By returning to the details of life embedded in bodies, objects, and the earth, the artists featured in Before the Fall at Neue Galerie conveyed the hope that the world might reassemble itself.
Ephemera provides an important history lesson, especially for a war that is disappearing from America’s collective memory, but the most affective works in World War I and the Visual Arts are those that convey the pathos of the war experience.
Questions posed in a two-artist exhibition at Tate Liverpool reflect back on our own politically desperate era, often with eerie resonance.
“Wounded Man (Autumn 1916, Bapaume),” from Dix’s portfolio of 50 etchings, The War (Der Krieg), shows a brutal reality that lays waste to George W. Bush’s anesthetized vision of war wounds.
You’d never find Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock relegated to the corridors of the Museum of Modern Art. Rarely do artists deemed essential to MoMA’s historical narrative rub elbows with the throngs swarming the escalators and passageways in endless transit from galleries to café to restroom and back.
Although the art world — especially the contemporary one, where nearly everything has retail value — likes to preserve and maintain artworks as much as it can, it’s inevitable that some pieces get lost along the way.
After stopping in to Hyperallergic’s local coffee shop one morning, I noticed something interesting in the newsstand next to the Village Voices and L Magazines. I took a closer look. MoMA’s logo? On a newsprint publication? The Museum of Modern Art is refreshing an old form of advertising to get the word out about two print exhibitions — the printed broadsheet. This two-sided newspaper publicizes the museum’s Impressions From South Africa: 1965 to Now and German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse with an eye-catching combination of information and print reproductions. Even better, the broadsheet presents the exhibition’s prints in their native multiple format.
Between World War I and II, there was a strong gust of classicism that swept through the Western European avant-garde. Artists from across the continent embraced the language of the ancients as a way to reflect their own time and culture. This taste for antique forms can be interpreted in many different ways, including as an attempt to seek order in a tumultuous time, a way to cloak a modern ideology with powerful symbols, or a reaction to the radicalism of the previous decades. Regardless of the root cause or causes, the style that was at once familiar and dignified was a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects of all types.
This odd chapter in modern art is the subject of the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, which is a very attractive exhibition that gathers together a remarkable array of objects associated with almost every -ism from the era. The power of classicism is partly due to its malleability and how it was able to lend its voice to any and every modern movement that sought refuge in its silhouettes, drapery, linear logic, and airs of history.