Wolfgang Max Faust

  • Endart

    Endart is a typical West Berlin phenomenon—an artist group that has lived, worked, and exhibited outside the established art world, in Kreuzberg (a sort of Berlin equivalent of New York’s East Village), since 1980. The members of the group reject the conventional notion of the artist as a special individual. Close to the Berlin Wall in a rundown quarter of the city with an unusual population mix —pensioners, students, punks, artists, Turkish workers—Endart owns a “gallery” that changes its name and direction for almost every exhibition. Analogously, they work in all the media—painting, posters,

  • Joseph Beuys

    With the death of Joseph Beuys, in January 1986, an epoch in German art came to a close. Questions arise: in what fashion will Beuys’ work live on; how does it affect the present; and in what way will it define the future? In September 1986, in conjunction with the spectacular show at Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, this gallery presented the first large-scale exhibition of a group of works from the artist’s estate: Blitzschlag mit Lichtschein auf Hirsch (Lightning with stag in its glare, 1958–1986). The installation was organized by Heiner Bastian, a longtime intimate friend of Beuys, and brought

  • Olaf Metzel

    In 1987, Berlin—that is to say in this schizophrenic city, West Berlin and East Berlin—will celebrate the 750th anniversary of its founding. Among the activities planned for the western half of the city is a “Skulpturenboulevard” that will supply the Kurfürstendamm (Berlin’s Fifth Avenue) with “contemporary” sculpture. The artists who have been invited to participate in this project are from West Berlin, or rather do most of their work there: Frank Dornseif, Josef Erben, Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Brigitte and Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Olaf Metzel, George Rickey, Rolf Szymanski,

  • Heinz Emigholz

    Since the early ’70s the Hamburg-based filmmaker Heinz Emigholz has been producing films based on inflexible, predetermined structural concepts. His Schenec-Tady 1 bis 3 (Schenec-Tady 1 to 3, 1975) is a “Landschaftsfilm” (landscape film), a quick-fire sequence of single shots taken by a camera mounted at a set point in the landscape and programmed to turn on its axis. The “naturalness” of the landscape is translated into a series of signs that thematize the artificiality of a representation. Normalsatz (Standard rate, 1981) places this theme into a social context, reducing language and the

  • Markus Lüpertz

    Berliners were recently offered a dramatic restaging of Markus Lüpertz sculptures and paintings, primarily from the mid ’70s to the present, in four concurrent shows. Lüpertz work assimilates and transforms the formal vocabularies of Modernism—especially Cubism, but also Symbolism and gestural painting—into a flamboyant expressionistic style. What seemingly has become a necessary adjunct to the work is the public persona of the artist himself, who, with media savvy and a tremendous output of energy, insistently plays the genius, the macho man, the jewel-studded dandy—a kind of Muhammad Ali of

  • Peter Bömmels

    Pictorial depth is becoming a significant issue in the current international discussion about art. American critics have been advancing the concept of depth as a fundamental ingredient of contemporary artistic endeavor (from German neo-Expressionism to Julian Schnabel), citing Theodor W. Adorno’s characterization of depth as “a dialectic in which content, far from being expunged, surfaces again as a result of form’s relation to the irreconcilable.” From a German point of view, the American fascination with an “art of depth” is entirely understandable. Conversely, however, one has the impression

  • Thomas Wachweger

    Contemporary West German painting is currently going through a difficult phase. Following the well-publicized boom of Neo-Expressionism, doubts have begun to arise. Art has become a social spectacle to such an extraordinary degree that it has begun to suffer from its own popularity. Of course, there are still plenty of artists who offer the public just what it demands, but Neo-Expressionism’s exhaustion, its dull repetition, is clearly evident. By way of counterreaction, artists who chose to remain outside the mainstream are now becoming more visible.

    The Berlin painter Thomas Wachweger is among

  • “Back to the USA”

    This show, curated by Klaus Honnef, was intended as a corrective of the current view of art, as a straightening out of standards. Its departure point was the recognition that since the end of the ’70s discussion of art has focused mainly on Europe. The “new painting,” notably in Italy and West Germany but also in Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and France, has concentrated attention on formulations that connect up with specifically European traditions while also breaking with them, melding the most varied pictorial conventions. The attention garnered by this new art has been phenomenal—even in

  • “Master Works Of Conceptual Art”

    The announcement of this exhibition was a surprise, since for this gallery’s opening show in new space the art world had expected an exhibition of the German and Italian painting on which it has so successfully focused in the last few years. Instead, we saw a reconstruction of the artistic situation of the ’70s, during the first period of the gallery’s activity: an ensemble of conceptual works of art, documenting one of the most important instances of radical change in art since 1945. The penetration of the visual arts by language and the process of the “dematerialization of the art object,” as


    The exhibition site—a partially restored, superb neo-Renaissance palazzo in West Berlin, designed by Martin Gropius and formerly the Prussian Museum of Arts and Crafts—is itself spectacular and mnemonic. The political monstrosity slicing the city into two radically separate parts, the Berlin Wall with its land mines, runs scarcely ten meters away. The site of the former headquarters of the Gestapo is also nearby; now-filled-in cellars right beside the exhibition building were torture chambers of the SS. Here both German and world history—the rigorous division of the world into

  • “Du hast keine Chance. Nutze sie!” With It and Against It: Tendencies in Recent German Art

    “EXPRESSIONIST REVIVAL,” “VIOLENT PAINTING,” “return of the Fauves,” “back to the esthetic of shock,” or simply “artists are painting again!”—such are the reactions that have been aroused by the youngest, newest generation of German artists. Their work evokes everything from wild praise to outright enmity—in other words, strong emotional reactions, which show that these artists have struck a nerve, have hit on something. And this “something” has more than local significance, standing as it does in the context of the fundamental reorientation that Western art is currently undergoing.

    After an art