Anselm Kiefer

The Art Institute of Chicago

Among painters working today, Anselm Kiefer is one of the few who have been able to legitimize Modernist surface presence and spectacular effects that would be somewhat suspect in the hands of artists of lesser vision. With more than 70 pieces spanning his entire career, this comprehensive traveling exhibition celebrates an artist whose cultural politics emanate from straw-strewn landscapes, pictures of cavernous interiors, and massive gray combines blistered with lead like scar tissue bearing the legacy of the Third Reich. Today, such an attempt to represent transcendence or to transmute history is in itself an audacious act that transcends “style,” invalidating comparisons with Americans like Julian Schnabel and David Salle. Post-Modernist discourse has granted Kiefer the opportunity to revive history as a subject for painting, but he does it in a tormented heroic style rooted in

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