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Gallery Text

In the German art scene of the 1980s, dominated by male painters, Cologne-based artist Rosemarie Trockel emerged as an oppositional figure. As she did then, she continues to address the body, sexuality, and violence. In Shutter (c), ragged edges and blood-red glaze allude to the object used to cast the piece: a slab of raw meat. The linear indentations, suggestive of a shutter, also evoke ribs and a spine. The work recalls traditional painting subjects, such as Dutch genre scenes of butchers’ stalls, while the shutter structure’s similarity to bones suggests the history of casting sculpture from the human body. Like her best-known work — large-scale machine-knitted panels — this sculpture combines high art traditions with craft materials. Trockel reinterprets the neatly ordered grid of modernist painting, importing its refined form into ceramics, usually a medium of craft. The grid appears as a futile attempt to tame the unrelenting materiality of the sculpture, rooted in bodily forms and tinged with the suggestion of violence.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Rosemarie Trockel, German (Schwerte, Germany born 1952)
Shutter (c)
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Stoneware with red glaze
sight: 80.1 x 61.7 x 4.9 cm
Inscriptions and Marks
  • (not assigned): verso, lower right: RT1713/A


Recorded Ownership History
Barbara Gladstone Gallery, representing the artist, 2006.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Wilhelm Winterstein
© Rosemarie Trockel / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Ceramic made from a mould formed from rare meat. Intense, unevenly applied, red glaze maintains the strong allusion to blood and flesh. The organic forms are structured by the rectilinear "grid" of a central spine and "ribs", the slats and wooden structure of the eponymous "Shutter."

Publication History

  • Thomas W. Lentz, ed., Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, 2008), p. 30, ill.

Exhibition History

  • Re-View: S118 European & American Art since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 04/09/2011
  • Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013
  • 32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 08/10/2017
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/02/2022

Subjects and Contexts

  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

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