Covering the period of artistic innovation between 1912 and 1935, A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde traces the arc of the pioneering avant-garde from its flowering in 1912 to the mid-1930s after Socialist Realism was decreed the sole sanctioned style of art. Bringing together major works from MoMA’s extraordinary collection, the exhibition features breakthrough projects in painting, drawing, sculpture, prints, book and graphic design, film, photography, and architecture by leading figures such as Alexandra Exter, Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Lyubov Popova, Alexandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, and Dziga Vertov, among others.
In anticipation of the centennial of the Russian Revolution, this exhibition examines key developments and new modes of abstraction, including Suprematism and Constructivism, as well as avant-garde poetry, film, and photomontage.
Discover one of the most notable Cuban artists of the twentieth century at this major retrospective.
Born in Cuba of mixed heritage, Wifredo Lam (1902 – 1982) pursued a successful artistic career within avant-garde circles on both sides of the Atlantic, and was closely associated with twentieth-century artistic and literary icons such as Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Aimé Césaire, Lucio Fontana and Asger Jorn. His work poetically addresses themes of social injustice, nature and spirituality, and was greeted internationally with both consternation and acclaim.
A witness to twentieth-century political upheaval throughout his long career – including the Spanish Civil War and the evacuation of artists and intellectuals from France with the onset of World War II – Lam defined a new and unique way of painting for a post-colonial world. Lam’s work now brings a historical perspective to contemporary issues.
This exhibition celebrates Lam’s life and work and confirms his place at the centre of global modernism.
The international group exhibition explores the often disquieting figure of the clown, which has made an ‘uncanny’ career in recent years. Today (evil) clowns appear in a wide range of contexts including (anti-)advertisement, political activism, TV series, horror films and Hollywood productions, pop music and contemporary art. The masqueraded jester makes us laugh – but with a laughter that quickly gets stuck in our throats: ‘Thereʼs Nothing Funny About a Clown in the Moonlight’ (Lon Chaney).
The show features artistic positions that approach the topic of the clown in very different ways. Next to painting, sculpture and photography the Kunstpalais presents site-specific installations and performance(-documentations) that were produced especially for the exhibition. These diverse works are complemented by exhibits from popular culture, movies, music and political activism.
On the occasion of the International Comic-Salon Erlangen one chapter of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of one of the vibrant evil clown-personalities: to Joker, opponent of Batman – green-haired, permanently grinning and psychopathic.
A pioneer of cross-cultural painting that infused Western modernism and African and Caribbean symbolism, Wifredo Lam (Sagua La Grande, 1902 – Paris, 1982) was in touch with every avant-garde movement at the time, whilst also addressing world problems. His deeply committed work, exploring the diversity of expression and mediums, from painting to drawing, prints and ceramics, took on the same struggle as his friend Aimé Césaire: “to paint the drama of his country, the cause and the spirit of the blacks.” From an early age, Lam became aware of the issue of race and its social and political implications in Cuba, Europe and later in the USA. He was associated with divergent national, social and culture spheres, but always maintained his distance and avoided falling into roles or the impact of identity imposed upon him, with good intentions, by friends and admirers. Lam invented his own unique and original artistic language to defend the dignity of life and freedom.
The exhibition revolves around the genesis of his work, the diverse stages and conditions of reception and the progressive integration of a body of work that was painstakingly put together in Spain, Paris, Marseille and Cuba. It traces the artist’s unique career by way of almost two hundred and fifty works – paintings, drawings, etchings, prints, ceramics - and is completed with over three hundred documents – letters, photographs, magazines and books. This broad range of material casts light upon his work and thought, zooming in on the years he spent in Spain (1923–1938), the remarkable prints from the 1960s and 1970s and his collaborations with eminent writers of his time, in addition to the major works he produced in his native Cuba (1940–1950); In short, it depicts a committed life inside a turbulent century.
Travel back to the beginning of the twentieth century with Theo van Doesburg and inhale the revolutionary atmosphere of the avant-garde in the exhibition Theo van Doesburg: A New Expression of Life, Art and Technology. Having founded the art movement De Stijl in the Netherlands with Piet Mondrian in 1917, Van Doesburg set off across Europe to promote their abstract visual language internationally. In Paris he encountered the art of the Dadaists and began writing Dadaist poetry himself. In Weimar he presented his new awareness of beauty to the Bauhaus architects. He travelled round Europe and made his pioneering visual language appear not only in paintings, but also in buildings, furniture and interiors.
