Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Feb 11–Jun 3, 2012

Selbstportrait mit verschissener Unterhose und blauer Mauritius (Self-Portrait with Shitty Underpants and Blue Mauritius) depicts artistic identity in crisis. Albert Oehlen paints himself holding up the famed Blue Mauritius stamp, an expensive and rare collectible now valued in the millions of dollars. The stamp alludes to the skyrocketing prices of paintings in the 1980s, and Oehlen’s style of brushwork ironically mimics the look of the neo-expressionist painters whose paintings helped to fuel the 1980s art market. Standing in a pair of soiled boxer shorts, Oehlen’s self-portrait displays a vexed relationship to the position of mastery and authority traditionally occupied by the male painter, and instead offers the viewer an image of an artist not completely in control of either himself or his works once they reach the marketplace.