New York

Gerhard Richter

Sperone Westwater

Gerhard Richter’s contribution to Documenta 7 was a series of bold abstract paintings in which brilliant, often acidic tones, frenetic brushstrokes, and illusions of receding space limned the dictionary of Expressionistic gestures. As arranged through the exhibition according to the installation principle of “conversations,” they seemed to be used to reinforce the pressure to paint so prominently featured in the show. But this was a distortion of Richter’s premises, which consist in a thorough demystification of the activity of painting and of its pretensions to creativity—a separation of brushstroke from the fetishism of the hand, of gesture from illusions of expression, and of space from any imposed equation with the theater of the self. This recent New York exhibition vindicated those preoccupations.

Over the past twenty years Richter has employed a range of established styles, subjects,

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