Gerhard Richter German
Not on view
Together with Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter is one of the most important artists to work in the gap between painting and photography. In the 1960s, both made paintings of photographs, including tabloid tragedies and newspaper images of murder victims, fallen terrorists, and luxury goods. Painting’s terminal inability to communicate authentic feeling in a media-saturated culture, and its loss of a spiritual, sacred "aura" were expressed by both artists through depicting the photograph’s endless reproducibility and deadpan effects.
Gerhard Richter emigrated from East to West Germany in 1961, and matured artistically in the schism between a Marxist-inflected distrust of consumer culture and painting’s rarified means and an imported American-style Abstract Expressionism taught in art school. Since then, he has perhaps more than any other visual artist embodied Samuel Beckett’s declaration, "I can’t go on, I’ll go on". Through a variety of aesthetic endgames such as the painting of photographs or ghostly landscapes and abstractions that echo extinct romantic traditions, Richter portrays both the crisis of representation summed up in the Frankfurt School dictum that "there can be no lyric poetry after Auschwitz" and his desire to transcend ideology through the work. This recent work by Richter is a photograph of a painting he made after one of his early photographs.