Daniel Richter and the Problem of Political Painting. / Hughes, David.

In: New German Critique, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2009, p. 133-160.

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Daniel Richter and the Problem of Political Painting. / Hughes, David.

In: New German Critique, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2009, p. 133-160.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Hughes, David. / Daniel Richter and the Problem of Political Painting. In: New German Critique. 2009 ; Vol. 36, No. 3. pp. 133-160.

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@article{63acd01736cf47e887340c1a4f6880c5,
title = "Daniel Richter and the Problem of Political Painting",
abstract = "Over the years, one question has irked critics of Daniel Richter's work more than any other: are his paintings political? For a German artist who began his professional career producing abstract-expressive pictures in 1995, it seemed particularly hard to maintain a left-wing stance while working in a medium that belonged historically to the internationalist conformism of the 1950s. His turn to figuration around 1999–2000, however, only compounded the problem: how dare he raise sensitive political issues—the war in the Balkans, mass unemployment, terrorist bombings, police drug busts, the plight of North Africans trying to reach Europe—without offering a coherent commentary on them? To make matters worse, Richter—for a supposed radical—has made quite a profit from his art while systematically avoiding a clear stance on what purportedly matters most to him. Focusing on three of Richter's best-known paintings—Warum ich kein Konservativer bin (2000), Eine Stadt namens Authen (2001), and Phienox (2000)—I explore the complexities of political painting in today's world. Through a consideration of Richter's neosymbolist style, his postmodern penchant for citation, the influence of the new fauves, and the legacy of socialist realism, I debunk many commonly held myths about leftist art and illustrate how intensely problematic such art has become. ",
author = "David Hughes",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.1215/0094033X-2009-014",
language = "English",
volume = "36",
pages = "133--160",
journal = "New German Critique",
issn = "0094-033X",
publisher = "Duke University Press",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Daniel Richter and the Problem of Political Painting

AU - Hughes, David

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Over the years, one question has irked critics of Daniel Richter's work more than any other: are his paintings political? For a German artist who began his professional career producing abstract-expressive pictures in 1995, it seemed particularly hard to maintain a left-wing stance while working in a medium that belonged historically to the internationalist conformism of the 1950s. His turn to figuration around 1999–2000, however, only compounded the problem: how dare he raise sensitive political issues—the war in the Balkans, mass unemployment, terrorist bombings, police drug busts, the plight of North Africans trying to reach Europe—without offering a coherent commentary on them? To make matters worse, Richter—for a supposed radical—has made quite a profit from his art while systematically avoiding a clear stance on what purportedly matters most to him. Focusing on three of Richter's best-known paintings—Warum ich kein Konservativer bin (2000), Eine Stadt namens Authen (2001), and Phienox (2000)—I explore the complexities of political painting in today's world. Through a consideration of Richter's neosymbolist style, his postmodern penchant for citation, the influence of the new fauves, and the legacy of socialist realism, I debunk many commonly held myths about leftist art and illustrate how intensely problematic such art has become.

AB - Over the years, one question has irked critics of Daniel Richter's work more than any other: are his paintings political? For a German artist who began his professional career producing abstract-expressive pictures in 1995, it seemed particularly hard to maintain a left-wing stance while working in a medium that belonged historically to the internationalist conformism of the 1950s. His turn to figuration around 1999–2000, however, only compounded the problem: how dare he raise sensitive political issues—the war in the Balkans, mass unemployment, terrorist bombings, police drug busts, the plight of North Africans trying to reach Europe—without offering a coherent commentary on them? To make matters worse, Richter—for a supposed radical—has made quite a profit from his art while systematically avoiding a clear stance on what purportedly matters most to him. Focusing on three of Richter's best-known paintings—Warum ich kein Konservativer bin (2000), Eine Stadt namens Authen (2001), and Phienox (2000)—I explore the complexities of political painting in today's world. Through a consideration of Richter's neosymbolist style, his postmodern penchant for citation, the influence of the new fauves, and the legacy of socialist realism, I debunk many commonly held myths about leftist art and illustrate how intensely problematic such art has become.

U2 - 10.1215/0094033X-2009-014

DO - 10.1215/0094033X-2009-014

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 133

EP - 160

JO - New German Critique

JF - New German Critique

SN - 0094-033X

IS - 3

ER -