Gregor Schneider: Publicity to die for (2008)

"I want to display a person dying naturally in the piece or somebody who has just died. My aim is to show the beauty of death."—Gregor Schneider

Kim Min Su (Editor of Art Design Publicity) , K. Kocia-Martinez
Art Design Publicity at ADC | 1 October 2010

As the discussion-generating German artist opens his latest show at the Sadie Coles HQ power gallery in London, we reflect on a selection of Gregor Schneider’s 2008 publicity outputs. Specifically, we’ve compiled ones that refer to his interest in offering one of his art installations for a terminally ill person to die in—or something comparable. This triggered a full-on international, sensation-junkie journo frenzy to "inform" their readers—from the UK to Germany, Canada to Chile, South Africa to Sweden, and Russia to China and Japan to Australia.

We however wonder: while "goth rock" Gregor Schneider describes the response as unexpected and overwhelming, was this public "discussion" all really a coincidence and brand-damaging—or was it a low-cost media/communications coup that strengthened the brand, was waiting to happen— and worth it?

Below are just a sample of the publicity outputs, sorry, we mean "media coverage".

For rough foreign language translations, see Google translate.

18 April 2008: On Friday, the firecracker is lit...

Nate Archer. (18 April 2008). Gregor Schneider plans to exhibit a dying human. designboom (Italy).

Thorsten Dörting. (18 April 2008). Künstler will Sterbenden ausstellen. Spiegel Online (Germany).

Holger Liebs. (18 April 2008). Da geht noch was. Sueddeutsche (Germany).

Brian Sewell. (18 April 2008). Before... and after; The Wellcome Trust’s exhibition of portraits showing people shortly before and after their deaths finds both dignity and beauty in its subjects. The Evening Standard (London, UK). (Mention).

(18 April 2008). Artista alemão quer transformar morte humana numa "performance". Público (Portugal).

(18 April 2008). German artist seeking volunteers willing to die for art. (USA).

(18 April 2008). Художник хочет сделать смерть искусством. Open Space (Russia).

19 April 2008

Wolfram Goertz. (19 April 2008). Gregor Schneider will einen Sterbenden zeigen. Rheinische Post Düesseldorf (Germany).

Ulf Poschardt. (19 April 2008). Krawallschachtel als Avantgarde. Welt Online (Germany). (in Welt am Sonntag hard copy the following day.)

Jeroen De Preter. (19 April 2008). Kunstenaar zoekt terminaal zieken om in naam van de kunst te sterven. De Morgen (Belgium).

Gerhard Charles Rump. (19 April 2008). Künstler will Menschen sterben lassen; Gregor Schneider sucht Kandidaten. Berliner Morgenpost (Germany).

(19 April 2008). Der Künstler Gregor Schneider will Sterbende ausstellen. Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany).

(19 April 2008). Gregor Schneider will Menschen sterben lassen. Bild (Germany).

(19 April 2008). Heute in den Feuilletons: "Verzerrung der Wirklichkeit". Spiegel Online (Germany). (Mention).

(19 April 2008). Kunst mit Sterbendem? Rheinische Post Düesseldorf (Germany).

(19 April 2008). Künstler plant Live-Tod in Haus Lange. Rheinische Post Düesseldorf (Germany).

(19 April 2008). Künstler will Todkranke ausstellen. Rheinische Post Düesseldorf (Germany).

20 April 2008: It’s Sunday—Will the firecracker fizzle out?

Wolfram Goertz. (20 April 2008). Künstler will Sterbenden ausstellen. Rheinische Post (RP) Online (Germany).

Christiane Hoffmans. (20 April 2008). Auch sterben ist eine Kunst. Welt am Sonntag (Germany).

Andrew Johnson. (20 April 2008). Death: art’s final taboo. The Independent (UK).

(20 April 2008). Nachrichten (Todes-Kunst umstritten). Berliner Kurier (Germany). (Mention).

Click below to see more of the publicity outputs—with automated music: