Neo – Expressionism Not Remembered

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Raphael Rubinstein investigates the "near total erasure" of Neo-Expressionism.

Rubinstein writes: "Chia, Cucchi, Clemente, Mariani, Baselitz, Lüpertz, Middendorf, Fetting, Penck, Kiefer, Schnabel . . . these and other artists are engaged not (as is frequently claimed by critics who find mirrored in this art their own frustration with the radical art of the present) in the recovery and reinvestment of tradition, but rather in declaring its bankruptcy—specifically, the bankruptcy of the modernist tradition. Everywhere we turn today the radical impulse that motivated modernism—its commitment to transgression—is treated as the object of parody and insult. What we are witness- ing, then, is the wholesale liquidation of the entire modernist legacy."

He concludes: "Maybe we shouldn’t be so certain about who won the Neo-Ex vs. Pictures Generation bout. Lately, I’ve sensed MFA students responding to the oeuvres of Sherman and Prince with yawns or sneers, but when I bring up Schnabel their curiosity awakens. Could it be that, 30 years on, we are once again ready to take up 'The Expressionism Question?' "

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