The rise of abstraction eroded the tradition of figurative art in post-war America and Western Europe, but in parts of Europe cut off from the West, figurative art flourished. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a group of painters chose to study figurative painting at the centuries-old, conservative Leipzig Art Academy, located in what was East Germany. Embracing East German Social Realism, these artists—Tilo Baumgärtel, Tim Eitel, Martin Kobe, Neo Rauch, Christoph Ruckhäberle, David Schnell, and Matthias Weischer—created a “school” that blended dream-elements of Surrealism with a modernist spatial sense and matter-of-fact narrative. This exhibition, drawn entirely from Miami’s renowned Rubell Family Collection, focuses on a much-discussed, often controversial development in contemporary art—grandly-scaled paintings that echo traditions of Social Realism, particularly as it was practiced in East Germany.
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