Dieter Appelt

Where has Dieter Appelt been? We’ve heard of Georg Baselitz and Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, the Mühlheimer Freiheit and the Neue Wilden and, of course, Joseph Beuys, the father of them all. Since the “New Spirit in Painting” exhibition opened in London and Berlin in 1980, we’ve seen myriad German artists, including photographers like Appelt; but until now Appelt himself has been missing from the Deutsche Welle. As an apparent anticlimax, his sudden appearance in New York, in a recent retrospective at the SoHo Guggenheim, suggests that that wave has run its course. If not exactly spent, the new German art is no longer new.

It has made its point, though; it has won its bet. The new German painters of the late ’70s and ’80s satisfied a repressed longing for the figure, and released the pent-up emotions associated with it. At the same time, they remained true to Modernism

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