Sunday, August 17, 2014

Contemporary Art: Living With Pop - A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism @ Artists Space, New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Contemporary Art has many faces and roots. One of them is Pop Art which used articles of daily use and popular magazines and transformed them into art work. In the early 1960th a group of then young artists formed in Germany. They performed art shows and happenings and called their work "Capitaistic Realism", a reference to the changes in post war Germany and the rapid economical uspwings there (Wirtschaftswunder), which had let to a sharp rise in life standards. The artists focused on "Germany`s growing consumer culture and media-saturated society" and was influenced by American Pop, writes Wikipedia (wikipedia).

The exhibition "Living With Pop - A Reproduction of Capitalist Realism @ Artists Space, New York (through August 19th 2014) reminds to the actions of these artists: Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Wolf Vostell and Konrad Lueg. 2 of them - Richter & Polke - are now super stars of the art world.

The Manhattan show (hundreds of objects, including leaflets, pamphlets, postcards, pictures, films, and correspondences)  used material that was originally displayed in Düsseldorf, Germany, in a vacated butcher shop, then in a furniture store (Möbelhaus Berges) and later in some galleries. The paintings were photographic reproductions to avoid the high costs of loans, insurance, security and transport.

I enjoyed the variety and the opportunity to take a glance on the early careers of Richter & Polke whom I admire. At the top of this post you can see Richter´s "Party" from 1963. It is an example of his paintings based on images drawn from newspapers and magazines. Then follows Pohlke´s "Freundinnen/Girl Friends" from 1965 and Richter´s "Schwimmerinnen/Swimmers" from 1965.

Above the second paragraph you find Richter`s "Porträt Schmela" (1964) and "Porträt Klinker" (1965), both are paintings of influental German art collectors. There he blurred the images by dragging a dry brush over wet pigment - a technique which is characteristic for many of Richter´s works. Below is  Richter´s "Motorboot/Motorboat" from 1965 followed (left) by Pohlke`s "Berliner (Bäckerblume)" which portraits pupular German pastries.


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