In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art

13 January - 10 February 2012

Artists' certificates of authenticity have played a crucial role in contemporary art during the past five decades. These certi-ficates, and other administrative documentary forms, gained prominence during the 1960s, when artists were experimenting with radically altered production methods and even challenging the very physicality of the art object. Sometimes, certificates come to stand in for the artwork itself, while referring to it, serving as its deed, legal statement, and fiscal invoice. In this exhibition, dozens of documents have been digitally scanned, and are presented in facsimile format.


They offer a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes workings of many contemporary artists, exposing what is usually protected securely in inventory files, yet what in many cases actually con-stitutes the work of art. These documents serve at least two crucial functions—they validate the authorship and originality of the work, and they allow the work of art to be positioned in the marketplace as a branded product, no matter how immaterial or transient this product may be. They may also prescribe a set of instructions to be followed in order to make the work, which has been carried out in this presentation in four cases.


Certification, like delegation, is the new frontier—along with the battle on copyright boundaries—in the ever-changing landscape of intellectual property.                  


Susan Hapgood and Cornelia Lauf, Curators



Artists in the exhibition


Ruben Aubrecht

Judith Barry

Robert Barry/Stefan Brüggemann

Hemali Bhuta and Shreyas Karle

Pierre Bismuth

Marinus Boezem

George Brecht

Daniel Buren

André Cadere

Marcel Duchamp

Maria Eichhorn

Urs Fischer

Dan Flavin

Andrea Fraser

Liam Gillick

The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Hans Haacke

Edward Kienholz

Yves Klein

Joseph Kosuth

Sol LeWitt

Ken Lum

Piero Manzoni

Gordon Matta-Clark

Josiah McElheny and Allan Kaprow

Jonathan Monk

Robert Morris

Antoni Muntadas

Yoko Ono

Cesare Pietroiusti

Adrian Piper

Emilio Prini

Robert Projansky and Seth Siegelaub

Raqs Media Collective

Robert Rauschenberg

Sharmila Samant

Joe Scanlan

David Shrigley

Daniel Spoerri

Haim Steinbach


Rirkrit Tiravanija

Ben Vautier

Lawrence Weiner

Franz West

Ian Wilson

Cerith Wyn Evans

Carey Young

Andrea Zittel

Heimo Zobernig




Exhibition itinerary



De Kabinetten van de Vleeshal

Middelburg, The Netherlands
September 10 - October 9, 2011


Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa


October 14 - November 4, 2011


KHOJ International Artists’ Association

New Delhi

November 18 - December 16, 2011



Mumbai Art Room


January 13 - February 10, 2012



Nero HQ


February 3 - March 2, 2012



John M. Flaxman Library Special Sollections, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


March 30 ‑ April 28, 2012



SALT Beyoğlu


Spring 2012



The Drawing Center

New York

Fall 2012