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Neo Rauch at the Met: para

Exhibition Dates: May 22 – October 14, 2007
Exhibition Location: Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, The Gioconda and Joseph King Gallery
Press Preview: Monday, May 21, 10:00 a.m. – noon

Neo Rauch at the Met: para presents 14 new paintings made specifically for this exhibition by the artist Neo Rauch (b. 1960, Leipzig, Germany), one of the most widely acclaimed painters of his generation. The exhibition — on view from May 22 through October 14, 2007 — is the third in the Museum's series dedicated to artists at mid-career, following exhibitions featuring Tony Oursler in 2005 and Kara Walker in 2006.

Shaped by the experience of growing up in East Germany, Rauch's paintings teeter between Surrealism and popular imagery, defying easy interpretation. Viewers are drawn into scenes replete with strange beings and ambiguous landscapes. Full of activity yet mysteriously static in feeling, Rauch's paintings are fantasy painted as fact, and many of his large-format works are populated by figures that are connected spatially, yet remain alienated and unaware of each other. With a distinctive palette of bright acidic colors contrasting with deep shadows, the artist's paintings conjure up an atmosphere of confused nostalgia and failed utopias.

Rauch has said, "For me, painting means the continuation of a dream with other means." The artist is inspired by misplaced memories and momentary perceptions that are lost before they can be named. In this vein, Rauch has titled his exhibition at the Met para. Although there are many familiar elements in the parallel world of Rauch's paintings, the situations depicted are bizarre and the normal is mixed freely with the abnormal.

Trained at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, Rauch continues to live and work in the city of his birth, and has inspired a younger generation of painters in Leipzig's thriving artistic community. Rauch's work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2006); Musée d'art contemporain de Montreal, Canada (2006); Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2004); Saint Louis Art Museum (2003); and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (2001), among other museums.

Neo Rauch at the Met: para is organized by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge of the Metropolitan's Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art. After its presentation at the Met, the exhibition will travel to the Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany (October 28, 2007 – March 30, 2008).

On the occasion of the exhibition, DuMont (Cologne, Germany) has published a related publication featuring essays by Gary Tinterow and Werner Spies, as well as excerpts of writings on Rauch's work and interviews with the artist dating from 1997 to 2007. The 114-page book with 40 color illustrations is available in the Museum's bookshop ($35) and includes all texts in both English and German.

The exhibition will also be featured on the Museum's Web site, www.metmuseum.org.

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May 18, 2007

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