Just in case our recent rundown of soon-to-close museum exhibits hasn't already sent you into a state of stress-induced overdrive, we couldn't resist dropping one more temping show onto the artistic pile.

rauch.bmpNow, we more than anyone appreciate the kind of monumental effort it can take to drag out of bed and shake off a Saturday morning hangover long enough to check out some gallery shows. So, whenever you do so, it's important that said shows be at least somewhat worthwhile. With that in mind, we recommend adding the Neo Rauch exhibit,which will be at David Zwirner through June 18th, to your list.

Unlike so many Contemporary gallery artists whose work falls easily into pre-set artistic sub-genres, the work of East German artist Rauch is truly distinctive, weird, and disturbing in the best possible sense of the word. Splicing together artistic styles like a collage artist set loose on the pages of an art history text book, Rauch's paintings combine elements of German Romanticism, Social Realism, Pop Art, History Painting, Surrealism.

While Rauch's work largely draws off of Social Realist iconography, in them the heroic Soviet worker has been replaced with workers trapped in the midst of incomprehensible tasks in disjointed and dream-like environments. The imagery of propaganda has been stripped of the meaning of ideology and has been re-arranged into an irrational and confusing version of itself. The paintings are strange and complex and infused with a mournfully Romantic sense of alienation and loss. Are they a statement on the frozen confusion of a culture in the wake of massive historical and ideological change? A memory of the psychological pressures of life under the repressive East German state? An attempt to re-integrate East German culture and the history of Western art? The product of an overconsumption of sauerkraut and heffeweissen?

Who knows? Most likely they are all of these thing and more. While we can only guess at the deeper complexities of these works, we know that as with all good shows, we'll be thinking about them for weeks, trying to peel back just one more layer of understanding. And really, it's hard to ask for more from a Saturday afternoon.