PRINT September 1981

“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 from and for the head—conceptual art, the esthetic reductions of Minimal art, and Italian Arte Povera—after the schoolroom-for-society of Joseph Beuys, after artistic experimentation with technological media, after body art, after performance art, we are now witnessing a rediscovery of simple,

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