Otto Künzli

THE MANHATTAN PIECE
1987
paper, linen, rubber, brass, urinol
3 1/4 x 4 x 1 1/8 inches
edition of 350

Senior Swiss artist Otto Künzli is renowned for his conceptual and playful approach towards adornment. The Manhattan Piece was inspired by a trip to New York in the 1980s, in which the iconic sight of steam venting from the streets inspires a thought – the city is a body – and a wearable object. Like a piece of technical equipment, it comes with an instruction book that demonstrates how to clip the part together, and suggestions about how it might be worn, to channel breath or smoke from the wearer’s mouth to the front of their blouse or jacket, or for the more daring, their pierced ear. With the pipe hidden under clothing, the human body gives off drifts of white smoke just like the Manhattan streets. Künzli taught at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, and is highly regarded for his minimalist yet meticulously crafted work that references cultural phenomena, utilizing the power of metaphor and iconography with wit and sophistication. In 2013 the Die Neue Sammlung, Munich, organized an international retrospective of his work and published a comprehensive monograph, which includes The Manhattan Piece.

estimated retail value: $450

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courtesy of the artist and galerie rosemarie jäger, hochheim, germany
gallery website: rosemarie-jaeger.de