Donald Baechler: FISHER LANDAU CENTER FOR ART

By Pincus-Witten, Robert | Artforum International, March 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Donald Baechler: FISHER LANDAU CENTER FOR ART


Pincus-Witten, Robert, Artforum International


Like Buster Keaton, Donald Bacchler nimbly treads an elegant path between the banana peel of the obvious and that of the obscure; one slip and his work falls into comedic bathos. But, by the merest breadth, Baechler is always saved despite an often cloying imagery of carroony faces, toys, and children's-book illustrations. And, then, after what could easily be an awkward face-off between the artist's self-reflexive subjecr the viewer's awareness of its purely pretextual role, the work alights without fail on the side of refinement and tact.

Baechler first attracted attention in the early 1980s as a member of the East Village phenomenon, a manifestation much influenced by con-temporaraneous German developments. Indeed, he participated in the neo-expressionist/Neue Wilde transatlantic exchange more directly than many of his peers, studying at the Stadelschule, Frankfurt, in 1978 and 1979.

While maintaining his attraction to the scale of Abstract Expressionist painting, Baechler yielded to the appeal of children's drawings and the range of imagery associated with American folk art. Yet there is nothing of the "outsider" in his work, even if the edgy recognition of the faux-naif is ever present in our minds--a kind of warning signal never to take his works too seriously, however serious their execution may be. Typically, Baechler labors his surfaces in a staid, even grimly purposeful and insistently coercive way, texturing the canvas with, among other possibilities, pieces of terry cloth. Such grounds function like broad grayish expansions, dignified formats indifferent to the possible attractions of color, a component strikingly missing from his coyly captivating corpus.

Baechler renders his childlike imagery ever more homely (it seems to me) by carrying it through several generations of degradation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Donald Baechler: FISHER LANDAU CENTER FOR ART
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?