With the resurgence of nationalist, right-wing politics, xenophobia, and isolationism across Europe, these works feel particularly timely. The grave tragedies of the last century must not be forgotten. Revisiting Baselitz’s “Heroes” is an urgent reminder of Europe’s recent calamitous past. There is a deep-seated humanism that can be found in the works if you are open to seeing it, and these are qualities that transcend the petty, sensationalist libel of Baselitz’s publicity stunts.
Should the strengths of Baselitz’s work be written off because of the incendiary statements he has made about women artists over the years? Some argue yes, he’s had enough attention and he has abused his position with words that are damaging and offensive to women. I have a hard time subscribing unequivocally to this viewpoint. Reductiveness is not the way forward, and we need to rethink the discursive language used when considering what’s important about an artist’s oeuvre or biography.
Baselitz’s paintings speak louder than his words, drowning out the machismo with a vulnerability that suggests a more nuanced take on men, and humanity at large.