Texts by Valerie Hillings, Daniel Birnbaum, Edouard Derom, Johan Pas, Dirk Pörschmann, and Margriet Schavemaker
ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s is the first large-scale historical survey in the United States dedicated to the German artist group Zero (1957-66). The group was founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were joined by Günther Uecker in 1961, and ZERO, an international network of like-minded artists from Europe, Japan, and North and South America–including Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama, Piero Manzoni, Almir Mavignier, Jan Schoonhoven, and Jesús Rafael Soto–who shared their aspirations to redefine art in the aftermath of World War II. The catalogue explores the experimental practices developed by the more than 30 artists from nine countries featured in the show, whose work anticipated aspects of Land art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. The publication is organized around points of intersection, exchange, and collaboration that defined these artists’s shared history. Among the themes explored are the establishment of new definitions of painting; the introduction of movement and light as both formal and idea-based aspects of art; the use of space as subject and material; the interrogation of the relationship between nature, technology, and humankind; and the production of live actions or demonstrations. At once a snapshot of a specific group and a portrait of a generation, this book celebrates the pioneering nature of both the art and the transnational vision advanced by the ZERO network.