“Gerhard Richter: Forty Years Of Painting,” at the Museum of Modern Art, is large, confusing, uningratiating, and overdue.[1] It’s also hard work. Despite his considerable international reputation, Richter has exhibited relatively little in this country, and what has been seen has not fully reflected his concerns. For four decades, this elusive painter has shuttled restlessly among opposed modes, approaches, themes, and even painting languages, producing Pop-derived and politically engaged figure paintings, dispassionate abstractions, sentimental landscapes, romanticized portraits, and more. (An astute artist friend compared him to someone trying on clothes without having any clear idea of what he wanted to buy, weighing possible transformations of identity with each new garment.) Richter is probably best known to Americans for his abstractions, which, curiously, dominate the MOMA...

 
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