Gerhard Richter-Candle (German 1980's)
With MacGuyveresque ingenuity did Edith Wharton once proclaim that both a candle and a mirror could spread light to dark corners.
I had a grinder fit a moment ago when, snapping back from a perfectly transcendent state, I suddenly realized the vulgarity of Sonic Youth, and the album cover to their overpraised 1988 album, Daydream Nation. The older I get the more spiritually bound I feel to Richter's tensile blurs and ephemeral interpretations of objects. So much so that when I see one in the context of a Sonic Youth album cover it feels like a cheap, haute hipster appropriation. There is a wild mystery that lies so close to normal life in Richter's more literal works, and to see it this way just kind of makes me sad.
The argument has been made--and is gospel among my generation (the same generation that touts M.I.A. and Sufjan Stevens I might add), that Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation is the ideal fusion of high art conviction and raw youthful self-consciousness. And I'm not gonna say these SY folks are dummies just for the sake of being iconoclastic. They're bright and talented and all the things you love. However as I age away from their ethical unrest, to a different restlessness the autonomy and unmarriageable authority of Richter's images require more and more space and quiet. Through the labor of seeing and execution, the ambivalent nod to photographic flaw, and the poetic thunderbolt of object and arrangement, the painting is timeless in a way the record is not. The relationship, if you concede my point, is less of a compelling contrast than it is a parasitic juxtaposition.