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Santa Monica

German art reflexively calls up Expressionism but a dry, un-Teutonic ring marks a show titled “Abstract Tendencies in New German Art.” Inaugurating a new gallery space work by some 30 artists has a certain cool remove, embracing the stigma of Germany’s recent history and the conceptual, self analytical underpinnings of today’s art. A general emphasis on technology gone awry radios the dangers of a post modern society too far removed from human values.

Versatile and impressive, Eberhard Bosslet shows “Anmassend II.” A neat floor-to-ceiling arrangement of metal piping and recycled restaurant equipment is a take-off on a royal effigy that’s more ridiculous that regal--a stainless steel deity for a culture whose only mythology is technology.

Equally sophisticated are Bosslet’s large metal sheets covered with lacquered hard edge designs. Somewhere between American Indian sand painting and microchip circuitry, they passively accept the odd beauty of our brave new world.

Surprisingly, artists tool really beautiful objects from cerebral twists we don’t expect from visceral German art. Dieter Teusch uses hundreds of feathers or glistening marbles to make redundant totems that would be utterly silly if they weren’t so gorgeous. Stephan Huber’s bulky varnished wood tendril on tiny casters invokes a mutated musical instrument evoking a grand Wagnerian heyday rendered obsolete. Thomas Grunfeld’s wall sculpture of mirror and the tuck-and-roll upholstery of a private men’s bar has a similar if less specific impact.

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Some conceptual works fall as flat as Thomas Locher’s bright plastic geometric shapes. And there are works that read simply as good looking art for art’s sake. Nothing verboten about that. Unevenness aside, this is a well curated, informative show. (Karl Bornstein, 1658 1/2 10th St. to Nov. 10).


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