Saturday, September 22, 2012
Seeing more in Richter...
Photo: Carol Diehl © 2012
One of the most interesting things about writing a review (as I am now of the current Gerhard Richter exhibition of new digital works at Marian Goodman), is seeing how other critics handle the same material. Here’s Karen Rosenberg in the Times:
“These works are not just anti-ideological (a Richter hallmark): they’re also antiseptic, more so, even, than the new sculpture, ‘6 standing glass panels’ that accompanies them.”
Rosenberg is entitled to find the works “antiseptic,” if that’s her take, but to make no further mention of the 9’ x 9’ x 9’ sculpture that’s at the core of the exhibition seems remiss.
Installed in the center of rear gallery at Goodman (and, to be accurate, entitled 6 Panes of Glass in a Rack) the work is essential—first in the architectural way it grounds the space, and secondly because of what happens when you look into it and through it, how it interacts with the images on the walls and the other people in the room. To view it as simply a steel rack with glass panels, is like seeing a Robert Irwin scrim piece as a length of fabric stretched from floor to ceiling, or a FredSandback as a geometric configuration made with yarn.
Perhaps people are now so used to art fairs, where the works are—by necessity—installed in a way that’s relatively arbitrary and seen as objects to be assessed rather than engaged with, they don’t consider that the artist may have had an intention for the entire exhibition, or that a sculpture may add up to more than its parts.
Maybe Richter should have provided an artist’s statement.