Swiss Institute is pleased to present Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us, a restaging of the 1974 exhibition by acclaimed curator Harald Szeemann (1933-2005), who is known for his innovative and radical approach to working with artists. This exhibition recreates Szeemann’s apartment in Bern, Switzerland, where he organized the original show, an all-consuming investigation of the life and work of his grandfather Étienne Szeemann, a famed hairstylist and inventor. Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us, includes approximately 1,200 objects from the Getty Research Institute’s Harald Szeemann Archive and Library and private collections.
Harald Szeemann began his work as an exhibition curator in 1957, and in 1961, at age 28, was appointed director of the Kunsthalle Bern, becoming one of the youngest museum directors in the world. He transformed the institution into an international showcase, focusing at once on current developments in contemporary art, such as kinetic art, op art, and Happenings, as well as visionary folk artists and popular culture.
The exhibition marks a significant moment in Szeemann’s development, as it set in motion a series of projects that challenged what constitutes both exhibitions and institutions, whilst redefining the practice of curating. This full-scale reconstruction is a culmination of three years of research and conservation by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Szeemann maintained most of the hundreds of elements from the original exhibition, including furniture, and this presentation carefully reproduces it, complete with family photographs, his grandfather’s art collection, household objects, and the fascinating tools of the hairdressing trade.
Find out more information about the exhibit HERE.