacts from the almost forgotten Cold-War. By looking closer at the unusual juxtaposition of artworks and artifacts from different eras and geographies, ESMoA explored the multifarious foundations of what might make things famous and the possible connections between them.


Do you still remember your childhood icons? Do you still fall in love with your teenage dreams? Did those sort of dreams really change over the last centuries? Who are the heroes in real life? Can they be made up by ideology and society? Why do you remember one person and forget another? How does someone ordinary become famous? Do things only become famous when they are iconic, or do things only become iconic when they are famous? Are there any common characteristics over time and regions? What are the archetypes? How important does fame get at the end of life? With ESMoA’s FAME Experience everybody could decide for his or herself whether the essence of fame was core or rather the casing.

Chaotic ingredients: Confronting early childhood inspirations like one of the first illustrations of “red riding hood” by German romantic painter Moritz von Schwind with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s skeleton drawing or French impressionist Eugène Boudin’s “huntsman” with Wende Museum’s original hunting outfit of former East-German leader Erich Honecker, ESMoA’s endeavor maneuvered through the wonder world of classic, modern and contemporary art and artifacts. Pieces made for innocent illustration, willful propaganda, truthful documentation, inspirational admiration – works manufactured with oil, acrylic, watercolor, porcelain, wood, pa-per, metal and canvas by Vincent Alpino, Neil Armstrong, Peter Badge, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Behrendt, Eugène Boudin, Chuck Close, Cyrus E. Dallin, Peter Doig, Marcel Eichner, Martin Galle, Bernhard Heisig, Gustav Klimt, Wilhelm Kuhnert, J.C. Leyendecker, August Macke, Helmut Newton, So-Young Park, Maxfield Parrish, A.R. Penck, Gundula Schulze Eldowy, Kathy Sherman Suder, Carl Spitzweg, Andy Warhol, Gary Winogrand and Zala – spin their vibrant stories on an artistic rollercoaster flooring.

Paradox disposition: Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to cut off his ear to get there. If fame is one of the key-drivers for contemporary culture, why do we keep forgetting most of our heroes?

Start Exploration: Fame may be one of the strongest sources of motivation, but what does it reveal to us about the importance in life and its cycle? Maybe fame and iconographic identity with its living symbols lies at the bottom of understanding and communication. If chaos is the nutrient solution for development, the paradox could easily work as its trigger for creative thinking.

Curatorial notes, Los Angeles 2013.

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