The Painterly Mess
Exam 1 must be submitted on Blackboard tonight by 11:59 PM
What is contemporary art really for? What can painting do? Can any art form truly assist the understanding of anyone or anything?
Gerhard Richter, Seascape, 1969.











Big Self Portrait

Is painting really dead?

  • 1965 painting declared dead
  • 1980s artists demanded a
Two avenues emerge:
  • Photorealism
  • Revival of Expressionsim, a.k.a. Neo Expressionism
Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, 1968.
8’ 11 ½” X 6’ 11 ½”.
Jean Michel Basquiat, Mona Lisa, 1983.











Photo Realism = genre of painting that developed out of the Pop Art movement and involves the use of photographs and mechanical transfer of the photo image to canvas that results in a painting that resembles a photo
Chuck Close, Phil (Philip Glass), 1969.










Marilyn Vanitas

Related to Fredric Jameson's concept of the simulacra and Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation (1981)
simulacra = a copy of a copy which has been so dissipated in its relation to the original that it can no longer be said to be a copy.  The simulacrum therefore stands on its own as a copy without a model.
  • the painting is a copy of a photograph
  • the photograph is a copy of the "original"
  • the "original" may have been set up to remind the viewer of something prior
  • the "original" likely doubtlessly modeled itself on something prior
Audrey Flack, Marilyn (Vanitas), 1977.  96" X 96".











Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean) (Venice, California), 1970. Pencil on paper.  14" X 18"
Claudio Bravo, Package, 1969. Charcoal, pastel and sanguine.











Vija Celmins, Untitled (Comb), 1970. Enamel on wood, 75 × 14 5/8 × 2 3/8 in.











trompe l’oeil = fool the eye
Duane Hanson, Tourists II, 1988. Polyester resin, fiberglass and human paraphernalia.











"This image does not represent reality, it represents paint." - David Hopkins
Gerhard Richter, Betty, 1988.











Structuralism = philosophical approach that analyzes society by looking at cultural phenomena, particularly signs, that have hidden underlying meanings that can be decoded
Post-Structuralism = philosophical approach based on the idea that words and photographs are unstable and cannot be trusted, and that everything is a momentary construction with no ultimate meaning or truth
an equalization of illusion and paint
Two Candles

Gerhard Richter, Two Candles, 1983.

Gerhard Richter, Meditation, 1986.










Gerhard Richter Painting











Gerhard Richter, Atlas Sheet 9, 1962.











Eight Student Nurses

Gerhard Richter, Eight Student Nurses, 1966.


grisaille = monochrome painting usually executed in various shades of gray











Student Nurses
Ricther's found images
Richter Nurses
Richter's painted images












Onkel Rudi
Gerhard Richter, Onkel Rudi, 1965.
Gerhard Richter, Clouds (Pink), 1970.