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Re: Frank Auerbach at The Courtauld Gallery London

From:     Ben Zanoe
Category: Art
Date:     28 December 2009
Time:     08:51 AM


How much fun the critic can garner from toying with Auerbach's unfashionable paintings of bomb
damaged (and town-planner damaged) buildings is on a par with that of a well fed old tom toying with
a dead mouse, the mouse cannot revive itself simply to satiate the edification of the pre-digested
pulp sucking masses, Auerbach has sweated over all the cutting edge work, way back with his bold
working style, to view it out of context could amuse someone of the most febrile state of mind but
its not the sort of crowd pleasing stuff that profits a jester. "Ooh look thick paint....zzzz", It's
hardly a phenomenon.

Anthony Hancocks film The Rebel was once referenced by one of Auerbachs contemporaries Lucien Freud,
Freud used the reference as a means of lightening up the interview, almost putting himself down but
also the role of the critic in their search for some pragmatic justification of the artists sinful
time wasting unproductive activities, I guess that the immediet post war period brought a lot of
state sponsored guilt to bare on the survivors of the hostilities. Artists were turning to whatever
means at their disposal to show solidarity with the reconstruction; politically and culturally.
The building site paintings are foremost classical documents about composition and colour, a mound
of related social, historic and political strata naturally follow on from this most primary
function. Contemporizing this perspective is appropriate when we see the war in Afghanistan being
rebadged by the Media as an honourable war. Would the competition to re-build the Twin Towers be our
contemporary response to such actions ? If so, these paintings offer a less corporate view towards
the damage in society through the destruction of its people and buildings of a time......  

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