The German gallery Delmes & Zander, which is known for its cutting-edge presentations of self-taught art, will close by the end of October. The Cologne-based outfit had been in business for more than three decades and in that time had developed a cult following for its offbeat exhibitions, many of them focused on artists who have yet to enter the canon.
“While societal progress is always fragile, times have changed, and we are delighted that the works of our artists have now found their place within the contemporary art context,” said Delmes & Zander’s owners, Nicole Delmes and Susanne Zander, in an Instagram post announcing their gallery’s closure.
Among the artists the gallery showcased were Horst Ademeit, whose oddball Polaroid photographs alluded to a personal cosmology; Dietrich Orth, whose paintings recorded the effects of his mental illness and the drugs administered to him; and Adelhyd van Bender, whose mysterious pieces drew on what he called an “atomic secret” that he believed was contained within a uterus in his body. In recent years, these artists have been the subject of some of their first major museum shows, with many of the exhibitions receiving praise from critics.
Sometimes the gallery’s presentations looked nothing like art at all, however. In 2015, the gallery staged “Margret: Chronicle of an Affair,” an exhibition of found materials related to a relationship between a businessman and his secretary. When a version of the show was staged at White Columns, an alternative space in New York, the show attracted coverage in non-art outlets like Jezebel and HuffPost.
Matthew Higgs, the director of White Columns, said on Instagram that Delmes & Zander had “one of the most important, idiosyncratic, and truly influential programs of any era. They will be greatly missed.”
Zander founded the gallery solo in 1988, and Delmes joined as a co-owner in 2005. Briefly, the gallery also maintained a space in Berlin in addition to its home base in Cologne. Together, Delmes and Zander brought to the gallery a trendy focus on the occult and an unusual emphasis on art that in no way catered to the tastes of the market.