Ingrid Rein


    ROSEMARIE TROCKEL'S KNITTED PICTURES would certainly strike one as odd if one happened upon them in a museum set aside for the display of works involving the disciplines and concerns of the crafts. Their size as well as Trockel’s tough choices of patterns would be the tell-tale signs that something was afoot. Take this fact and add it to the information that the knitted pictures are made for, exhibited in, and position themselves in a sphere that has, in Modern culture, traditionally set itself apart from the crafts—the fine arts—and one arrives at the issue that no matter where these textile

  • Walter Dahn

    Walter Dahn asks in his paintings about the how and why of what he is doing, about the sustained kick that the painting is supposed to induce both in the painter and his audience. Dahn asks and answers as a painter, not as an illustrator of a concept of art. The large paintings shown here consist mainly of dark, simple images—either trademarks of English jewelers (which he also uses for the logo of his rock band) or “trademarks” of other artists. Painted on bright white or ivory backgrounds, these images completely dominate the pictures. In The Jewelers III and IV, both 1986, the emblems, which

  • Hella Berent

    Hella Berent’s lofty aspirations and passionate urge for self-realization are given expression in drawings and installations that convey abundant intellectual energy through a vocabulary of suggestive, fragmentary forms. Within a force field of dense, very dark planes of color, cubelike forms, and jagged trails of light, experiences of the self and of the world flow together to create a sensual view of reality magnified to cosmic proportions. We feel the presence of idiosyncratic, open spaces through the associations they evoke, activated by the emotional dynamics of the strokes and the intensity

  • “Die 60er Jahre: Kölns Weg zur Kunstmetropole vom Happening zum Kunstmarkt”

    Cologne was never an actual center for any of the important ’60s art movements. None of them was born here, not Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art, Fluxus, Happenings, nor actionism. But Cologne’s transformation into a European art metropolis did begin in that decade, on the fertile ground of a vital intermediary scene in a relatively open climate, in spite of infringements by the police and courts. In “Die 60er Jahre: Kölns Weg zur Kunstmetropole vom Happening zum Kunstmarkt” (The ’60s: Cologne’s emergence as an art metropolis from the Happening to the art market), a surprisingly lively mixture of

  • “De Sculptura”

    The show’s straightforward title promised honesty, but its precious subtitle, “Tu Sculptura Felix Nuba—Spatium” (You, happy sculpture, marry—space), a paraphrase of the famous Hapsburg dynastic motto, swiftly revealed curator Harald Szeemann’s exhibition strategy: the legitimization and ceremonious conquest of space through sculptures specifically chosen for the site. Szeemann’s three-generation show from Joseph Beuys to the 28-year-old Austrian Heimo Zobernig, was meant to be neither an exemplary survey nor a history of developments or ideas.

    This enabled Szeemann to delete some of the standard

  • Hommage à Beuys

    The blow dealt by Joseph Beuys’ death, on January 23, 1986, swelled the number of artists initially participating in “Hommage à Beuys” (originally planned for Beuys’ birthday, in May) to include 70 European and American artists. But few of these artists—in response to a request by Bernd Klüser, Beuys’ Munich dealer, and one of the show’s coorganizers—actually sent works especially created to honor their great colleague, who, according to Hermann Nitsch in his artist’s statement, “gave art the widest responsibility and thus ushered in a new understanding of art” The majority of these often

  • Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts: Bilder und Skulptur 1905–1985

    This compendium of 20th-century German art, organized by Christos M. Joachimides, Norman Rosenthal, and Wieland Schmied, was originally designed for the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The show had placed its bets on persuading the British public of the accuracy of its arguments with a superb sculpture and painting exhibit. The original assembly of these exhaustively viewed little masterpieces was the only convincing argument against the roaring criticism of the show in Stuttgart, where several pieces on loan had been either exchanged for lesser works or withdrawn. The criticism centered on the

  • Helmut Federle

    Among the neo-Constructivists in the “Geometria Nova” show at the Kunstverein Munich last spring—the Swiss artists Helmut Federle and John M. Armleder, the American Matt Mullican, and the Austrian Gerwald Rockenschaub—Federle, the oldest of the quartet, is closest to the spirit of geometric abstraction. Federle’s art is based less on the concrete rationalist branch of the Zurich School than on Suprematism, whose visual tension is built on the interaction of constructivist imagery and emotional content. Through this respectful proximity and emotional earnestness Federle’s work differs from


    There’s no such thing as a good painting about something.
    —Ad Reinhardt

    PRESUMABLY HE WOULD DENY IT, but for me something about Gerhard Merz resembles the climber pressed to the sheer cliff-face in this German painter’s Aus den Alpen (From the Alps, 1985).The climber’s position appears extreme, forcing the anxious viewer to ask, Where can he go from here? Applied to Merz, this is a redundant question, for the artist is constantly posing it himself, at least in those works not phrased as a series of derivations and variations. More often he conceives his works individually, leaping from one

  • “German Art since 1960 from the Collection of Prince Franz of Bavaria”

    München, Schlusslicht der deutschen Kunstszene” (Munich, taillight of the German art scene): this battle cry didn’t seem much of an exaggeration at the end of the ’70s, and if Munich, as the former seat of the Wittelsbach family, upheld its reputation as an art capital, it was thanks only to the cultural monuments of its former royal house. Ludwig I’s visionary daydreams of a neoclassical Athens-on-the-Isar, or the romantic kingdom of God conceived by Ludwig II along the lines of a Gesamthunstwerk, failed to inspire the native Bavarian citizens to comparably significant visions of their own,

  • “Arte Austriaca 1960–1984”

    Vienna’s fondly preserved tradition of intrigue is shocking only to outsiders. For the native art folk, unraveling the feuds within a very argumentative, intellectually close family is savored as a natural ingredient of daily creativity. Under such circumstances, the mere fact of this exhibition is an accomplishment for curator Peter Weiermair. The show united several generations and factions for the first time in a single survey; moreover, its overly generous (because overly localized) selection of 35 artists made for a pleasing, almost pastoral exhibition. Missing from Weiermair’s museum

  • Jiri Georg Dokoupil

    Jiří Georg Dokoupil: the name almost seems a synonym for change. But the mutability of Dokoupil’s work reflects more than his fundamental skepticism toward the idea of stylistic consistency within an artist’s oeuvre. Moving from approach to approach sparks his imagination, and simultaneously clears the viewer’s head of remembered images. One has to look with a fresh eye, turning one’s attention to the picture at hand and not to developments within a personal style.

    Successfully fulfilling this program, these six night pieces from the “Geschichten aus dem Jenseits des Universums” series (Stories