The conceptual artist provides a much needed update to Alfred J. Barr, Jr’s well-known chart.
The first exhibition devoted to Cubism in France since 1953 illustrates how the radical art movement shattered western pictorial conventions.
Vasily Kamensky and the brothers Burliuk are associated with the Cubo-Futurist movement, which combined the concerns of French Cubism and Italian Futurism.
The exhibitions that rippled through our cultural fabric over the past year, at least those occurring in and around New York, have registered the predictable number of highs and lows, though 2014 did manage to plumb one nadir unlikely to be matched for a good long time.
“To a new world of gods and monsters” is the promethean pledge from one mad scientist to another in James Whale’s classic Bride of Frankenstein (1935), but it’s easy to imagine the same toast echoing from a Montmartre studio in 1909 as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque raise a glass to the fractured new reality they’d uncovered.
Lampooned by newspapers and cartoonists, the Armory Show may have since become a symbol of the once awkward marriage of European avant-gardism and American mass sensibilities, but at the time it was also a war over what art was and could be.
This week’s news of a major gift of Cubist works — possibly the most important in the world — from Leonard Lauder to the Metropolitan Museum of Art marks a landmark event for New York’s cultural heritage, but it also redirects our attention, however fleeting, on what the movement was about and what it means for art today.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that Leonard A. Lauder has made a major donation of Cubist art that will transform New York’s largest museum into a major center for Cubist art. The pledged gift is comprised of 78 works, including 33 works by Pablo Picasso, 17 by Georges Braque, 14 by Juan Gris, and 14 by Fernand Léger.
I first learned about Cubism in an art history class my sophomore year of college. I remember the moment of revelation, after reading a lot about but still failing to grasp what exactly Picasso and Braque were after. In the darkened lecture hall one afternoon, our teacher summed it up this way: how sparingly could you paint a face while still having the viewer understand it as a face? What was the bare minimum required for representation? As legend has it, these questions and the art they inspired changed the course of art history forever.
Is the same true of the digital revolution? That’s the premise of Decenter, an exhibition curated Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer and currently on view at the Abrons Arts Center.
What is it about boxes that is so fascinating? I was thinking this as I went into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to see Pandora’s Box, a show that displays artist Joseph Cornell’s signature assemblages alongside the works of artists who allegedly were inspired by him or who were in artistic sympathy with him. I can think of historical precedents: medieval reliquaries; Victorian memento mori, which often look strikingly like Cornell’s miniature worlds. But these forebears don’t quite explain the combination of weirdness and visual beauty of something made by Cornell, nor the undoubted fascination with him since his death. His boxes frame the objects in a different way than a conventional picture frame, of course; they concentrate the viewer’s attention; but there’s something else, which finally came to me after I’d seen this show.