Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Feels like the Richter groove

'You need more than/ the Gerhard Richter hanging on your wall' - Pet Shop Boys, Love etc

The first time I knowingly saw work by German artist Gerhard Richter was MoMA's major retrospective in New York in 2002. It was a special trip: I think it was the first time my then girlfriend had been to the United States, and we saw this. As writer Geoff Dyer says elsewhere, and slightly differently, it was as if these paintings had always been waiting for me.

I love Richter's early paintings from photographs, and even his painted photographs, though equivocate on his bright lines and the like (adapted by designer Farrow for the cover of Pet Shop Boys' last album, Yes, which includes the line quoted top). In the last few years there have been a couple of major exhibitions of Richter's work in this country, including Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Whitechapel Gallery's Atlas and his Paintings from Private Collections at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Gerhard Richter: Panorama promises to be the first major retrospective of the artist in London for 20 years; let's hope its power hasn't been dissipated by these other recent displays. Before then - arriving 19 January 2011 - Tate Modern hosts Gabriel Orozco. I've seen the show in Paris and it's a zinger, up there with the venue's Cildo Meireles exhibition in winter 2008/9, and Francis Alys this past summer.

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