The art of the Russian avant-garde numbers among the most diverse and radical chapters of modernism. At no other point in the history of art did artistic schools and artists’ associations emerge at such a breathtaking pace than between 1910 and 1920. Every group was its own programme, every programme its own call to battle - against the past as well as against competing iterations of the present.
The Albertina is devoting a major presentation to the diverse range of art from that era: 130 masterpieces by Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall illustrate fundamentally different styles and their dynamic development from primitivism to cubo-futurism and on to suprematism, as well the chronological parallels between figurative expressionism and pure abstraction.
A leading member of the Russian avant-garde, Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) revolutionized the worlds of graphic art, design, and photography. With more than three hundred works on display, including period prints, photomontages, magazines and posters from the artist’s day and age, visitors can fully capture the strength of this innovator, and appreciate the charisma that had such a great impact on his fellow artists, as well as on the literati, filmmakers, and intellectuals who accompanied him along the way. From the photomontages made for the poem Pro Eto (About This) by Vladimir Mayakovsky, to the covers for the magazine Novi Lef, a reference point for the revolutionary intelligentsia, to film posters and illustrations for books, Rodchenko’s works bear witness to his collaborations and friendships, portraying not just a creative personality, but also the spirit of an unrepeatable moment in the history of the twentieth century.
In the field of photography, Rodchenko’s outstanding portraits recorded the images of urban scenarios and architecture, reportages in factories and construction sites, the people and the spirit of a time of great hope as well as contradiction. Above all, Rodchenko subverted the rules of photography: the images he created, characterized by uncharted viewpoints, angles and diagonals, are the clearest evidence we have today of the desire for the modernization of art and the world that was the driving force behind the artists of the Russian avant-garde. Completing the exhibition are three Spatial Constructions, aerial sculptures obtained by assembling basic geometric forms, three thought-provoking examples of Constructivism made by transforming the rational and productive principles of industry.
Joan Miró (1893–1983) once famously declared that he wanted to assassinate painting. Today he is recognized as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. With a focused solo exhibition, the SCHIRN presents a previously little-discussed aspect of the Catalan artist’s work: Miró's preference for large-scale formats and his fascination with the wall. From early on, the wall was the starting point for his painting – the wall as an object to be depicted, and which at the same time would determine the physical and tactile quality of his painting. Miró distanced himself from the simple reproduction of reality and equated the picture plane with the wall. By using different colored grounds, coarse burlap, Masonite (hardboard), sandpaper and tarpaper, he created unique visual worlds of monumental dimensions and outstanding materiality.
The exhibition covers over half a century of Miró’s oeuvre, beginning with his emblematic painting "The Farm" (1921/22), and continuing with his iconic dream paintings of the 1920s, his key work "Painting (The Magic of Color)" from 1930, his works and frieze formats painted on unconventional grounds in the 1940s and 1950s, to the brilliant late works such as the monumental triptych "Blue I–III" (1961) and the extraordinary "Paintings I–III" (1973). With this exhibition, which includes around 50 works of art from prominent museums worldwide, such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museo Reina Sofía Madrid and the Centre Pompidou, Paris as well as important private collections, the SCHIRN opens up an entirely new approach to Miró's art.
Picasso Sculpture is a sweeping survey of Pablo Picasso’s innovative and influential work in three dimensions. This will be the first such museum exhibition in the United States in nearly half a century.
Over the course of his long career, Picasso devoted himself to sculpture wholeheartedly, if episodically, using both traditional and unconventional materials and techniques. Unlike painting, in which he was formally trained and through which he made his living, sculpture occupied a uniquely personal and experimental status for Picasso. He approached the medium with the freedom of a self-taught artist, ready to break all the rules. This attitude led him to develop a deep fondness for his sculptures, to which the many photographs of his studios and homes bear witness. Treating them almost as members of his household, he cherished the sculptures' company and enjoyed re-creating them in a variety of materials and situations. Picasso kept the majority in his private possession during his lifetime.
It was only in 1966, through the large Paris retrospective Hommage à Picasso, that the public became fully aware of this side of his work. Following that exhibition, in 1967 The Museum of Modern Art organized The Sculpture of Picasso, which until now was the first and only exhibition on this continent to display a large number of the artist’s sculptures.