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Gerhard Richter Interview: In Art we find Beauty and Comfort

“I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the Internet in this rare interview.

“These days, beauty is not in fashion,” says Richter, who has explored painting and its role in image culture for decades on his quest for a form of painting that corresponds to contemporary challenges. Quoting German author Thomas Mann, who predicted a change in art, Richter says: “Art will shed all of its gravity and transform into something merry and democratic.” But art has, in Richter’s view, surpassed even that. “It’s now more than merry. There has never been so much art … We don’t need it. We need entertainment. Sensations.” Beauty, however, is not lost for the artist: “Beauty is an ideal of mine as much as it ever was … But beauty is being discredited when fashion and models are called beautiful.”

Gerhardt Richter was interviewed by Anders Kold at his studio in Cologne, Germany, in September 2016 for Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.