Anselm Kiefer

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On the day that I saw the exhibition of Anselm Kiefer’s works on paper—ranging in date from 1969 to 1993, they had been kept together by the artist until the Metropolitan acquired them in 1995 and summarily trace the history of his development—I read an article on the New York Times website with the title: “The New Europeans: Multilingual, Cosmopolitan, Borderless.” I quickly realized that Kiefer is not a new European. Whether invoking the pagan history of German legend and myth or the more recent Nazi past (both passé concerns in the “new Europe”), his work seems provincial in purpose, however cosmopolitan its means. If this exhibition was meant to embalm Kiefer—the Met, after all, is the final resting place for eternal art in this city of transient work—then it succeeded far too well.

Walking through the show, I deliberately suspended my awareness of Kiefer’s irony. This aspect of his

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