In the 1920's, the Surrealists played the parlor game "cadavre exquise" or "exquisite corpse" in which they passed around a sheet of paper to three or four players who would collaborate on drawing a picture of a body. The first participant would draw the head and shoulders of the "corpse" and then fold over and hide his portion and pass the paper onto another player who would create the torso. The upper portions of the work were folded and hidden before being passed onto a final player who would complete the composition by adding the legs and feet.
Over 200 contemporary artists have participated in a year-long project that revives this collaborative process and "celebrates the themes of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition" (from show's press release). Called the Exquisite Corpse Project, the results are on exhibit at Gasser/Grunert for three weeks. Curated by artist David Salle and managed by Tanja Grunert, proceeds from the sales of the Exquisite Corpse Project will go to the international contemporary dance company Armitage Gone! Dance.
Measuring 30 x 16 inches, the 135 works were created during drawing parties or were shipped from one artist to another. The artists did not know whom they were collaborating on their piece with and were not allowed to view the work done by the preceding artist. Some of the artists who participated include: Salle, Vito Acconci, Ghada Amer, Laurie Anderson, John Baldessari, Ross Bleckner, Olaf Breuning, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Francesco Clemente, Chuck Close, George Condo, Tracy Emin, Invader, Chantal Joffee, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Josephine Meckseper, Tom Otterness, Tony Oursler, Richard Phillips, Anselm Reyle, Andres Serrano, Dana Schutz, Joel Shapiro, and many more.
It's fun viewing the unique and playful works and seeing how the artists' varying styles work together. Some of the end results are terrific and make it hard to believe there wasn't any peeking involved. Check out the Exquisite Corpse Project before the exhibition closes on November 6th. Learn more at gassergrunert.net and see more of the "corpse" drawings at armitagegonedance.org.