Downtown ‘Georg Baselitz: Prints From the 1960s’
Through Dec. 22. Luhring Augustine TriBeCa, 17 White Street, Manhattan
The outstanding prints of the German Neo-Expressionist painter Georg Baselitz are not well known in this country, a condition that should be rectified by this museum-quality exhibition of 42 etchings and woodcuts dating from 1964 to 1969. All contrast a tenderness of technique with strange or jarring subject matter.
Unsettling hybrid creatures emerge from tangles of fine, subtly frenetic lines. In the earliest etchings, the artist isolates small abject forms on the paper. “Ohr (Ear)” is a misshapen head with a snout nose and an ear from which a tongue seems to wag, while an elephant’s trunk curls from the unseen ear. But soon Baselitz engages the entire sheet, introducing his Frankensteinian men, variously identified as partisans, soldiers, hunters and “The New Type.” Disheveled and big-boned with small heads and troubled poetic faces framed by long hair, they wear military fatigues, and seem to have just lumbered off the battlefield or out of a blasted forest.
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