“His art is uniquely his own because it springs from his dreams.” So claims the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s introductory wall text for German painter Neo Rauch’s recent exhibition “Neo Rauch at the Met: para,” a show installed in the gallery where the museum has lately begun exhibiting contemporary artists (Rauch’s is the third installment, following Tony Oursler and Kara Walker). Thus Rauch, the most prominent of the Leipzig painters, is implicitly aligned by the Met with the Surrealists whose work hangs just a few rooms away (their imagery was also, notoriously, determined by the subconscious). But the juxtaposition is precarious; it disregards arguably more significant influences, primarily Sots Arts’ caricaturing of the uncritical celebration of Soviet communism, but also the stylings of his elder countrymen Jörg Immendorf, Sigmar Polke, A. R. Penck, et al.
Mostly purged from “para”’s
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.