A German artist who died young in 1968 but left behind a remarkable body of work is belatedly having his first U.S. solo show.
Peter Roehr (1944-1968) created arresting minimalist works using everyday materials like punch cards and other office supplies, and made short films that looped brief, found segments, mostly of American television commercials. Despite dying at 24, Roehr used repetition and variation to create a large ouevre in various mediums, including sound, film, collage, editioned works and texts.
The show "Extra Mileage" (May 6-June 18), at the East Village project space Osmos Address, includes rarely seen 16mm films along with collages and editioned works. Except for a 2010 screening of the films at Artists Space, this is the first exhibition of his work in New York since his inclusion in a 1993 group show at the Guggenheim SoHo. The show is organized in collaboration with Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin.
"This work represents one of the most significant positions of its time," Osmos founder Cay Sophie Rabinowitz told A.i.A. by phone. "Roehr was exploring questions that continue to be relevant, using repetition and appropriation to try to figure out the way people understand images."
Roehr studied art in Frankfurt, and showed his work in solo exhibitions there and throughout Germany during the last three years of his life. Four years after his death, Harald Szeemann included him in Documenta 5.
The artist died from cancer, Rabinowitz said, but worked up until the time of his death. "His last project, in 1968, involved a shop in Frankfurt called Pudding Explosion that sold posters and stuff," she said. "Some say it might have been a head shop."