The exhibition project A 37 90 89 – The Invention of the Neo-Avant-garde at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein is dedicated to the genesis of art practices critical of institutions since the 1960s by the example of the project space A 37 90 89 founded in Antwerp in 1969. A 37 90 89 had a decisive influence on the development of project spaces worldwide, it quintessentially influenced subsequent models of alternative art spaces, producer galleries and participatory initiatives. Founded by a progressive group of collectors, gallery owners as well as art mediators and supervised by Kasper König, the project space A 37 90 89 developed a diverse curatorial practice that tested alternative models of art production and art mediation beyond the institutions. The artists and mediators involved in Antwerp are today among the outstanding representatives of the neo-avant-garde. They formulated the radical changes of the way contemporary art is presented and received, resulting from the political and artistic upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, and expressed these in the project space A 37 90 89 in an emblematic way. By presenting works of art and diverse archive material, the exhibition A 37 90 89 – The Invention of the Neo-Avant-garde revives complex historical coherences and artistic and socio-political contexts and makes them accessible.
By taking the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) and that of the Antwerp project space A 37 90 89, the presentation and reappraisal of the historical project space A 37 90 89 reconstructs the period of social upheavals around 1968/1969 and makes it productive for our time, 50 years later. At the same time, it creates a relationship between Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and the activities in Antwerp: Having evolved over time, n.b.k. with its exhibition program, its video collection and its art lending library Artothek not only reflects the history of the neo-avant-garde in Berlin, but has also shaped it right up to the present day.
Following the approaches of A 37 90 89, the project includes the exhibition at n.b.k. along with a co-operation with the project space after the butcher. Here, Berlin’s diverse art landscape is described as a complementary unity of independent scene and institutions. In addition, A 37 90 89 – The invention of the Neo-Avant-garde is accompanied by a film program in co-operation with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art as well as discussion sessions.