Wednesday, September 19, 2007


From Münster I took the train to Kassel where I had a few days to take in Documenta 12, which was a good deal better than the reviews would have you believe. Rather than share my favorites, which tended to be the more political works, I would like to catch up to where I am now: Berlin.

One of the most impressive aspects of traveling by train through Germany is the visible proof of this country’s dedication to green solutions to our global environmental crisis. The rural landscape absolutely bristles with windmills. The picture I show here is hardly exceptional, it one of several dozen photographs I took of windmill-laden landscapes en-route to Berlin. I’ve also included a nice image of how mail and newspapers are delivered in this big city.

I have been steeped in the study of prints made during the “Great War” – what a misnomer if ever there was one. So far I’ve looked at portfolios by George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Ludwig Meidner, Willy Jäckel and Natalia Goncharova. I’m not in a position to post any images of these works, but I am overwhelmed and not sure how to share it. Goncharova managed a brilliant confluence of Russian Orthodox imagery and images of the new machines of war; the word "apocalyptic" is usually applied to Meidner, but he was telling it, vividly, like it was; Grosz was very cunning with his multilingual titles (which do not amount to translations or transliterations in most cases) for his Gott Mit Uns portfolio (an idea that could find apt application today); and Willy Jäckel, a superb draftsman with training similar to that of Lovis Corinth, as I understand it, put forth a damning series about the war that was quickly suppressed by the officials (he ended up 40 kilometers from the front making trench maps).

We may not learn from history, but when we look at it really carefully it turns out we were equally frustrated by this fact in the past.

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