Germany’s Hatje Cantz Posts Online Show; New York’s MoMA Offers Teaching Tools

In News by Porter Anderson

Berlin’s Hatje Cantz is using the pandemic’s restrictions to explore its connections with the art its books convey, and New York’s MoMA is helping parents and other educators teach art to children.

Image: From the trailer “Two or Three Things I Know About Edward Hopper,” for the Fondation Beyeler exhibition, Riehen, at the Hatje Cantz ‘Art on the Beat‘ site

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘The Present and the Future of Books’
The Berlin-based art-book publishing house Hatje Cantz has run with the concept of print books in the future being prized for their own artistry.

“We are experiencing something unprecedented,” writes publisher Nicola von Velsen and her staff, “the transformation of the art book into an art object. On the one hand, the continual pressure from  the market to manufacture books less expensively and make them more affordable can’t be denied. On the other, there’s increasing demand for durability, solidity, and quality.”

Today (April 6), the house is announcing “75 Years of Hatje Cantz: In the Time of Corona,” a kind of exhibition of its own that stresses the currency of art and the books that capture it.

Designed as an online production, of course, the site now is open as Art on the Beat.

And those who have tired of “escaping” from the realities of the coronavirus COVID-19’s pandemic with frothy entertainment and sentimentalist tales of inspiration may find this media showcase of art-book content and exhibitions a relief. Something seriously valuable, after all, is frequently the right answer to something seriously frightening.

The program includes a podcast from Vienna’s Kunst Historisches Museum (which has a #WeAreClosedButActive note on its own site), and features curators of the exhibition Beethoven Moves, plus a film on photographer Kate Belim about her book Amor.

“It’s important to us to be a competent partner for museum makers, artists, and commerce—in terms of content and the way we work and bring art to recipients.”Sven Fund, Hatje Cantz

Belim also is represented in a podcast on female photography and its evolution, with Elke Buhr of Monopl and photographer Pola Sieverding.

There’s also a reading by Ulf Küster from his book Hopper A-Z, as well as podcasts with Age Inclusive Public Space‘s Dominique Hauderowicz and artist Brad Downey on his upcoming book Slapstick Formalism.

The plan is to continue to expand the site with videos, imagery, and books, in part as an experiment in how a publishing house devoted to art can leverage its distinctive content advantages in the digital space. The staff sees the approach as creating “its own platform for encounters and understanding of the material that connects the publisher, the artists, museums, curators, and authors with all interested parties.”

In the company’s media messaging today, we read von Velsen saying, “With Art on the Beat, we tell exciting stories about art and its context, about the present and the future of books, and make it possible to experience them in a new way and in all the formats that are available to us.”

Hatje Cantz managing director Sven Fund is quoted, saying, “After three-quarters of a century of publishing history, it’s important to us to be a competent partner for museum makers, artists, and commerce—in terms of content and the way we work and bring art to recipients.”

At this point, much of the spoken material on the new site is in German, but perhaps at some point, the staff will be able to create texts in translation for non-German speakers.

Among the company’s newest books is In the Cone of Uncertainty: The Complex Self on Korean artist Haegue Yang’s work, which just closed an exhibition of several months at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami.

‘Haegue Yang: In the Cone of Uncertainty,’ installation view at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach.
Image: The Bass, photography by Zachary Balber

The Museum of Modern Art: Teaching Art

Some of our coverage of the contagion has included resources for teaching outside the classroom. New York’s Museum of Modern Art has included Learning Curve: Art Resources for Teaching and Learning From Home in its selection for online offerings.

Handily, the selection opens with a video with Lisa Mazzola from the museum’s education wing, discussing points on talking with students about art—beginning with how you can get young viewers “to slow down and actually look at the art.”

This section of the magazine offerings from the museum, also features a glossary of art terms, a “tools and tips” page of resources, podcasts, videos, and more, material produced for educators by the museum’s educational programmers that culminates in the MoMA Learning site that accesses its content by themes and by artist.

The  tools and tips section has the kind of slideshows, worksheets and other resources that teachers use in the classroom, with thematic focus elements including abstract expressionism, conceptual art, cubism, Dada, design, expressionism, Fauvism, minimalism, photography, pop art, surrealism, and–for those just getting in–”What Is Modern Art?”

One of our favorites elements of the MoMA Learning site is curator Paola Antonelli’s short chat with students about what design really is and how it affects them. As you see her, she’s standing in front of the collection’s Solari di Udine flip-board flight departures sign from Milan’s Malpensa Airport.


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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.