New York

Georg Baselitz

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

Let’s take Georg Baselitz at his word: he’s not a painter of figures or figural elements but of abstract works. His use of the figure is simply his way of restoring credibility and vitality to abstraction after the standardization of its gestural and geometric modes. Baselitz was faced with the same problem as Frank Stella, but instead of trying to solve it by creating a new abstract space through sculptural/architectural artifice, he returned to and manipulated that previously rejected old bugaboo, the figure. Baselitz deliberately put this difficulty in his path to rejuvenate abstraction. It is a self-imposed obstacle, a ball-and-chain intended to make abstract art move more vigorously, if only because it has more dead weight to lift. The figure is a corpse that Baselitz wittingly “stumbles” on; his works are in effect abstract art’s effort to right itself, making excited moves to catch

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