Max Wechsler

  • Peter Roesch

    This retrospective exhibition of Peter Roesch’s works was divided into a painting section and a drawing section. The paintings dominated the exhibition; they extended like a giant frieze over the four walls of the central gallery space. Then in the dark, windowless cellar one discovered a cabinet—almost, paradoxically, like an illuminated tomb—with the same number of drawings as there had been paintings. This division is not a qualitative one; rather it demonstrates an equivalency of both mediums for Roesch. The mediums correspond so fully that one can speak of a mutuality. Also, there are no

  • Bruce Nauman

    In this exhibition, Bruce Nauman’s sculptures and installations from the past five years were viewed in the context of representative examples of his oeuvre from the museum’s permanent collection, dating back to the ’60s. Included is the 1967 spiral neon sign that reads, “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths,” along with a dynamic neon piece Sex and Death by Murder and Suicide, 1985. At first glance, the two works might be regarded as opposites, but they actually demarcate the poles of Nauman’s oeuvre, which, in the course of its development, has become increasingly radical

  • Lisa Milroy/Bethan Huws

    Maybe it was only a byproduct of these dog days, but the white grounds in Lisa Milroy’s paintings suddenly seemed to turn into imaginary snowscapes. For an instant, they were transformed into white, soft, indeed cloudy covers, on which the lovingly painted everyday objects seemed to rest gently. Before a work entitled Sailors’ Caps, 1985, consisting of five stacked rows of five sailors’ caps with dark visors, my heat-induced mirage clued me into the unobserved spatiality of these paintings. At first, each row of caps gained its own spatial depth and identity; then, seen in terms of the totality,

  • Adrian Schiess

    Though Adrian Schiess’ art appears impeccably clear and precise, it eludes classification as either painting or sculpture. One cannot even say for sure whether this exhibition is an installation in the usual sense of the term, or simply a group of individual paintings. The title Flache Arbeiten (Flat works, 1989) seems to indicate a collection of individual pictures; yet the arrangement of the panels in space has more to do with the overall conception that motivates the installation than with “composition” in any normative sense. What we see in the vast, brightly illuminated room is a regular

  • Günter Tuzina

    A deliberately reduced vocabulary of color and form lends Gunther Tuzina’s oeuvre its special appeal. This does not necessarily mean that the pictorial possibilities are limited. Within the parameters Tuzina sets, he pursues diverse modes of expression and employs various media: drawing, painting,sculpture, and various hybrids. The fundamental structure of his paintings is based on a vertical rectangle that deviates more or less from the right angle, and that is subdivided horizontally or diagonally. This elementary form, originally derived from the ground plan of a basilica, functions as a

  • Jurgen Partenheimer

    The catalogue of this show contains a reproduction of the invitation to Jürgen Partenheimer’s show at Artists Space in 1982; it pinpoints the deeper meaning of his work. In this photograph, the artist himself, standing at the center of a primitive seesaw, is shown matter-of-factly balancing a typewriter and a picture. The photo suggests that Partenheimer is nimbly maintaining an equilibrium between the two poles of verbal and visual language. However, as he lucidly demonstrates in his drawings, with their manifold inclusions of free or bound letters of the alphabet, his goal is not to pit verbal

  • Jan Vercruysse

    For this exhibition, Jan Vercruysse installed a self-contained array of works, which emanate both allure and genteel rejection. The overall composition and the meticulously polished refinement of the individual pieces casts a seductive spell; the perfect surfaces simultaneously keep us at arm’s length and leave us to ourselves.

    This multivalent game of attraction and repulsion is a concrete theme in one of the artist’s relatively early works, Lucrèce (Lucretia, 1983), which deals with the story of the beautiful Roman matron who, after being raped, took her own life for the sake of her honor. In

  • Maria Lassnig

    Maria Lassnig has called this exhibition Mit dem Kopf durch die Wand (Headfirst). While her title can be construed as alluding to her artistic evolution, it is also the name of a painting that Lassnig completed in 1985. In it, a stretched yellow-primed “painting within a painting” looms diagonally into the pictorial space, separating two figures on either side of it. The two figures are virtually pilloried within the canvas. The picture-within-a-picture motif describes an existential theme, one that more or less dominates Lassnig’s work. The confrontation of painter, painting, and subject matter

  • “Bilderstreit” at the Rheinhallen, Cologne

    The profane and very intense fight unleashed by “Bilderstreit” (Picture fight) has focused not so much on the chosen artworks as on the market dynamics and power positions in the current art business, with even a majority of Cologne art dealers actually signing a joint declaration protesting what they called a “market-politics selection” of artists and works in the show. Furthermore, several artists objected more or less sharply—Anselm Kiefer and Donald Judd indeed very vehemently—to the inclusion of their pieces. And finally, with very few exceptions, almost every West German art critic has

  • Franz Wanner

    The ten large-format paintings shown here (all untitled, 1988) exemplify Franz Wanner’s basic mode of work during the last two years. They demonstrate a highly self-willed development that is obstinately committed to frugality. He draws on his intrinsic personality as a sculptor, articulating it in all aspects of his work—the subject matter as well as the painterly rendering.

    For one thing, there are the surfaces: the pigments are deliberately built up as earth-like, crusty deposits. Wanner also develops an unusual spatiality in his paintings. In his work of the early ’80s, he made frugal

  • Johannes Geuer

    This exhibition offered a series of 33 identically sized paintings by Johannes Geuer. Completed between 1986 and 1988, they bear the overall title “Polaroids.” The title is used metaphorically: the paintings are not necessarily based on Polaroid photographs. Geuer takes a conceptual approach; he provides a framework in order to project his own images as visions and to keep them captive. The immediately recognizable photographic subject matter of these paintings forms a thematic context: not only does it supply a self-evident touch of privacy, the character of a family album documenting the most

  • Siegfried Kaden

    The accent of this exhibition lies on the Tagebuchblätter (Diary pages), drawings from 1971–83. They are accompanied by a number of small-format paintings from the early ’80s and by gouaches and painted graphics from 1985. While at first sight this selection may seem disparate, it soon turns out to be quite a meaningful presentation; almost peripherally, it characterizes Siegfried Kaden’s artistic sensibility in all its unruliness.

    Kaden is an artist who, although working chiefly with traditional pictorial means, can scarcely be pigeonholed. He comes off as a sort of picture generator, whose