Well I think Richter is a pretty good barometer for the direction of art as a whole. He's strictly non-dogmatic and he roams between mediums and method, but all of his work collectively undermines any stylistic or philosophical obligations of either figurative or abstract act which matches the general trend of stylistic liberation. As opposed to the tendency of his contemporaries to embrace a unique personal style because this new liberation allowed them to (Basquiat, Schnabel, Koons), he uses a neoclassical logic and rationality which allows formal invention by itself, even though that was once considered paradoxical as a means to create an artistic identity. I think that's why all of his paintings use boring photos. With a classical emphasis on technical skill, the process's refinement can elevate mundane imagery beyond the shallow heroics of epic "high art" photography if it's guided with some technical conviction or procedural logic that doesn't concern itself with outcome at the expense of creation, where the primacy of art lies anyway. :artforum: Yeah, he's pretty much awesome. i agree with your first paragraph and think that this could be applied to several other contemporaries of richter, such as louise bourgeois, vija celmins, and in the realm of sculpture, robert gober and tim hawkinson. i'm not a fan of basquiat, koons, or schnabel (especially), but i don't think that an autographic style necessarily undermines formal invention. luc tuymans and michael raedecker are artists who can work in an abstract personal style without sacrificing the formal efforts of their paintings. the abstraction is more incidental than integral i guess, it's part of the formal gesture. i also wouldn't describe richter's work as adhering to "neoclassical logic and rationality," only because i love it and that phrase makes him sound like one of those boring super realists, or will cotton maybe. i'll go 30 years chuck close, basquiat, I kind of like alex gray, Attila Bernath, Anselm Kiefer (pushing it time wise) Dude...Alex Grey?