The New York Times says that Gerhard Richter is getting lots of attention from ordinary Germans now that his retrospective is touring his homeland. But too much of that attention comes from Richter’s market success. As Thomas Struth, who trained with the painter in the 70s points out, adulation isn’t what Richter is after:
“Most people who become really very good are very self-critical about themselves,” Mr. Struth said. “To receive only this positive reaction, it’s painful. You think, ‘O.K., that’s great, but what did I do wrong?’ ” He added, “Gerhard, rightly so, almost complains that everyone loves his work, which is kind of an odd feeling, but people are fascinated by celebrity, fame and money, which has very little to do with what the work is about.”
Hundreds of journalists gathered for the news conference that opened the retrospective last week. Udo Kittelmann, director of the National Galleries, implored them not to ask Mr. Richter about the prices paid for his canvases. “It has no more novelty value, and Mr. Richter surely has more to say about his pictures than what they cost,” Mr. Kittelmann said.
A reporter asked Mr. Richter how it felt to be “celebrated at the moment like no other artist has ever experienced,” as a “titan, an Olympian.” Mr. Richter smiled slyly and replied, “Being ignored would certainly be a lot worse.”
Germans Embrace Artist as a Homegrown Hero (New York Times)