Exhibition - Gerhard Richter: The Birkenau Paintings

Thursday, Jan 14, 2021 at 12:00pm

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028

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Gerhard Richter: The Birkenau Paintings is a focused installation that brings together the four canvases of this landmark series alongside an earlier work in glass, Mirror, Blood Red (1991).

The German artist Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) has explored the material, conceptual, and historical implications of painting throughout his six-decade career. The Birkenau series (2014) encapsulates his long-standing interest in art's ability to reckon with issues of identity and collective memory, particularly in the context of post–World War II Germany. In the four paintings, Richter confronts the question of whether—and how—art is able to address the history of the Holocaust.

The Birkenau paintings are based on four photographs secretly taken in the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. After a yearlong attempt to render the photographic images, Richter gradually veiled his initial figurative drawings with color, scouring each coat of paint with a squeegee to produce layered, ruptured surfaces. The canvases' distinctive facture and relatively subdued palette reflect the artist's conscious struggle to address the grim documents of historical trauma while curtailing the spectacular nature of the reproduced photograph. Together, the series holds in tension the complex relationship between representation and abstraction, and the opposing forces of destruction and reconstruction.

Exhibition Date: September 5, 2020 - January 18, 2021

Location: The Met Fifth Avenue in  Gallery 955 

General Admission

For visitors from outside New York State:

Adults: $25

Seniors (65 and over): $17

Students: $12

Members and Patrons: Free

Children (under 12): Free

Suggested Admission

For New York State residents and NY, NJ, CT students, the amount you pay is up to you.

If you wish to pay less than the general admission ticket prices, you may purchase your ticket at one of The Met's locations with a valid ID. All admission tickets include entry to exhibitions as well as same-day entry to both Met locations.

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