THE YEAR IN ART
by Jerry Saltz
1. "Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy and Germany, 1918-1936" at the Guggenheim Museum
It’s not often that a show pulls back the curtain on conventional wisdom or revises art history outright. But guest curator Kenneth Silver has done that with panache. Thanks to his show, we have a clearer, less formalist idea of what was going on across Europe between the wars. As we’ve long suspected, art didn’t simply march forward from Cubism in the teens through Dada and Surrealism in the ‘20s and ‘30s; it made some strange pit stops along the way, into an often disturbing realism. At the grand, terrifying end to this show -- just yards from Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl
’s ode to Teutonic superiority -- is the work of one of Hitler’s favorite painters, Adolf Ziegler
. That his triptych of four sinewy female nudes looks uncannily like the work of John Currin
left me gasping about the present.