Christine Mehring restores Wolf Vostell’s art from 1970

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Photo by David Villegas

By David Villegas
Staff Reporter

The Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of Chicago held a procession of several cadillacs along with the main piece of art on Sept. 30, which is a 1957 cadillac covered with concrete. But before that, there was a talk between MCA staff Lynne Warren and University of Chicago professor Christine Mehring on the history of this art piece by Wolf Vostell as well as how Mehring was able to restore this artwork.

Before Warren started her question-and-answer session with Mehring, she spoke about a memo Jan van der Marck wrote about Wolf Vostell’s artwork. She described how the museum covered the total cost of $2,000 dollars of this artwork through donations.

Mehring explained how when she started chairing a committee back in the summer of 2011, she engaged in a conversation in which she soon learned that other than the artworks that were visible on campus, there were more artwork which was being held in storage. She then learned of how the university had the original sculpture and said, “I happen to be familiar with Vostell’s Concrete Traffic twin sculpture, as I like to call it…” which she describes as “stationary traffic which sits smack in the middle of Cologne, on a median, on a very very busy street.”

When she came to see the sculpture for the first time, she explained that she was “just, being so exhilarated, like being felt like I found this amazing artwork… and was absolutely devastating at the same time” when she realized the sculpture was crumbling.

“On one hand, [Vostell] produced a lot of work in the 1960’s that was about Vietnam and many German artists being extremely critical of the Vietnam War … but at the same time Vostell so badly ”as a European artist, at that point a completely marginalized art market, everything had moved to the U.S.”

The exhibit is available for viewing at the University of Chicago Campus North Parking Garage located at the East entrance until spring of 2017.

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