Graham Bader

  • Thomas Ruff

    Having earned early attention with his monumentally scaled late-’80s portraits, Thomas Ruff has since spent his career exploring the gamut of photography’s genres and structures.

    Having earned early attention with his monumentally scaled late-’80s portraits, Thomas Ruff has since spent his career exploring the gamut of photography’s genres and structures: from NASA satellite images and wartime night-goggle views in his “cassini” and “Nächte” series, respectively, to political propaganda and Internet pornography in his “Plakate” and “Nudes.” In what will be the artist’s first comprehensive show in Germany in more than a decade, the Haus der Kunst’s career-spanning retrospective will showcase works reaching from Ruff’s early “Interieurs,”1979, to

  • “Gerhard Richter: Panorama”

    Organized with an eye to the distinct historical contexts and diversity of aesthetic modes in which Richter has worked, “Panorama” promises a new look at the artist just in time for his eightieth birthday in February.

    A decade after MoMA’s much-contested but hugely popular Gerhard Richter retrospective, Tate Modern curators Nicholas Serota and Mark Godfrey, in a departure from the 2001 exhibition’s painting-only approach, will survey the German artist’s career by looking chronologically and comprehensively across a half century of practice. Including, in addition to paintings, a selection of drawings and photographs, as well as the largest assortment of Richter’s glass works ever assembled, the show will also be the first outside Germany to present the monumental


    REVIEWING THE 1961 PITTSBURGH TRIENNIAL in the pages of Art International, William Rubin lamented the shallow ubiquity of gestural abstraction within both the show and contemporary painting more broadly. “The dominant avant-garde mode of painting in the late fifties,” he wrote, “(substantially the same throughout the world though known by different and confusing names, e.g., Abstract Expressionism, Tachism, etc.) seems to have allowed for less variety, less inventiveness, and less individual profile than any other major style in the history of modern art.”¹ No wonder, then, that when Roy


    AFTER MEETING KURT SCHWITTERS in December 1919, the Berlin Dadaist Richard Huelsenbeck famously derided him as a “lower-middle-class Victorian” stuck in a “static, snug, middle-class world”—and, even worse, “the Caspar David Friedrich of the Dadaist revolution,” a retrograde in radical’s clothing.¹ Schwitters, whose first major US exhibition in nearly three decades (curated by Isabel Schulz and Josef Helfenstein) is currently on view at the Menil Collection in Houston, certainly did his part to encourage such opinions. Not only did he reside in Hannover, the provincial German metropolis of

  • Gerhard Richter

    Gerhard Richter: Writings 1961-2007, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dietmar Elger, New York: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2009. 600 pages. $55.

    Gerhard Richter: Early Work, 1951-1972, edited by Christine Mehring, Jeanne Anne Nugent, and Jon L. Seydl. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum/Getty Research Institue, 2010. 176 pages. $50.

    Gerhard Richter (October Files 8), edited by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. 188 pages. $18.

    Gerhard Richter: A Life In Painting, by Dietmar Elger, translated by Elizabeth M. Solaro. Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 2010. 408 pages $

  • Jeff Koons

    IN APRIL 2004, the New York Times Magazine published an excerpt from the then forthcoming book by David Brooks, the newspaper’s main op-ed purveyor of commonsense banalities. Titled “Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia,” the essay argued that exurbia—that land of megachurches, McMansions, and endless fields of perfectly groomed grass—was a uniquely American heaven on earth. This paved idyll, Brooks contended, is driven by what he termed “the Paradise Spell”:

    [The Spell] is . . . the tendency to see the present from the vantage point of the future. It starts with imagination—the ability

  • E. L. Kirchner

    Looking back from the Weimar years to the eve of World War I, this exhibition will present, for the first time together in New York, seven of the Berlin streetscapes Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted after moving to that city in 1911.

    Following last year's presentations of “Dada” at MoMA (which featured, in part, Berlin rabble-rousers like George Grosz, John Heartfield, and Raoul Hausmann) and the Metropolitan Museum's survey of Neue Sachlichkeit Verism, “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s,” along comes the work of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to complete something of a Berlin trilogy. Looking back from the Weimar years to the eve of World War I, this exhibition will present, for the first time together in New York, seven of the Berlin streetscapes Kirchner painted after moving to that city in


    With its unflinching portrayals of villainous politicians, maimed veterans, sex-trade casualities, and rapacious tycoons, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s” presents a riveting picture of a troubled time unnervingly resonant with our own. For art historian GRAHAM BADER, these images betray the signs of an intensifying subjugation of biology to politics, with implications for how the state—and artists—approach the human body today.

    WHOEVER IS DESIGNING the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s signage must have a wry sense of humor. How else to explain the recent pairing of a gaudily made-up transvestite and a sternly elegant Greek god in the museum’s ancient art galleries, where a fortuitously placed sign directing visitors to “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s” makes it appear as if the looming cross-dresser from a 1927 painting by Christian Schad is sneaking up to peck the marble Hermes at her side? Situated immediately outside “Glitter and Doom”’s entrance, and thus serving as a kind of quasi-preface to the show

  • Candida Höfer

    The Norton Museum of Art’s installation of “Architecture of Absence,” the first North American survey of the work of German photographer Candida Höfer, opened with an auspicious face-off. In the small entry gallery, two recent sixty-inch-square C-prints depicting empty auditoriums stared across the space at ten smaller photographs, double hung and dating back to 1979, showing a selection of interiors—lecture halls, museum galleries, dining rooms, transit stops, theaters. This introduction concisely encapsulated the terms that have dominated Höfer’s practice since the late 1970s: The public

  • “High & Low”

    October 7 isn’t just the day, in 1990, that the long-awaited exhibition “High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture” opened at the Museum of Modern Art; it is also the date, one year earlier, that the US Congress finally resolved to keep the really low out of the high, at least where federal funds were concerned. The legislation passed that afternoon in 1989, with the aim of blunting Senator Jesse Helms’s attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts by a compromise agreement that prohibited funding of “obscene” art, was—of course—a mess. If the courtroom definition of obscenity excluded work