Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977

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9780810961043: Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977

A Museum of Modern Art Book

Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) is one of the most highly regarded of contemporary artists, and his series of 15 paintings known as October 18, 1977, is one of the 20th century's most famous works on a political theme. It commemorates the day on which three young German radicals, members of the militant Baader-Meinhof group, were found dead in a Stuttgart prison; they were pronounced suicides, but many people suspected that they had been murdered. Richter's paintings, created 11 years after this traumatic event, are among the most challenging works of the artist's career.

These hauntingly powerful images, derived from newspaper and police photography, are now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and will be on view beginning in September 2000 as part of the MoMA2000 series of exhibitions. In this book, Robert Storr provides necessary political background to the series, but his approach is art historical, offering insight into the complexities of "history painting" in the modern era.

ROBERT STORR is curator in the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Painting and Sculpture. His previous books, also available from Abrams, include Modern Art Despite Modernism, Tony Smith, and Chuck Close.

85 illustrations, 65 in full color, 9 x 111/2"

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Review:

Destined to rank among the most eloquent and thorough examinations of a major suite of paintings, Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977 combines a lean, persuasively argued text with an elegantly sober design suited to the subject matter. Richter's 15 black-and-white paintings commemorate the day two leaders of the radical German Baader-Meinhof group, disillusioned men and women in their 30s and early 40s whose loyalty to the dogma of the Red Army Faction had led them to commit numerous terrorist acts, were found dead in their prison cells. Gudrun Ensslin appeared to have hung herself. Andreas Baader had been fatally shot. Jan-Carl Raspe was near death from a bullet wound. Two other members of the group had died in prison earlier in the '70s: Holger Meins after a hunger strike; Ulrike Menihof, by hanging. On the Left, there was widespread suspicion the dead had been murdered. Photographs of the Baader-Meinhof members were ubiquitous in newspapers of the day; their images were as familiar to Germans as machine gun-toting Patty "Tania" Hearst was to Americans. Using photographs as models, Richter painted the dead with a subtle technique--a blurring of certain details and an elegiac use of gray--that calls into question the murkiness of historical "knowledge" and emphasizes the uneasy mixture of compassion and horror evoked by the group's fate.

Yet, even though Richter waited until 1988 to paint the series, he was denounced either for glorifying a bunch of killers or for using his international fame to exploit the Left. Author Robert Storr, a curator at MoMA, which now owns the series, answers these arguments by looking systematically at postwar German politics, the tradition of history painting, and the dilemmas and decisions of a leading contemporary painter. --Cathy Curtis

About the Author:

Gerhard Richter was born in 1932 in Dresden, Germany. Since the early 1960s he has emerged as one of the essential painters of the postwar period, pioneering Photorealism with paintings made from found photographs (amateur photographs, advertisements and book and magazine illustrations) and then from his own photographs. His work has also profoundly engaged with and influenced such genres as Pop Art and Abstract art. Richter is the subject of a highly-acclaimed travelling retrospective which opened at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in February 2002.

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Richter, Gerhard:
Verlag: Harry N. Abrams; NY, (2000)
ISBN 10: 0810961040 ISBN 13: 9780810961043
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Buchbeschreibung Harry N. Abrams; NY, 2000. Originalleinen. Buchzustand: Sehr gut. 151 S.; sehr zahlr. Illustr.; 25 cm. Sehr gutes Ex. - Englisch. // Gerhard Richter (* 9. Februar 1932 in Dresden) ist ein deutscher Maler, Bildhauer und Fotograf. Er war von 1971 bis 1993 Professor für Malerei an der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Seine Werke sind auf dem Kunstmarkt die teuersten eines lebenden Künstlers. . Gerhard Richter begann seine malerische Praxis im Westen mit einer kurzen Phase, in der er praktisch alle aktuellen Ausdrucksformen und Stile der modernen Malerei erprobte (zwischen Antoni Tàpies und Francis Bacon). Es handelt sich um Werke, die Richter, wie er selbst berichtet, später im Innenhof der Staatlichen Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf verbrannte. Einflüsse für das sich nach dieser Phase entwickelnde umfangreiche Werk bezog er aus der Pop Art, aus dem Abstrakten Expressionismus, aber auch aus Neo-Dada und Fluxus. . Die zum Teil enge Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Künstlern dürfte ebenfalls Einfluss auf seine künstlerischen Positionen gehabt haben. So kooperierte Richter während der ersten Hälfte der 1960er Jahre in gemeinsamen Ausstellungen mit Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg und Manfred Kuttner. Mit ihnen kreierte er den Kapitalistischen Realismus, der den Sozialistischen Realismus, die offizielle Kunstdoktrin der damaligen sozialistischen Länder, ironisieren sollte und die westliche Konsumgesellschaft kritisch reflektierte. 1968 führte er mit Günther Uecker, seinem Freund und Studienkollegen, eine Aktion in der Kunsthalle Baden-Baden durch. Das Gebäude wurde besetzt und Uecker erklärte: „Auch Museen können Wohnorte sein." // Gerhard Richter's October paintings are based on twelve press and police photographs that span the period 1970 to 1977. Richter selected the photographs from a larger compendium of Red Army Faction documentary images, which he had collected and compiled for many years. To better illustrate Richtet artistic process and for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the character of the press and police photographs at the time, Richters photographic models are reproduced in this publication. What follows is an account of the steps taken to locate the original photographs. Since most of the images chosen by Richter had been published in the German magazines Stem and Spiegel in the 1970s and early 1980s, initial inquiries were sent to them. With the exception of the models for Hanged and Funeral, prints of Richter's photographic models are in the Stern and Spiegel archives, but the magazines could not release the images for publication. However, Stern granted permission to reproduce several of the magazine's original page spreads illustrating some of the photographs used by Richter, while Spiegel provided the address of Franz Ruch, who had taken the images of Gudrun Ensslin during a lineup with witnesses in 1972. Richter used these photographs as models for Confrontation 1, 2, and 3. According to the photographer, the lineup took place within a month of Ensslin's arrest. The models for Richter's Arrest 1 and Arrest 2 are film stills. A German television team (ARD) had filmed the arrests of Meirts, Baader, and Raspe on June 1,1972, and footage was subsequently aired on the German" evening news; individual images made their way into the press. Likewise, the image of Baaders, Ensslin's, and Raspe's funeral in Stuttgart, which Richter used as a model for the painting funeral, was originally filmed by a television crew. To determine the photographer and copyright holder of the Ulrike Meinhof portrait (model for Youth Portrait), the Museum wrote to Stefan Aust, who contacted Klaus Rainer Rdhl, Ulrike Meinhofs former husband and publisher of the Left newspaper Konkret where Ulrike Meinhof had worked as an editor between 1959 and 1969. In RöhPs opinion the portrait was Taken by an unknown press photographer in 1970, shortly before Baader was freed. Since eight of the images used by Richter originated during the course of police investigations following the deaths of Hoiger Meins (1974), Ulrike Meinhof (1976), an. Artikel-Nr. 1065076

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