richter polke at christies auction house

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

richter polke at christies auction house

Postby jasperjoffe » Sun May 25, 2014 1:54 pm

http://www.christies.com/privatesales/richter-polke/
1. Is there something depressing about shows by auctioneers, naked selling of museum-quality show?
2. Great moment of painting coalescing into painting from photos. Richter/Polke shamelessly reveal the source (though Degas Sickert etc did some similar things).
3. In the loss of the importing of the 3D into the 2D, important?
3a. Is painting from photos bad? (almost all good figurative painters work from photos or collaged images or in the style of collage/photo ie flat stuff)
4. Often artists are better before they get good/slick at doing what they've discovered. eg blurring polke dots.
5. It's not a beautiful show.
6. Many people love Richter because they look like photos, not because it's interesting for paintings to capture the surface of photos, which are often where memory inheres.
7. It's a better show to think about than to look at.
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Re: richter polke at christies auction house

Postby CAP » Tue May 27, 2014 12:19 pm

I think there's a verb missing from number 3.... ? :?

All good questions though, will come back sometime and try and answer some of 'em. ;)
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Re: richter polke at christies auction house

Postby jasperjoffe » Wed May 28, 2014 1:43 pm

yes sans verb
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Re: richter polke at christies auction house

Postby CAP » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:01 pm

Often artists are better before they get good/slick at doing what they've discovered. eg blurring, polke dots.


Actually it’s an illusion we project onto earlier works, once we know what to look for (in light of subsequent work) – we look back and find the salient features much subtler for being more hesitant or struggling. But they only look that way because the artist was then able to develop that aspect more fully, and apply to more effective subjects, and that we now grasp perhaps a little too lazily or crudely. It’s when we can’t really see what the artist is doing anymore, beyond the most obvious traits. People say the same thing about Bacon or Picasso or Cezanne – let’s face it about practically anyone that develops a recognisable style – after a while we find it too predictable, get a little blasé and look for more of a challenge, find it in the early work.

The artists were not better then – quite the opposite – just less experienced. All the same, there are going to be things in the earlier work that an artist doesn’t develop, little clues a student might find interesting to pursue, but again, this is inevitable. You can’t concentrate on everything. That would only amount to wholesale duplication. You omit some things to pursue others. And in retrospect some things look better for having other things around them amplified, adjusted or improved. Some artists are good at going back and revising early things – but this usually comes much later in their careers, when they have time to reflect a bit more, and as often others condemn it as a weakness. For most of the time they’re just grateful to find a path forward, others encourage.

Then again there are artists that just fall into a formula and endlessly repeat themselves. It’s always a balancing act between trying too much novelty and not enough. No one wants to be just a slave to fashion, with no real voice of their own, but nor do they want to endlessly parrot the same thing over and over. Finding that balance is really a question of character or personality, I suspect. Still, it’s common to disparage an artist for not taking more chances later in their careers, for sticking to their little signature style. But that style still has to be built and maintained for it to be of any value, it's the continued variations that do that and to throw it away is to drastically devalue it – usually points to an artist with serious personal problems. You have to work with what you’ve got. That’s where the ‘discoveries’ come from. They’re not out there, waiting for you to try them; they’re out there waiting for you to improve upon.
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