Rachel Wetzler

  • Andy Warhol, Hammer and Sickle, 1976, acrylic and silk-screen ink on canvas, 15 x 19“. From ”If Our Soup Can Could Speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties."

    Mikhail Lifshitz

    The Soviet philosopher and critic Mikhail Lifshitz would not seem, at first glance, the most obvious subject for an exhibition at a museum of contemporary art. Sometimes described as a Marxist conservative, Lifshitz spent the early 1920s as a student and then a lecturer at Vkhutemas, the state art school, only to reject the avant-garde that flourished there in favor of a return to classicism. Branded a “right-wing deviant” at the school, he took up a post as a researcher at Moscow’s Marx-Engels Institute in 1929 alongside György Lukács and spent much of the 1930s working to prove that a coherent

  •   Thomas Bayrle, Gummibaum, 1993/1994, video, black-and-white, sound, 6 minutes.

    Thomas Bayrle

    Thomas Bayrle is part of a generation of German artists who in the 1960s explored the inherent dissonance of postwar culture in a divided nation, fashioning a particular brand of Pop that cast a darker, more ambivalent glance toward the language of mass production and consumption than that of their American peers. Drawing in part on his experience with Jacquard looms while working in a textile factory in the late ’50s, Bayrle took the serial principle to an extreme, developing his signature “superforms,” mosaiclike compositions collaged from a single, miniaturized motif endlessly repeated.