Karriere is closed after almost 8 years in the Meatpacking District.
Karriere, contemporary art & social life opened its doors for almost 8 years ago and now it’s over!
We are closed, – Karriere says thanks for many good years of art, culture, food, cocktails and not to forget the best party!
The family Hein
Karriere Bar’s name ‘Karriere’ did not begin merely as a name. Initially it was an artwork which consisted of the name and a sign for the bar window on which the name was inscribed in big chunky pink letters. This was the contribution of the artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset to the then unnamed enterprise. One of the first contributions and one of the most significant, which has since supplied the overarching name for the entire project. Elmgreen & Dragset’s works often act as gimmicks. At the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, just north of Copenhagen, the duo have created a diving board – projecting out through the window – in one of the museum’s best spaces overlooking the Sound. At the Danish National Gallery they transformed an exhibition floor into a hospital ward and at a London art fair in 2006, they constructed a full-scale replica of their gallery’s stand – complete with artworks, desk and gallerist – set next to the original stand. Elmgreen & Dragset’s works are at once both muted and spectacular. Muted because they depict a familiar reality and spectacular because they are extremely costly, demanding and eye-catching – especially considering how muted they are. This dual aspect is encapsulated in the duo’s term ‘powerless structures’, which denotes the impossibility of being heard if you occupy a position where you have no voice. The diving board at Louisiana illustrates how the art institution stages a personal freedom which is only apparent and reserved to others. In concrete terms, the window’s glazing that prevents you from ‘jumping out’ destroys the promised flip off the diving board. Naturally, it’s for your own protection and that of other visitors, but the promise is destroyed all the same. The hospital ward at the Danish National Gallery and the fake gallery stand are more direct in their criticism of specific aspects of the institution of the state and of the market economy. The works share the feature of being the continuation of a long tradition of critiques of institutions as power structures. So too with the work Karriere. It highlights the fact that the bar is an institution and a power structure in the art world: a venue where contacts are made among artists and personal careers promoted, but also a location where certain artist constituencies are cold-shouldered. Historically, many women artists, for example, have felt unwelcome at the pubs where male artists gather: The tone was frequently arrogant. This is not the case at Karriere Bar, and besides the bar received its name before opening, so no tone had been established. Elmgreen & Dragset’s piece is a pre-emptive critique that feeds into the self-definition of the institution it criticizes. An attempt, perhaps, to make the institution self-critical or indeed synonymous with the critique. Difficult to say, but one thing is for sure: give a dog a name and it sticks. Congrats on Karriere Bar, Elmgreen & Dragset! (NH)
Michael Elmgreen, born 1961, Denmark
Ingar Dragset, born 1969, Norway