Two women stand on a traffic island in Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, a siren duet of sickly green flesh, high heels, feathers, and lace. Men stride across zigzagging sidewalks toward these "flowers of the asphalt" (as one contemporary described the German capital's prostitutes in the years preceding World War I). Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) portrayed these streetwalkers with harsh colors and slashing brushstrokes, a vision of illicit sex colliding with a great city's heedless energy. MOMA's exhibition includes seven of Kirchner's street paintings, in which the artist downplayed architecture and vehicles in favor of the degraded glamour of the demimonde: Flesh tones shift from pink to yellow to gray under the glare of unseen street lamps and electric signs. In numerous drawings and prints, Kirchner's breakneck hand manifests the frenzy of early modernism, his figures abandoned to sinuous, expressionistic lines.... More >>>