Baker writes: "Drawing a connection between the redrawing of political borders and the subsequent exchange of ideas among previously alienated artists, the exhibition theorizes that the surge of creativity in the 1920s and 30s could have been a direct response to the mingling of Russian Constructivists (who migrated west due to the increasingly conservative Soviet policies against the avant garde) and the radical Dutch conceptualists they encountered. Simultaneously, the Weimar Bauhaus provided a home for abstractionists seeking like-minded collaborators. The sudden fusion of these disparate schools of thought and technique would birth a wide body of new works and approaches to painting and sculpture, with artists like Klee and Miró driving forward radical new ideologies in the creation of abstract works."
A blog post asserting a true commonality shared by the artists included in Inventing Abstraction: 1910 - 1925 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through April 15, 2013.
The show's "biggest achievement is that it brings together the main narratives of early twentieth-century Modernism while also casting light onto lesser known artists and works. By doing so the show emphasizes the creation of art works as a result of intersecting ideas, inventions, practices and individual biographies. These artists worked to understand what possibilities abstraction in art could open. Abstraction was neither a goal nor a uniform phenomenon... Inventing Abstraction is not about arriving at a final state or drawing a conclusion. Abstraction was never meant to be finished or concluded. Abstraction (hopefully) resonates with a part of us that welcomes all suspension of ideologies and beliefs. Abstraction is a long-term project, acutely relevant and still nourishing today’s paintings - no matter if they are made of air or soil."
K. Shahi blogs about the exhibition Late Klee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through February 24, 2013.
Shahi writes: "In 1936, Klee was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic systemic autoimmune disease. Knowing that he was nearing the end of his life, Klee’s work took on a renewed sense of urgency. As the Metropolitan Museum describes, he began to work more quickly, his lines becoming heavier, forms more generalized, colors more simple and deliberate. Chronology is not the primary emphasis of “Late Klee;” the exhibition does not map a straightforward progression. Instead, the artist’s rapidly shifting experiments with form, color and composition reveal a creativity that was unimpeded – indeed, even abetted – by his impending death."
Perl writes: "As [curator Leah] Dickerman tells the story, abstract art is a prescription rather than a permission. This is a terrible mistake. She is fascinated by work by Mondrian and Malevich, where at least for a time it seems that abstraction is a way of limiting and thereby intensifying the possibilities of painting. She banishes from the exhibition Paul Klee and Joan Miró, two seminal figures whose profoundly abstract visions did not exclude 'recognizable subject matter.' What Dickerman cannot admit is that abstraction in fact released painters to approach experience in an extraordinarily wide variety of ways."
He continues: "I am left thinking about how often the will to abstraction returns us to representation of one kind or another. I am left thinking that a broader definition of abstraction—a definition that fully embraced the achievements of Miró and Klee and the later work of Kandinsky (which with its symbolic forms may strike Dickerman as insufficiently abstract)—would make it easier to see the art of the twentieth century as a whole. And I am left thinking that a more honest and inclusive view of early modernism would render irrelevant all the talk of postmodernism, because so many of the values we tend to associate with postmodernism—narrative, symbolism, heterogeneity—are in fact aspects of early modernism."
James Kalm visits the exihibition Reinventing Abstraction curated by Raphael Rubinstein at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through August 30, 2013.
Kalm notes that the show "takes a look at some artists who pushed the boundaries of abstraction, and reasserted its validity as a realm of intellectual investigation. Raphael Rubenstein has collected together prime examples of the well, and lesser known painters of this period, giving viewers a chance to confront the actual paintings that have channeled the aesthetics we are immersed in today. This exhibition includes the works of: Louise Fishman, Bill Jensen, Jonathan Lasker, Pat Steir, Jack Whitten, Elizabeth Murray, Carroll Dunham, Stanley Whitney, Terry Winters, Joan Snyder, David Reed , Mary Heilmann , Thomas Nozkowski , Gary Stephan, and Stephen Mueller."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.