Kathe Kollwitz Museum
I admire: the account of war by a woman, the political engagement in art, the everyday political struggles into elegies.
I mistrust: the artistic virtuosity that obfuscates the content.
As I read Weisel’s Night today I felt his direct prose to be more effective. But is it because of the power of the documentary? Are we condemned to the first person, seemly-unflourished witnesses accounts? Does the symbolic makes quaint, domesticates a hard truth? Or does the documentary makes it into spectacle?
Those are not rhetorical questions.
Nolde and Beckman are my favorite Expressionists. This show juxtaposed some objects from his collection, from kitsch to historical, with his depictions. There was also a part dedicated to his paintings based on the collection of the Ethnological Museum, which I just visited a few days ago (and where they had markers on the pieces that he painted). This is not what interests me. His paintings are rarely as strong as the objects that originated them, particularly the African sculptures. And to our eyes they do not represent bad taste, or the exotic, or a flurry from the unconscious, as they did for his generation.
I rather like his landscapes, which have the dark depth of German Romanticism. At least as I remember them at the Thyssen Bornamisen 15 years ago.
Museum of Photography / Helmut Newton Foundation
(Helmut Newton exhibition)
I know the art world loves fashion. To me it seems mostly a racist, sexist, classist world. A world that is seen as ‘feminine,’ but that is made of male photographers presenting the work of male designers who dress woman often made up by male hairdressers and make up guys.
I dislike that it is an instrument of capitalist consumerism; that its utopia is of people that are always young, always rich, and who spend their lives in continuous leisure. I have seen too many Antonionis to even desire that utopia.
But the pictures are spectacular. They are beautiful. And yet they are the enemy. The embodiment of the ideology of oppression. Their seductiveness is what is slightly repulsive.