Yesterday I was delighted to go into the city with a friend to see the Inventing Abstraction show at the MOMA. I share the highlights below, both in my photos and notes. The interconnected network between these artists was especially interesting. They knew each other and exchanged both support and ideas. The world was certainly smaller early in the 20th century.
When they discuss a time when abstract art was impossible to imagine, I am dubious; if I was born hundreds of years earlier I would have still painted abstracts; permission was not required and some people like me come pre-wired to exalt in color with no form necessary!
Here are some abstract artists quotes:
Picasso said, “There is not abstract art. You always have to being with something.”
Joseph Stella said, “Here was what I was unconsciously seeking.”
Arthur Dove said, “What I’d like to design is something that is real in itself that doesn’t remind anyone of anything else, and doesn’t need to be explained, like the letter ‘a’ for example.”
Georgia O’Keefe said, “I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way – things that I had no words for.”
And Wesley Dow had his students draw their responses to music as an exercise in free expression.
Regarding abstraction the curator said, “Some feared that it reduced art to a form of decoration.” Also that their “motive was to develop a more acute mode of perception.”
They spoke in terms of color chords (yellow/orange/red or green/blue/purple.) There were many comparisons to music, rhythm, tempo, lyricism, etc. New music itself was the inspiration for many of these works.
I had not been familiar before with Morgan Russell and Gino Severini and was glad to learn about them. And I seem to love Kandinsky more and more!
Please note that every single woman artist included was married to a man that was in the show…
(Also note that no photography was allowed in the exhibit; these are photos of reproductions in the show’s catalog.)