For his part, Kippenberger took this theme to exaggerated new heights by substituting himself for various figures in Géricault’s original in a series of 16 paintings, 19 drawings, 9 photographs, 14 lithographs, and a large woven rug (showing the raft’s floor plan), on view last year at Skarstedt Gallery. The works take a distorted, expressionistic approach to the subject, and the line between humor and horror is extremely dicey, in true Kippenberger fashion. The theme of imminent death is particularly poignant in relation to the German artist. The notoriously self-destructive Kippenberger created the series a year before his own death from liver cancer. In one of the Medusa prints, the bloated artist, hardly idealized, appears to be waving his shirt like the figure in Géricault’s painting. But here the background is composed of alcohol labels. While it seems a far cry from Géricault’s version, that blend of dark humor and gravity perhaps relates to the 19th-century French artist’s own intentions: to create a serious, monumental work of art, with all the attributes of a salon masterpiece, while taking the establishment to task.