Max Wechsler

  • Alighiero e Boetti

    By adding a simple “e” (and) between his first and last names, Alighiero e Boetti makes an emblem of himself: he implies a symbolic splitting or dividing of the individual—seen positively, a doubling or multiplication of the individual. This complex duality permeates Boetti’s work, his investigation of the nature of dialectic, or of the dialectic of nature. He seeks a comprehensive synthesis in which opposites do not cancel each other out but coexist to become new. The work’s point of departure is a system or structure, an ordering principle which is then overlaid with a disorder from which the

  • “Collaborations”

    “Collaborations” brought together three artists with quite different artistic backgrounds, and representing almost three generations. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Andy Warhol form an illustrious group, and one approached the show with high expectations, yet the results of these team efforts are disappointing. The paintings, all 1984, are essentially no more than the products of addition. Basquiat’s scribbles, Clemente’s sensuous figures and faces, and Warhol’s silkscreen techniques all display visual brilliance, but rarely do they engage in any real dialogue or the kind of

  • “Skulptur Im 20. Jahrhundert”

    This unique exhibition—a private initiative, with the Basel art dealer Ernst Beyeler and art historians Reinhold Hohl and Martin Schwander the organizers—offered no more and no less than a survey of the 20th-century history of sculpture and of the art’s contemporary status. It complemented an earlier, equally ambitious project, organized in 1980 by the same group and sited in another of Basel’s parks. The previous excursion began with the late 19th century; “Skulptur im 20. jahrhundert” (Sculpture in the 20th century) started with André Derain and Pablo Picasso, thus reflecting at its outset a

  • Joel Fisher

    Joel Fisher’s linked drawings and sculptures subtly explore an area of the exhibition space between the second and third dimensions. The work can be comprehended logically up to a certain point. but then something snaps, and unfathomable reaches of space open up for interpretation. Fisher’s severe conceptual compositional modes do not restrict perception, then, but establish fixed points, rules of the game, within which viewers can embark on their own expeditions. In one section of this show, the rules were directly illustrated by the confrontation of four sculptures with the drawings from which


    THE ART OF MARCUS RAETZ can be defined in a fundamental way: as the tension between intelligence and sensibility. Nothing more can be added by way of initial generalization, for growing out of this tension is a kind of force field which sets everything else in motion and allows the art to appear in all its ambiguity of meaning. Thus an ornamental network gradually becomes readable as an objective motif, or a succession of objective motifs dissolves into ornament. The various levels of meaning are shuffled together, forming complex overlays without relinquishing their original clarity. These

  • Gunter Brus

    When Günter Brus sets to work with his lead pencils and colored pencils, his soft pastels and oil pastels, he is a visionary drunk on images, striving to encompass no more and no less than the visible and invisible cosmos. His visions and deepest feelings pour out almost deliriously, solidifying into creatures and apparitions whose intensity derives from Brus’ unconditional commitment of self. These works on paper cover much thematic ground, for in Brus’ world the cosmic is mirrored in the everyday, the everyday in the cosmic; there is no distinction between high subjects and low. This does not

  • Helmut Federle

    This show signaled a new phase in Helmut Federle’s painting. His palette, which was previously restricted to black, white, gray, and yellow, has been expanded to include green, red, blue, and orange, and his austere compositional principles have in a certain sense also been called into question. Not that Federle’s spartan work has become in any way extravagant; now as before, his canvases are characterized by their inimitable reserve, which contains both presumption and modesty. They come out of solitude—not hermetic seclusion, but a kind of self-oriented concentration on essence. This conscious,

  • Pierre Klossowski

    The strange, puzzling scenes in Pierre Klossowski’s drawings recall the old-fashioned pastime of the tableau vivant. The curiously timeless space of such tableaux evokes the story of Pygmalion—the wonderful transformation of the lifeless statue into the living love object, the transformation of the vision of life into the live vision. The tableau vivant is a kind of ritual, a conjuration of gestures and postures made symbols. That the deception may at any moment be released into movement sensitizes the viewer, concentrating his or her attention on the details of the whole.

    A similar heightened

  • Nicola de Maria

    When in the title of one of his paintings (O Alberi proteggete questa mostra: Sono uno di voi, 1982) Nicola De Maria implores the trees to stand watch over his exhibition because he is, after all, one of their own, we are not dealing with gushing, pantheistic coquetry but with a leitmotiflike expression of De Maria’s artistic credo. His creative impulse is rooted in his childhood and adolescent memories of his southern Italian origins, memories of a world of light, color, and tenderness. In his paintings he conjures up those rare moments of original sensibility to which children seem so much

  • Sol Lewitt

    The new exhibition rooms here provided nearly ideal conditions for Sol LeWitt’s new wall paintings. A generous complex of exhibition spaces has taken shape in a skylit hall that formerly served as a cafeteria, its centerpiece a square room open on one side. A room-within-a-room has thus been created, an art space that, far from camouflaging its affinity with stage space, emphasizes that quality. These spatial and atmospheric conditions contributed substantially to the effect of LeWitt’s wall paintings by introducing an element of theater and allowing them to appear in a new light.

    The work, Stars

  • Jonathan Borofsky

    This exhibition, with over 250 drawings from the years 1963–83, presented a systematic overview of an oeuvre, and permitted an ideal immersion in Jonathan Borofsky’s ideas. The great part of the work here referred emphatically to the process character of Borofsky’s art, within which the finished pictures or installations seem like ultra-real manifestations in the manner of dream images. The process is not to be understood as a forward-thrusting, linear movement; it is more a form of pulsation, forward and backward, to and from up and down. It consists in movement from a center, yet this center

  • Rebecca Horn

    Chinesische Verlobte (Chinese fiancée, 1976) was situated in the center of the show here in such a way that it connected the three exhibition spaces. This hexagonal black cubicle resembles a kiosk whose six open doors grant a view into and through it. When one enters the cubicle, a mechanism silently and slowly closes the doors, so gently that one is not tempted to withdraw. Then, in the constricting darkness inside, a whispering starts up in Chinese, an enveloping teasing and giggling. One is held captive not only literally but also by the enfolding sounds. One’s claustrophobia gradually eases,