76. In our time

Der amerikanisch-britische Maler R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007) schuf 1969 die Serie „In our time“, basierend auf Photos von Büchern seiner Privatbibliothek. Ausgestellt war sie im Jewish Museum. Hier drei Aufnahmen mit Büchern, die sich mit meiner eigenen Bibliothek kreuzen.

Die Ausstellung schloß am 11.8. Das Museum schreibt:

In turning book covers into works of art Kitaj is offering fragments of a history of knowledge, in which the content of each volume is at once mysterious and absent. Coming from this passionate bibliophile, the series is nothing less than an intellectual self-portrait.

Stylistically, these are hybrid works, influenced by Pop art and the modernist tradition of the Readymade—a work of art created when a mundane found object is named as an artwork and set in an art context. This avant-garde concept had been invented by the Dada master Marcel Duchamp early in the twentieth century. In the 1960s it received renewed attention at a time when artistic norms were once again being questioned. Reacting to Andy Warhol’s Pop imagery, Kitaj poignantly called his repurposed book covers his soup can, his Liz Taylor. The blatant use of images taken directly from commercial sources situates In Our Time as a precursor of appropriation art.

Over the course of his forty-year career Kitaj became increasingly interested in Jewish ideas, particularly Jewish intellectual history and the Holocaust. A man of erudition and contradiction, he saw himself as the quintessential diasporic character: an American in London, a figurative artist working during the reign of abstraction, a modernist who venerated the art of the past, and a pragmatist in thrall to European history and culture.

Norman Kleeblatt, Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator – See more here.

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