John Miller - Self-Made Man

2011 - Erwerbung anlässlich des Wolfgang-Hahn-Preis

John Miller was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1954. He is not only an artist, but also Professor for Professional Practice in Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York and writes for renowned art magazines, such as Artforum, October and Texte zur Kunst. Since thirty years now, John Miller has created a diverse oeuvre comprised of painting, sculpture, photography and video, which revolves around fields of tension such as the individual, technology and society and for which he was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize in 2011. On the occasion of this award, the two-part sculpture Self-Made Man, which was created especially for the Museum Ludwig, as well as a group of photographs from the Middle of the Day series, was acquired.

Installation view Museum Ludwig, Wolfgang Hahn Prize 2011. John Miller, shown works from left to right: Self-Made Man, 2011, Untitled, 1987, Now We're Big Potatoes, 1992, Country Life, 2010, 7 Photographs of the Middle of the Day series, 2001-2005 © John Miller, Photo: Jürgen Schulzki

Middle of the Day, 2001-2005
For the Middle of the Day series, Miller takes on the role of an observer and selects scenes from everyday life as the object of his interest. In this project, which he began in 1994, Miller maps various sites and situations, which he discovered or experienced for the most part during his travels. The heterogeneity of the photos is held together by Miller’s conceptual approach: Miller shoots all images between 12:00 noon and 2.00 p.m. This time span, which can be deemed as either lunch break or working time, forms the starting point for his artistic inquiry and demonstrates that even the standardised time system cannot control everyday life with all its nuances.

Self-Made Man, 2011
The work Self-Made Man from 2011 consists of two advertising pillars and reflects on social and artistic self-marketing strategies. On one of the advertising pillars, one can see an advertisement posted by someone who calls himself a ‘self-made man’. It is a reproduction of an advertisement from the American classified advertisements website ‘Craigslist’, on which employment positions, flats and lonely heart adverts are posted. On the other advertising pillar, self-portrayals of artists from the Fluxus and Concept Art movements in the form of books, images and small artefacts are exhibited. In this way, Miller compares social and artistic self-marketing strategies.