The Conference of the Animals: An Artist's Talk with Ulrike Müller

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 7 - 8pm

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Detail of outline drawing for artist Ulrike Mueller’s mural-in-process, The Conference of the Animals, 2020. Approximately 40 x 100′. Installation view, Queens Museum, New York © Ulrike Mueller

Detail of outline drawing for artist Ulrike Mueller’s mural-in-process, The Conference of the Animals, 2020. Approximately 40 x 100′. Installation view, Queens Museum, New York © Ulrike Mueller

The Queens Museum and The Cooper Union School of Art are pleased to present an artist’s talk by Ulrike Müller, The Cooper Union’s Fall 2019 Alex Katz Chair in Painting. Müller will discuss her new commission for the Queens Museum’s Large Wall, The Conference of the Animals, currently on pause during the Museum’s temporary closure. 

The Conference of the Animals takes its title from German writer Erich Kästner’s children’s book The Animal’s Conference (1949) written in the aftermath of WWII. The story is a political satire about a group of animals who, frustrated by the inefficacy of human international conferences, convene to save the planet.

In her enamel paintings, woven wool rugs, and works on paper, Müller’s seemingly abstract vocabulary of colors and shapes is emotionally and politically charged, and encourages figurative readings. Past installations of her works have featured colored walls as backdrops. For the Queens Museum, she foregrounds the painted wall and presents giant animal-like shapes. Their muted palette and monumental scale draws on 20th century histories of public art and muralism, while also making reference to the expansive miniature at the heart of the Queens Museum: the Panorama of the City of New York. Müllers interest in the city, scale, and audiences extends into her collaboration with curator and critic Amy Zion, whose project 120 Years of Children Drawing New York City, an exhibition of contemporary and historic children’s drawings of New York City, will coincide and overlap with Müller’s mural. 

Please click here to register for the Zoom talk.

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The Queens Museum would like to acknowledge this project is part of QM’s participation in the nationwide initiative Feminist Art Coalition.
The Conference of the Animals was produced in collaboration with Phileas and with the generous support of legero united | Major support provided by Helen and Charles Schwab and the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Additional support provided by Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson, Alexandra Bowes, JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey LLLP, and Putter Pence. Special thanks to Benjamin Moore, Callicoon Fine Arts, and Gensler. The organizers of 120 Years of Children Drawing New York City gratefully acknowledge our partner, the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lambent Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. The official hotel sponsor of the Queens Museum is Boro New York.
  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.