Buthe’s work was widely exhibited throughout Germany from 1968 until his death in 1994. His work was included in the legendary exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form: Live in Your Head” at Kunsthalle Bern as well as four “Documenta” exhibitions. Beginning in 1970, Buthe spent an increasing amount of time in North Africa and the Middle East. These experiences, melded with his European upbringing and the zeitgeist embraced by his contemporaries Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, led to the development of Buthe’s distinct and constantly evolving vernacular. With little separation between his Shamanistic lifestyle and the work he produced, there exists a seamless shift from medium to medium.
Buthe’s work has come under re-examination in the past few years. In 2009 “Michael Buthe: The Angel and His Shadow” was presented at Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg and at the Arp-Museum Banhof, Rolandseck. In “Abstraction and Empathy,” (also 2009,) at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, curator Carmen Gimenez paired his work with that of Thomas Schütte to represent empathy in contrast with abstract representation as seen in the work of Blinky Palermo and Joseph Albers. Alexander and Bonin presented solo exhibitions of Buthe’s work in New York in 2007 and 2010. Recent solo exhibitions in European galleries include Thomas Flor, Düsseldorf (2009) and RECEPTION, Berlin (2010). Approximately 20 works by Buthe were exhibited in “Intense Proximity,” the 2012 Paris Triennale (April 20 – August 12, 2012).