Jean Toche’s political art
08.03.2008 - 06.04.2008 / Kunsthalle Faust
The Impertinence of Raising Questions - The Pertinence of Breaking Doors, Einladungskarte

Jean Toche, born in 1932, is regarded as a committed representative of politically motivated art. All his life he has offensively dealt with American policy. He expressed his cultural and socio-critical attitude in happenings and actions, manifestos, publications and mail art-actions. In cooperation with the Kunstverein Neuhausen/ Fildern, the Kunsthalle Faust presents one of his first individual exhibitions in Germany curated by Mathias Reichelt and Harro Schmidt.

Against the background of the protests against the Vietnam War, Jean Toche took an active part in different political art actions in New York during the 1960s and 1970s. He was member of the Art Workers Coalition and the Guerilla Art Action Group (GAAG) which he had formed with Jon Hendricks and Poppy Johnson in 1969. Further he has been closely connected to the destructive art movement. In his latest photo prints and mail art actions Toche reflects his relationship to global politics, especially George W. Bush’s American global politics. Toche gathers the material for his attacks from the print media. He thereby comments the news from the daily press with a kind of performative self-dramatization for which he permissively and relentlessly uses his body.

Jean Toche
Jean Toche

The exhibition “The Impertinence of Raising Questions – The Pertinence of Breaking Doors” combines relicts of actions from the late 1960s like “Burned Flag” and videos from the exhibition “The People’s Flag Show” (New York 1970) with Jean Toche’s latest works. For the first time footage from Jon Hendrick’s archive is shown, like an interview of the “Global Village” with the Judson Three and reporter Howard Moody. Further a performance by Yvonne Rainer & Grand Union (“Flag Dance”) as well as a symposium with contributions to the discussion by Abbie Hoffman, Kate Millett, Faith Ringgold, Michele Wallace, Black Panther Party, Gay Liberation Front, M.A.N. (Making a Nation), W.A.R. (Women Artists in Revolution), Gerald Lefcourt, Steven Radich (gallery owner), Allan Katzman, Lil Picard, Gregory Battcock, and others are planned.

“Toche’s attack against the policy of the Bush government is not subtle but frontal, rigorous, aggressive, and stands rather in the tradition of agitprop art” (Matthias Reichelt).

The Impertinence of Raising Questions – The Pertinence of Breaking Doors
Exhibition dates: March 8 – April 6, 2008
Opening: Friday, March 7, 2008, 7pm
Closing: Sunday, April 6, 2008, 4pm
Opening hours: Thursday and Friday 4–8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2-6 pm
Entrance: 3 Euro, reduced: 2 Euro

At the closing we show the documentary Shoah und Pin-ups. Der NO!artist Boris Lurie (2006, 88 min.) by Reinhild Dettmer-Finke in cooperation with Matthias Reichelt. Both authors will be present for a panel discussion. Boris Lurie and Jean Toche knew and appreciated each other. Although their way of producing art was totally different, they were both convinced that art has to be political. In his art Boris Lurie treated the trauma of being a Holocaust survivor. His mother, grandmother, one of his sisters and his first true love were assassinated in Riga by the end of 1941.

For further information about the closing see:


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Harro Schmidt
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Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai
Medienhaus Hannover
Mediations Biennale Poznan

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