new-york

Donald Baechler, Deep North, 1989, acrylic, oil, fabric collage on linen, 9' 3" x 12'

Donald Baechler

Fisher Landau Center for Art

Donald Baechler, Deep North, 1989, acrylic, oil, fabric collage on linen, 9' 3" x 12'

Like Buster Keaton, Donald Baechler nimbly treads an elegant path between the banana peel of the obvious and that of the obscure; one slip and his work falls into comedic bathos. But, by the merest breadth, Baechler is always saved despite an often cloying imagery of cartoony faces, toys, and children’s-book illustrations. And, then, after what could easily be an awkward face-off between the artist’s self-reflexive subject the viewer’s awareness of its purely pretextual role, the work alights without fail on the side of refinement and tact.

Baechler first attracted attention in the early 1980s as a member of the East Village phenomenon, a manifestation much influenced by contemporaraneous German developments. Indeed, he participated in the neo-expressionist/Neue Wilde transatlantic exchange more directly than many of his peers, studying at the Städelschule, Frankfurt, in 1978 and

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