Andre Butzer at Metro Pictures

Nicht Furchten! Don't Be Scared

By: - Apr 19, 2010

Butzer Butzer Butzer Butzer Butzer
Andre Butzer
Nicht Furchten! Don't Be Scared
Metro Pictures
519 West 24 Street
NYC 10011
April 1 to May 1

The scale, richness of surface, and bold attack of these large paintings by Andre Butzer command attention. It is the second show at Metro Pictures for this artist.

While the paintings by the German artist, who was born in 1973, are strident and engaging they also raise questions about the medium and technique.

Just when painting is  yet again pronounced dead there are declarations that painting is born again. The death of painting mantra started when Duchamp declared it to be "too retinal." Indeed these works are retinal to the max.

This mostly seems to happen when younger artists appear to have skipped the funeral and headed for the studio. There is the perennial joy of a loaded brush, thick paint, juice texture and, to bring the dialogue up to date, a touch of irony. Like that Smurf smack dab in the painting.

The paintings signify more of a Germanic sense of expressionism even though rerouted through American abstract expressionism. The color and gesture mostly recall Hans Hoffman. Who brought his German sensibility to inform a generation of American painters.

While Butzer channels the color and texture of AbEx his compositions are messy, chaotic and irreverent. They are easily torn apart but also deserve attention and credit for renewing familiar arguments about the demise and revival of the big picture.