Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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This is entry #55 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Chuck Goldhaber, University of Pittsburgh

Artwork: Abstraktes Bild (Abstract Picture) /  Gerhard Richter / 1999 [Catalogue Raisonné: 858-4] / Painting, Oil on Alu Dibond / 50 cm x 72 cm

Words: Not all art must be architecture.  Some works need no floorplans, no precalculations.  Richter’s abstracts attract me through their randomness and ease.  They are made by running a huge squeegee over paint pooled on a panel in bands of contrasting color.  The squeegee drags the bands, sometimes covering one with another, sometimes smearing several together, sometimes scraping some away to reveal forgotten colors of a base coating.  This process is, at best, hardly controllable; Richter is, at most, a collaborator.  Nature—the secret laws of the mediums—does most of the work.  Richter’s main contribution is to judge when nature has succeeded

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