Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Eugène Delacroix, A Mortally Wounded Brigand Quenches His Thirst, 1825

DRESDEN.- For the conception and preparation of this exhibition Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bischoff, Director of the Galerie Neue Meister, enlisted the support of a renowned co-curator: Luc Tuymans (*1958), one of the most influential contemporary painters. This Belgian artist not only stands out on account of his impartial way of viewing art; for a number of years now he has also taken on the role of curator. 

  John Constable (1776–1837), Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) and Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) were vital in shaping modern art at the threshold of the 18th to the 19th century and they had a formative influence on the age of Romanticism in Europe. Their outstanding paintings continue to serve as sources of inspiration and visual instruction for the generations of artists that have followed in their wake. 

Caspar David Friedrich, The Gross Gehege near Dresden, 1832

  In this special exhibition, Luc Tuymans and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bischoff trace the influence of these four exceptional artists by presenting paintings by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Adolph Menzel (1815-1905), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and Gerhard Richter (* 1932) alongside masterpieces of the Romantic period. Works by 16 artists are presented in sometimes surprising combinations, thus enabling historical references and contexts spanning some 200 years of art history to be explored from new perspectives. 

Francisco Goya, The Little Giants, 1792  

  The idea at the core of the exhibition is to present the museum as both an artistic workshop and a source of inspiration. The curators demonstrate that art does not come into being solely as the result of a creative act in the artist’s studio, but can often be traced back to the artist’s direct engagement with freely chosen models from art history.

John Constable, View Toward The Rectory From East Bergholt House, 1813

  Works on loan from international institutions including the Prado (Madrid), the Louvre (Paris), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Statens Museum for Kunst (Copenhagen), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, and from private collections, will be shown alongside works from the holdings of the Galerie Neue Meister. 

Luc Tuymans, Allo!—Social Housing, 2012

NOTE:  I usually like artist-curated art shows and am certain I would enjoy this Dresden exhibition.  The press release is translated a little oddly from the German (e.g., I’m not sure what the writer means by an “impartial way of viewing art”), but that's unimportant.  The artists on view, including of course, the four focal geniuses, are always worth our rapt attention.   I have added two fine Luc Tuymans works immediately above and below this note to help reader/viewers calibrate their senses.

   As the press release writer says, artist curation  definitely leads to “surprising combinations” producing strange results.  It may be a reach to call Andrew Loog Oldham, former Rolling Stones manager, Immediate Records owner,  producer, author and raconteur extraordinaire an artist, but his every day radio show curation on Underground Garage is superb.  Today, however, his juxtaposition of talentless Patti Smith’s ur-wretched Summer Cannibals and Aretha Franklin’s sublime Since You’ve Been Gone was a real Shock To The Senses. I bear Patti Smith no ill will, but she remains a Yoko Ono-level musical artist, i.e., she writes terrible songs, can’t sing, and works with a band who mostly can’t play.  Unlike Ms. Ono, however, she is and always has been a superb photographic model. 

Patti Smith -- Summer Cannibals (Link) 

Aretha Franklin -- Since You've Been Gone (Link) 

Luc Tuymans, The Secretary of State, 2005

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