Comic Grotesque: Wit And Mockery In German Art, 1870-1940
Publish Date: 2004-10-30
Author: Pamela Kort
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Filled with irreverent wit, comical elements, and absurdist humor, the comic-grotesque has fascinated artists since ancient times. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that it reemerged as a novel modernist method. The comic-grotesque can best be characterized by what it does to boundaries, transgressing, merging, overflowing and collapsing them. This volume, which accompanies an exhibition at Neue Galerie New York, begins with Arnold Bocklin's comic-grotesque pictorial compositions. It brings together a dazzling array of artists--including Paul Klee, Max Klinger, Alfred Kubin, Emil Nolde, and Max Ernst--who, inspired by his example, forged a unique aesthetic with enormous consequences for modern German art. Essays consider the connection between the visual arts and the rise of cabaret culture and satirical journals. In addition, the authors examine the legacy of the comic-grotesque in relationship to the denunciation of Bocklin's art around 1905 and its eventual reemergence around 1919 in the work of the Dadaists. With over 100 full-color plates and dozens of black-and-white illustrations, this striking collection traces the evolution of a largely ignored, but immensely influential movement in modern art.