New York

Jörg Immendorff

Michael Werner | New York

In the early ’80s, when German neo-Expressionism surged through American galleries and museums, the venemous attack mounted against the new painting (most notably by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh) alternately took exception to the young painters’ lack of authenticity, and to their decadent style and regressive politics. The unfortunate side effect was a cementing of already stratified perceptions of postwar German art: the “good” German was the benevolent Professor Joseph Beuys, whose blending of mythology, mysticism, and social idealism atoned for past nationalistic sins; the “bad” Germans were the renegade expressionist imitators, garishly flexing their painterly muscle. Expressionism’s Pyrrhic victory in this esthetic cold war skirmish did more than collapse the politics of praxis into a stylistic argument; it contributed to an intellectual isolationism by foreclosing on a vital chapter of

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