new-york

Gerhard Richter

Marian Goodman; Sperone Westwater

In these works, Gerhard Richter looks like an Abstract Expressionist, but he isn’t. Yes, the works are holistic and gestural, and there are moments of illusion in them that make one think of sublimely blurred landscapes—look at the “waterfall” in Ohne Titel 595–3 (Untitled 595–3, 1986)—but the overall effect is more one of restraint than release, inhibition than “exhibition.” The paradox of Richter’s pictures is that they look sumptuous but are withholding in effect; for all their dynamics, they don’t project. They are full of ersatz Sturm and Drang; he gives us a coy perfectionism rather than the randomness that comes from abandonment to raw drive. His is a denatured gesture, if not entirely the quasi-manufactured pantomime of gesture it has been said to be. His pictures are treacherous: although they appear to be full of textural differentiations that would appeal to a connoisseur, their

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