de Appel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10, Amsterdam
Crap Shoot is a metaphor used mainly in America to describe a gambling situation. ‘Craps’ is a casino game played with two dice; to ‘shoot craps’ is literally to throw the dice. The curators of Crap Shoot - the participants in the Curatorial Training Programme of 1995/96: Annie Fletcher (1971, Dublin), Nina Folkersma (1969, Amsterdam), Clive Kellner (1968, Johannesburg), Kay C. Pallister (1968, London/New York) and Adam Szymczyk (1970, Warsaw) - decided to use this title as they thought it described the process of making the show. As is usual in gambling, the exhibition had a limited amount of possible outcomes. The space, the time and the curators were given, but the artists and what they made were variable. These artists - Jes Brinch & Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Maurizio Cattelan, Jeroen Eisinga, Kendell Geers and Stefan Halter & Franz Gratwohl - had the reputation of being unpredictable. Knowing them, it was impossible to predict what they would make of Crap Shoot. No pre-existing works were allowed. After having seen the exhibition space of De Appel, the artists presented their rough ideas to the curators. The show was left ‘up in the air’, however, until the ‘dice landed’ on April 12. The works in the exhibition were not inclined towards sweeping revolutionary gestures, but rather towards smaller, radical actions meant to overturn existing notions of reality. As far as the respective works could be compared, all of the projects expressed a refined sense of humour, an anti-PC attitude and an ironic regard for the overwhelming context of the art world. They raised the question how it is still possible for artists to be subversive. There was the intention to undermine the existing order, but at the same time the organizers of the exhibition knowingly raised the issue of whether or not the subversive actions in Crap Shoot weren’t immediately neutralized by the art world. During the exhibition, two editions of the Crap Shooter, a free paper in English, were published. Ten thousand copies of each edition were distributed. The Crap Shooter included contributions by Otto Berchem, Stuart Morgan, David Shrigley, Eric Troncy, Dominique Eigenmann, Konrad Bitterli, Adriana Vergeer, Dick Tuinder, Willem Velthoven, Kim Levin and Anand Zenz, plus all of the participating artists and organizers of the exhibition. Both editions are currently out of print.