Whatever I see arouses an immediate memory of something seen before, and this is what I have been turning into pictures. By now, I see the pictures more clearly than the originals of the pictures…
Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn't look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself.
Gagosian is pleased to present “Remembering Bilderstreit: Georg Baselitz and Roy Lichtenstein,” at Frieze Masters 2017.
In the spring of 1989, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne held a large and controversial group exhibition titled “Bilderstreit,” co-curated by Johannes Gachnang and Siegfried Gohr. Filling the Rheinhallen, the exhibition included over 750 works by more than 125 artists. From Picasso to Polke, Giacometti to Judd, the works were installed not according to theme or chronology, but in such a way that would emphasize various aesthetic dialogues and disputes that had arisen in the postwar years in Europe and America—thus the title of the exhibition, which can be translated as “Picture Conflict."
In one gallery, for instance, the intense painterly gesture of Georg Baselitz was paired with the crisp lines and graphic colors of Roy Lichtenstein, presenting drastic differences in style, as well as surprising parallels. Gagosian’s booth at Frieze Masters revisits this model, uniting some half dozen works by Baselitz and Lichtenstein from the 1980s, a period of bold experimentation for both artists. One of the guiding principles of the original “Bilderstreit” exhibition was the idea of a ‘coincidence of opposites’: the confrontation of works with contrasting appearances, but similar aims. The juxtaposition of Baselitz and Lichtenstein exemplifies this idea: attesting to the split between expressive postwar painting and mechanical Pop art, but also revealing overlapping questions of appropriation and representation. Gagosian now reexamines these historical questions at Frieze Masters, pairing two artists who have laid the foundations for modern and contemporary art as we know it.