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Anselm Kiefer at Gagosian, NYC

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ANSELM KIEFER, Untitled (Berenice)

ANSELM KIEFER, Untitled (Berenice), 2003 Painted photograph with hair

There are about 40 days left to catch the Anselm Kiefer show at Gagosian in NYC.    Kiefer is one of the most significant artists of our lifetime.  His work is monumental.  His thought process unparalleled.  His work a complex blend of allegory, abstraction and emotion.  If forced to pick just one (and I hope I never am), I’d have to rate him as my all-time favorite artist.  Throughout my life, his work has affected my interpretation of the world around me.  This is Kiefer’s first NYC show since 2002.  

This is what Gagosian has posted on their website:

Born in 1945 in Donauschingen, Germany, at the close of World War II, Anselm Kiefer studied art informally under Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Academy in the early 1970s.

Kiefer reflects upon and critiques the myths and chauvinism which eventually propelled the German Third Reich to power. His paintings depict his generation’s ambivalence toward the grandiose impulse of German nationalism and its impact on history. Kiefer’s work consistently balances the dual purposes of visually powerful imagery and intellectually critical analysis. Curator and art historian Mark Rosenthal has written of Germany’s Spiritual Heroes, a painting where historical meaning is superimposed upon a setting of personal significance, Kiefer’s former studio in a rural schoolhouse:

“The most monumental work of 1973, and the last of [an] important series, is Germany’s Spiritual Heroes. On six strips of burlap sewn Anselm Kiefer Germany's Spiritual Heroestogether, Kiefer drew perspective lines to form a deep theatrical space. The viewer is placed at the entrance of the cavernous room, slightly off center, engulfed by the wooden beams…The interior is at once a memorial hall and crematorium. Eternal fires burn along the wall as if in memory of the individuals, but the lower edge of the painting is darkened in a manner that suggests it has been singed. This highly flammable wooden room is in danger of burning, and with it Germany and its heroes will be destroyed…Kiefer’s attitude about a Germany whose spiritual heroes are in fact transitory and whose deeply felt ideals are vulnerable is not only ambivalent but also sharply biting and ironical…these great figures and their achievements are reduced to just names, recorded not in a marble edifice but in the attic of a rural schoolhouse.”

 Ten works by Kiefer are included among the Broads’ collections.

Above: Deutschlands Geisteshelden (Germany’s Spiritual Heroes), 1973, Oil and charcoal on burlap, mounted on canvas, 120 7/8 x 268 1/2 in. (307 x 682 cm)The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, © 2009 Anselm Kiefer, Photo courtesy The Broad Art Foundation, photo by Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles


Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

November 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

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  1. […] Critics and scholars draw analogies between Kiefer’s Lilith and the history of Germany, where Kiefer was born shortly after the end of WW II.  Much of his early work deals directly with the post-war character of Germany and is therefore immensely powerful.  (Please refer to my earlier post about his work, “Germany’s Spiritual Heroes”) […]

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