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Anselm Kiefer

January 23, 2007

On Sunday, the four-city US tour of Anslem Kiefer's work officially came to a close in San Francisco. Today, I'm thinking about SF Museum of Modern Art staff taking down those enormous rusty canvases. It must be hard work. Paintings rarely come this heavy. It's not just physical weight (though with their crusty layers of cracked-cement paint, and swinging metal and rock appendages putting up and taking down these works probably requires the assistance of a fork-lift truck.) The paintings are so mired in the dust and stench of the cold, hard ground and the freeze of a permanent winter, that one leaves the exhibition feeling like one has a boulder attached to one's heart by a rusty length of iron wire. A docent doing a tour of the exhibit on Sunday afternoon (while I was visiting) asked the crowd whether they felt the artist was "hopeful." I don't think Kiefer is desperately pessimistic about the world, but I wouldn't call him hopeful either. He's just realistic.



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