Christoph Niemann at
Art and soccer, these are the two great passions that unite illustrator Christoph Niemann and gallerist Max Hetzler. Both live and work in Berlin today, but as they were born in the region of Stuttgart, their hearts still belong to the VfB Stuttgart soccer club. So one thing led to another, and for his first solo exhibition on occasion of the 40-year anniversary of Galerie Max Hetzler, Niemann created 32 absurd silk-screen prints that pair off the gallerist and his roster of artists with imagery from the world of soccer. The series was presented under the fictional title Galerie Max Hetzler celebrates 40 years of VfB Stuttgart and is collected in complete form for this publication.
We see formations of players, in the characteristic VfB white jersey with a red chest ring, who remarkably resemble works by Beatriz Milhazes or Richard Phillips, they embrace in tender goal celebration like a sculpture by Jeff Koons, and the stadium looks like a fabric sculpture by Ernesto Neto. Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger appear in person, while Glenn Brown, Mona Hatoum, and many others are represented in allusions to their work. Names like Karl Allgöwer and Jürgen Klinsmann or the Magic Triangle stand for the other half of the team, ball artists that any fan will count among the eternal greats of the game.
Christoph Niemann was born 1970 and after completing his studies at the University of Fine Arts in Stuttgart he moved to New York, where he lived between 1997 and 2008. His illustrations were published on the covers of magazines like The New Yorker, Time Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Wired, and ZEITmagazin. In 2010 he was inducted to the Hall of Fame of the Art Directors Club, New York. Currently Niemann is writing and drawing the column “Abstract Sunday” for New York Times Magazine from his home in Berlin.