I went to the K20, a modern art museum, yesterday. The collection wasn’t huge, but it felt really cohesive, and it all worked together on my mind in this sort of additive way that made feel really gloomy but really present here on European soil.
They had lots of stuff from the German artists Joseph Beuys (weirdly dark, primal forms). There were a few paintings from Max Ernst. Visually rich dadaist stuff. I especially liked a dark painting populated with what appeared to be hollow birds? There was a lot of work from Paul Klee. Surprisingly, less appealing than I expected. Some of it was really lovely but the bulk of it was probably too geographic and abstract for my taste — with that said, I really adored this one:
There were also rooms and rooms of lithographs from Gerhard Attenberg, an east German who was productive in the late 40s. He produced these trippy, sketchy, mutilated looking portraits of people that seemed vaguely human, vaguely insect, vaguely machine. Really depressing, unsettling stuff.
Finally, there were several Marc Chagal paintings with strongly Jewish themes that made me realize, perhaps for the first time, how profoundly unreal and haunting it is to be in a place where whole groups of people died in the way they did during World War II. No new realizations here, but I guess I’ve never knowingly experienced that first hand.