Blinky Palermo

Dia Art Foundation

By the time of his death in 1977 at the age of 33, Blinky Palermo was an important painter. But for Palermo painting had ceased to be merely an art medium, and had become instead a mania, a passion that both intoxicated him and drained him. No exhibition of work by Palermo (whose real name was Peter Heisterkamp) has succeeded better at making this clear than the one first presented at the Munich Haus der Kunst and later transferred to the Cologne annex of the Dia Art Foundation. Assembled by Franz Dahlem and Imi Knoebel, both close friends of Palermo, this highly provocative and illuminating show included drafts and sketches, pictures in oil and in cloth and objects, all of which revealed Palermo’s work as a creative adventure, a struggle toward the very core of painting.

Many of the characteristics that were considered essential to painting—at least in the ’60s and ’70s, the years of

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