Matthew Collings: Couldn’t agree less — the paintings look great. Plus no one is not “nasty.” Or nice. Nice or nasty personalities are not really relevant. Anger isn’t that interesting a concept either in relation to paintings.
Rodrigo Canete: why do they look great.
Matthew Collings: Controlled organisation, liveliness of marks.
Matthew Collings: The scale and freedom are lovely.
Rodrigo Canete: i dont see the ‘controlled organisation’… are you talking about ‘composition’? Liveliness of marks….well….yeah!
Rodrigo Canete: lovely is like ‘nasty’
Matthew Collings: No nasty in your review is speculation about his personality whereas lovely in my comment refers to aesthetic meaning. I don’t think of the guy in that old early 60s painting — which I agree is pretty gruesome — as a dwarf exactly, and certainly the paining isn’t being nasty about dwarves, it’s a fantasy like any artistic fantasy — the fantasy is one thing, in any case, the painterly meaning is another.
Matthew Collings: I agree he is out of time with the things he says in interviews. I don’t forgive him exactly I just don’t take it seriousl Plus it’s obvious from the interview the journalist was deliberately digging for a desired bit of sensationalism.
Rodrigo Canete: ok, let’s unpack. His nastiness is part of the ‘character’ he projected as an ‘artistic persona’ (iie: ‘women can’t paint’). It is not speculation. It is a fact. Regarding the aesthetic meaning he creates a performance where that ‘character’ and ”the image’ collapse. You cannot do a formalist analysis in this particular case (or in any neo-expressionist for that matter) because meaning is always injected from outside the pictorial field. I think that the problem with these pieces is that they invite the viewer to assess them from a formal point of view but they are inserted in a very ‘look at me, I am a such a nasty guy…I actually turn them upside down, etc etc…’
Rodrigo Canete: Regarding the ‘compositional’ aspects…I have my serious doubts of how good Baselitz is. I might be unfair but i cannot see the ‘controlled organisation’ and maybe it is that aspect that i am missing. But finding the ‘controlled organisation’ in this mess is a complete different ball game.
Matthew Collings: Nastiness. I don’t know that his “women can’t paint” statement has the status of fact, other than it is a fact he said it. Oehlen, Kippenberger & Buttner were widely loathed in the late 70s and early 80s for saying the same thing. Now it’s not mentioned. And in fact not known. But all of them are nasty guys for sure — I mean which guy isn’t? Social politics exists partly to put a restraint on the natural — the natural is nasty as much as nice. Plus artists make statements for the purpose of bringing about effects that they have in mind, effects we cannot entirely know, or know at all. They are social nasties, yes. But who knows what Christlike meanings they might be secretly intending? But supposing he was genuinely nasty as anything, the nastiest of the nasty, what would it have to do with his splashes? He is not the theorist of this neoexpressionist rhetoric, but the benefactor from it — when it’s a going selling point, and of course the victim of it when its sell-by date runs out. As a splasher artist he is concerned with the precision of his aesthetic meanings, it’s very narrow The narrowness is the positive thing.
Matthew Collings: I think he is good for his good splashes.
Matthew Collings: I like him seining greetings to DeKooning too of course.
Rodrigo Canete: Let’s ask Mrs Biggs whether that is a nasty fact or not. Collings!