Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Suck My Dix

The newly arrived Otto Dix retrospective at the Neue Galerie here in New York City can be called a dreadful show ,by which I mean that much of the content and the images are indeed dreadful but not the paintings, drawings and etchings themselves, far from it. Dix’s art for the most part is superb, visually exciting but not easy to embrace and although some might find the work of this German Expressionist hard to take I thought it a terrific exhibition. There is a dark small room that is too small and too dark, (I kept tripping over my friend Joe’s foot) that contain his very powerful etchings that he did to show the destruction of war that are very disturbing but splendid ( I almost used the word beautiful) because of his talent and technique as a printmaker. These images were done after Dix had served in World War I and were published in 1924. There are 50 of them and they stand as testaments to the brutality and horror of war that are still pertinent today. But it is his portraits that really held me, most of them are large, richly colored and beautifully painted with many of the sitters having grotesque and distorted faces and hands that are elongated, gnarled knotty and misshapen. What were these sitters thinking when they asked Otto to paint their portraits and what did they think when they finally saw the finished works. “Otto darling you caught the real me.” The works can also be seen as a document of the giddy sexually open anything goes Berlin of the Weimer Republic before it all came tumbling down and Dix along with many of the other artists of the time were classified by the Nazi’s as making degenerate art. The show is a little soiled by the inclusion of several innoxiously sweet and dull landscapes that he did in the 1930’s and seem to be by a different artist. They should have been left out. Funny but as I looked at his drawings and watercolors some of them brought to mind the work of H.C. Westermann, Red Grooms and contemporary graphic artists and cartoonists and if Dix was a artist of the 21st Century I could easily see him doing a graphic novel of his own. The show is a little cramped, the Neue Galerie was a private home at one time, and it's hard to believe that this is the first museum show of Dix’s to be held in North America. This is the kind of exhibition that the Museum Of Modern Art should have mounted instead of what they have been showing for the last few months.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter