Robert Ryman

Haus der Kunst

Does the concept of a retrospective imply chronology? The organizers of the Robert Ryman survey at the Haus der Kunst in Munich think not. The press release announcing the “fifty-work” show, cocurated by Bernhart Schwenk in Munich and Christoph Schreier and Volker Adolphs at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, expressly states that the show is “conceived as an ‘unusual overview.’ . . . In contrast to a traditional retrospective, the exhibition . . . emphasizes the effect of Ryman’s paintings. The individual works are not presented in chronological order but rather in their atmospheric relations to one another.”

In fact, the Munich version of this show brought together not fifty works but thirty-five (the full complement can be seen in Bonn), and that number included contributions from four younger artists. The beauty of the hanging was undeniable, but no viewer could have left with a dear idea of just

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