This was just a little storefront gallery on Park that has eight Grosz watercolors on display. I clearly wasn’t there to purchase, but they were nice enough to buzz me in anyhow. I asked if I could just take a look at the pieces and they actually seemed pleased to oblige. I’ve never been able to see his work up close, and it is gorgeous. I had a discussion in the past on how some of his work can be problematic and that is something I wouldn’t mind continuing to discuss. But much of his more broadly political and social work is really just beautiful and brilliant to me - not to excuse criticism where criticism may be due in the work that merits that argument.
The fair accusation leveled against him is tied up with his frustrations with capitalist decadence was the commodification of sex work and it’s collaboration with capitalism. His attempts to depict sex work negatively, however, seems to have backfired - the “ugliness” of sex work and workers that he offered actually just displays them as being enthralled in their line of work. His attempt to depict excess accidentally depicts joy and liberation. It’s unfortunate that the realities surrounding him in his subculture didn’t seep into his sensibilities any more. It is also frustrating on a personal level to see this and (continue to) face the reality that there really is rarely a historical example of a white man I can really get behind. As I’ve said though, I’d be a liar if I said that I don’t look at and feel moved by his work, even as I mis- and re-interpret some of it.
As for being in the silent, empty gallery. Another person came in and I got to overhear an interesting conversation about who is buying what internationally, that this fellow who came in knows Grosz’ estate holders, and that he’d love to purchase some work from the gallery (which went from $80,000 for a sketch to $300,000 for the actual watercolor of the one seen above), but that he’s really just looking for Grosz’ oil work right now. I wanted to grab one of these and make for the door right then and there, but I’m sure they would not have buzzed me out.