White Columns

Rainer Ganahl

White Columns presents in collaboration with PERFORMA 13
- A Fashion Project.

November 3 – November 9, 2013
Catwalk performances:
Sunday November 3 and Monday November 4 at 7pm.
Exhibition on view:  Sunday November 3 – Saturday November 9.


White Columns is pleased to present “COMME DES MARXISTS” a fashion project by the New York-based Austrian artist Rainer Ganahl. The project will feature an exhibition of fashion-related artworks by Ganahl including a series of detourned luxury silk scarves as well as Marx-related clothes and accessories designed by Ganahl. The project will be launched with two catwalk fashion shows at 7pm on November 3 and 4. (Seating is limited and offered on a first-come basis.)
Staged in collaboration with PERFORMA 13 – the city-wide festival of performance art – Ganahl’s project continues his long-term investigations into the relationships between daily life, culture, economic systems and political structures. In a text relating to the project Ganahl states:
“Karl Marx and the use of the hammer and sickle stand for nothing else but a contemporary analysis (observation/an attempt to understand) of how capitalism works – in both just and unjust ways, with all its wealth and poverty effects (across all aspects of life around the globe.) Marx is my analytical machine that teaches me how the world goes round … I am aware that Marx still stirs emotions and that many people might disagree with my use of these symbols and my interpretations, both those who hate Marx and those who admire Marx – if so I apologize with the argument: I simply want to keep the discussion going and that I respect everybody's opinion.”

Making connections between the industrial revolution, class struggles (past and present), the recent tragedies at the Ran Plaza clothing factories in Bangladesh, the production and consumption of luxury goods, and both fine art and fashion, Ganahl’s project, underscored by his persistent use of humor, draws inspiration from sources as diverse as artists Kazimir Malevich, Blinky Palermo, Richard Serra, and Joseph Beuys; designer Karl Lagerfeld; fashion houses Comme des Garcons and Hermes; high street brands such as Benetton and Joe Fresh, and whistle blower Edward Snowden.

The clothing and accessories – designed by Ganahl – will debut in two catwalk fashion shows to be held on the evenings of Sunday, November 3 and Monday, November 4. With the clothing organized into thematic categories such as: “Marx 4 Kids”, “Comme Des Marxists”, “Snowden Marx” and “Karl Marx Visits David Zwirner on 20th Street”, the catwalk shows will feature predominantly amateur models, many drawn from New York’s community of artists.

The resulting installation – on view until November 9th – at White Columns will feature all of the clothing and accessories, video documentation of the catwalk shows, and drawings and works relating to Ganahl’s larger fashion project.

Catwalk shows: Sunday and Monday, November 3rd and 4th at 7pm. Admission is free, but space is limited and offered on a first-come basis.

“Comme Des Marxists” is presented in collaboration with PERFORMA 13 and is supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York.

White Columns and Rainer Ganahl would like to thank the following designers and artists who helped in both the interpretation and production of individual garments:
Elise Perrotta, Cem Cako, Florentina Leitner, Yesayan Hasmik, Simur Shamaev, Chrisine Marie Heist, Rachel Dainer-Best, Charlotte Linton, Luciano Raimondi, Maria Rauch, Mijia Zhang, Romana Rozsypalova, Jonny Mitchell , Hannah Proeschel, Henny Eickhorst, Julia Hartmann, Michaela Wirsig, David  Laugomer,  Che Chan, Ashley Olan, Alexandra Clark, and Liu Ya-Nan. 

Rainer Ganahl (b.1961) is an Austrian artist based in New York. He studied Philosophy and History at the University of Innsbruck, Austria; at the University of Applied Arts (in the class of Peter Weibel), Vienna; and at the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf (in the class of Nam June Paik). He was a member of the 1990/91 Whitney Independent Study Program. Ganahl’s work has been shown extensively since then including jointly representing Austria at the 1999 Venice Bienniale. Recent solo exhibitions/projects include Kunstforum, Vienna; Kunstverein Neuhausen; Alex Zachary, New York; Elaine Levy Projects, Brussels, among others. In 1991 he had a solo White Room exhibition at White Columns. His ‘Classical Music Concert’ was staged at the El Mundo department store in East Harlem in 2013 and is the subject of a new publication and live recording from Mousse Publishing and Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany.
For more information about this project: info@whitecolumns.org

White Columns / 1970 – 2013 / 43 years of support for artists

Related Press

Comme des Marxists_Art in America

Comme des Marxists_Musée Magazine

Comme Des Marxists_Oak NYC

Comme des Marxists - Gallerist NY

Marx 4 Kids

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Karl Marx Cover Up

Marx 4 Kids

Karl Marx