Art & Design Magazine

Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern

By Ianbertram @IanBertram

Last week I went to the Gerhard Richter show at Tate Modern in London. To say I enjoyed it would not be entirely accurate, but it was thoroughly thought provoking in terms of both technique and subject. One set I did very much like was his enormous 'Cage' series, now permanently at the Tate, six paintings each 10ft square loosely inspired by the music of John Cage. I bought a monograph on these paintings which includes many photographs of work in progress, so that it is possible to see the underpinning layers of paint and texture.

By comparison I found some of the curatorial notes, especially on the audio guide, so platitudinous as to be laughable. For example when you move in close you can no longer see the content of the picture - I would never have known! A shame - I would have liked to hear someone like Andrew Graham-Dixon talking about the work. He has a good voice and he knows his art. His book on Howard Hodgkin is excellent. I was also disappointed to find that the Tate's 'Seagram' Rothko paintings were not on display. One area had building work going on so they may reappear. The Tate has of course a huge collection - I think 17 by Patrick Heron of which only one is currently on display.

I was singularly unimpressed with the Tacita Dean installation in the Turbine Hall.  To me it totally failed to tackle the huge space in which it was located and was mundane in content.

Shows coming up in London this year I'm hoping to get to:

Picasso and Modern British Art at Tate Britain

David Hockney at the Royal Academy

and this one at Tate Modern that looks very interesting: Yayoi Kusama

There is just time too to see the wonderful John Martin exhibition at Tate Britain.

...and if you are feeling masochistic there is Damien Hirst also at Tate Modern, but not for me!

I'm going to write a more considered blog post about Richter soon I hope.

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