New York

Jörg Immendorff

Anton Kern Gallery / Michael Werner Gallery

Painting must take on the function of the potato.

—Jörg Immendorff, 1966

Discussions of Jörg Immendorff’s artistic itinerary often begin with a painting from 1966, when he was still a student of Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf. The words Hört auf zu malen—“Stop painting”—are smeared over an impulsively crossed-out bed, with Beuys’s signature hat hung on the bedpost. Like Brecht’s Erst kommt das Fressen (“Grub comes first”), Immendorff’s injunction analogizing paintings and potatoes signaled a determination to make art that was humanly useful in some basic way. Shaped paintings of fat-cheeked, Buddhalike babies in lurid fleshtones—brown, yellow, red, as well as pink-served as emblematic props in Immendorff's Fluxus-inspired Happening of the late ’60s, which he christened Lidl. Named after the alleged sound of a baby's rattle, Lidl, like Dada—itself a nursery term—used regressive conduct

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