Andreas Gursky's "Review"
|Andreas Gurksy, Review, 2016. The Broad|
The Broad is showing Andreas Gursky's Review (2016) as part of its exhibition "Since Unveiling: Selected Acquisitions of a Decade." At first glance, Gursky's photograph may bring to mind an auction house or even a still from Succession. Art mavens will recognize the red abstract painting filling nearly the whole image as Barnett Newman's Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1951), now in the Museum of Modern Art. German viewers, but few uncued Americans, will recognize the four figures as German chancellors: Gerhard Schröder, Helmut Schmidt (with puff of smoke), Angela Merkel, and Helmut Kohl. This is not just a digitally adjusted image but an utter fabrication. That fact has dominated criticism of Review, and often with a note of discomfort. Gursky is better known for the hyperreal, not the fake.
When Barnett Newman first showed Vir Heroicus Sublimis, he put up a sign instructing viewers to move close to the work. Gursky's picture takes Newman at his word. A telephoto perspective flattens the chancellors against the picture plane.
|Barnett Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1950-51). Museum of Modern Art|
|Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton's Barbershop, 1950. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art|