Berlin Museums – Gerhard Richter, Panorama at the Neue Nationalgalerie
As a huge fan of German art, I was very excited to see Gerhard Richter, Panorama, his retrospective at the Neue Nationalgalerie. The entire ground level was dedicated to this show, in contrast to the last time I was here. As I have mentioned before, Berlin’s permanent collections are constantly being moved around,
so the massive Jenny Holzer that I had previously viewed here no longer took over the entire ceiling like a ticker showing the stock exchange. At the time, that was the sole piece of art on this floor when you first entered.
The space is now filled with over one hundred works from Richter, including his blurred portraits, grey paintings, and also included newer works he completed in 2011. I cannot express what an amazing show this was! One thing I learned about Richter is that he was still studying art when he was thirty, his success was not instant. I find that very motivating, both in terms of my age and also in gaining recognition. This show was in conjunction with Richter’s 8oth birthday. Fortunately, he did not have to wait until after his death, like Van Gogh.
The exhibit also featured panes of glass layered to create the “Richter Effect”. This instantly blurred the reflected image. This was a fun look at how Richter began to see the world. The blurry images he creates leaves the viewer in a state between dreams and reality. Is this a real memory?
His more recent work has left the image completely. Another contrast is the bright colors he has chosen to incorporate. This is much different from his previous work, in particular, the Gray Series. The main subject is the composition itself. However, common themes are still carried across his works. The most prevalent is his trademark blurry atmosphere. Representative of an image or not, Richter still uses this device to conceal the reality of these dream like worlds, often war-torn and chaotic.This is actually the second Gerhard Richter show I had seen. A few years ago I went to a Surrealist exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art and there was a small Richter show that didn’t seem to be advertised too heavily. At that time I wasn’t familiar with his work and saw Betty for the first time. I thought she was amazing. It was great to visit with her again, but this time in this extraordinary exhibit, getting to see so much more of his work.
While obviously, Gerhard Richter was the star, I cannot ignore the great art on the lower level. Another rotation of the German permanent collection, it was a very impressive exhibit. Bruce Nauman, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Max Beckmann, Basquiat, Christo …all great examples of art. It is always an amazing experience to study art that you had only seen in books or in slides. Being a part of something so big, full of expression and creativity, that has been my goal in life. I know that sound simplified, but this is what gets me up every morning. And I love every minute of it.