new-york

“Painting: Now and Forever, Part II”

Greene Naftali Gallery/Matthew Marks Gallery

“Du hast keine Chance. Nutze sie!” You have no chance. Use it! So ran the title of an essay in this magazine in 1981, by Wolfgang Max Faust, quoting the then-young Neue Wilde painters of Berlin. To seize the chance you didn’t have, as if it actually was a chance—that was a viable motto for painting back then; for ten or fifteen years the form had been well on the dull side of the cutting edge, and though plenty of painters were working, the breaking news was elsewhere. In the context of the time, too, the slogan rhymed painting with punk, if not visually then intellectually. “You have no talent. Use it!”—Johnny Rotten could have shouted that at Sid Vicious, with a few curses thrown in. Scrappy, underdog, sharp, energized, urgent: This was the spirit of new painting then, as it rose like Dracula from the undead.

What we get nearly thirty years later is “Painting: Now and Forever, Part II.”

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