The cnidarians are dying. Corals everywhere are being killed by global warming. Refusing to capitulate in the face of loss, Australian-born, California-based sister-artists Margaret and Christine Wertheim have fabulated a response using traditional handicraft techniques: their crochet reefs shimmer and swell in colors and shapes inspired by the Great Barrier Reef.
Like the living reefs they emulate, the sisters have created a collaborative installation to which over 20,000 people in 50 cities and countries have contributed. Art, science, mathematics and community practice are synthesized in work that reflects the possibilities of stitchery and the hidden history of using craft techniques for scientific representation.
Exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the sisters’ Crochet Coral Reef is now the subject of a museum-wide retrospective at Museum Frieder Burda. On the ground floor are a series of works they began in 2005, into which are incorporated crochet pieces from a group of skilled craft collaborators. Here we encounter a grove of giant Coral Forests (made from yarns, videotape, tinsel and other detritus), a Bleached Reef, an all-plastic Toxic Reef, a collection of miniature coral Pod Worlds, and new sculptures for this exhibition, including a large-scale embroidered sampler paying homage to the projects’ contributors and domestic female labor.
Alongside reefs made by the Wertheims, the project also includes Satellite Reefs generated by citizens of many countries. For Museum Frieder Burda, a new Baden-Baden Satellite Reef transforms the upper floor into a kaleidoscopic underwater world. With more than 40,000 coral pieces made by 4,000 participants from Germany and beyond, this is by far the largest Satellite Reef. Throughout Germany, people gathered to crochet and draw attention to the crisis unfolding in the world’s oceans. At the Museum, with guidance from Margaret and Christine, a dedicated team transformed this wooly outpouring into a collection of three-dimensional coral islands and vast wall-mounted sculptures.
Underlying the project is also a mathematical dimension, for many of the ruffling shapes found in both marine organisms and their crocheted siblings are based on hyperbolic geometry, an alternative to the Euclidean variety we typically learn. The Crochet Coral Reef may thus be seen as an exercise in applied mathematics melding handicraft with geometrical exploration.
At the same time, the project demonstrates parallels between biological and social evolution. For in the process of crocheting corals, each maker becomes part of a comprehensive whole, analogous to the individual polyps of living reefs that together grow collective forms blurring the boundaries between the ‘individual’ and the ‘communal.’ Collaborative, figurative, material, conceptual, artistic, scientific, feminist and playful, the Crochet Coral Reef alerts us to the reality that life on Earth is nothing if not entangled.
--> The cnidarians are dying. Corals everywhere are being killed by global warming. Refusing to capitulate in the face of loss, Australian-born, California-based sister-artists Margaret and Christine Wertheim have fabulated a response using traditional handicraft techniques: their crochet reefs shimmer and swell ...
In order to maintain the integral nature of the Collection and make it accessible to the public, a museum was built in Frieder Burda's home city of Baden-Baden. The plans have been drafted by the New York architect Richard Meier. The Museum Frieder Burda was inaugurated in the autumn of 2004 and will be fully financed and run by the Foundation Frieder Burda which was established in 1998.
The new museum for twentieth- and twenty-first-century art has been designed to integrate into the lush landscape of the Lichtentaler Allee Park and, at the same time, to harmonize in scale with the classical profile of the adjacent Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden. Great efforts were taken to preserve as many trees as possible on the site, so that the Museum Frieder Burda would be harmoniously incorporated into the nature surrounding it. The overall form and proportions of the new building correspond to the elevated plinth and entablature of the Neoclassical Kunsthalle, but each institution maintains its own tectonic identity.
The Museum Frieder Burda offers its visitors a diverse education programme for all age groups. In addition to regular public tours of the current exhibitions, we also offer private tours with experienced art educators. These tours, which are non-refundable and must be reserved in advance, include immediate entry to exhibitions without waiting or queueing.
Salon Berlin is Museum Frieder Burda’s new exhibition and project space at the Auguststraße 11- 13 in Berlin. Closely connected with the Museum in Baden-Baden, Salon Berlin, under the curatorial direction of Patricia Kamp, presents the diverse aspects of the museum programme and the Frieder Burda Collection. The exhibition space sees itself as a forum for international contemporary art, both a showroom and a space for experimentation for Museum Frieder Burda.
More than just a museum store. In addition to catalogs, art prints and posters, the Museum Frieder Burda Concept Store offers a wide range of exclusive jewelry as well as highly decorative furnishings such as vases, tableware, textiles and even individual pieces of furniture. The idea behind the concept: Everything you see can be bought.
The Concept Store can also be visited without a museum ticket. Simply contact our staff in the checkout area.