New York

Gerhard Richter

Sperone Westwater Fischer Gallery

I’ve never believed, as Gerhard Richter once claimed, that pictures can be made according to recipes, without personal involvement, that the making of pictures isn’t an artistic act. I’ve never thought this mission impossible ever had anything to do with how or why Richter paints. The remark is 13 years old, but it’s been quoted again on an information sheet for his recent exhibition. It comes from a “textcollage” Richter made with Sigmar Polke, another artist, in 1965 (it was later exhibited in Hannover), when they were both students at the art academy in Düsseldorf. Their ’60s tabula rasa was designed to rid painting of its stifling ich, the gesture, the subjectivity; Polke decided that all dots were his friends (another quote), and polka-dotted his paintings (to simulate the raster of the printed page); Richter, painting after amateur photos, said the paintings that resulted were really

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