Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hilma af Klint

From this article in the New York Times:
“Kandinsky was actively campaigning for himself as being the first abstract artist, constantly writing his gallery and saying, ‘Hey, you know, I was the first! I painted the first abstract painting in 1911!”’ said Julia Voss, an art historian and art critic for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “He was obviously successful, as he’s widely considered the father of 20th-century abstraction. But all the while, af Klint, much more privately, had already been creating these striking, abstract visuals for years.”
In the March edition of the arts magazine Tate Etc., Ms. Voss campaigned on af Klint’s behalf, arguing that the Swedish artist, not Kandinsky, was the first abstract painter of the 20th century.
Georg Imdahl, a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster in Germany and an art critic for the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, is more hesitant on the matter. “She developed somehow outside the art scene of the time, so I think we need to learn more about her intentions as an artist,” Mr. Imdahl said. “That said, there are several of her works which I would consider integrating into a discussion of the genesis of 20th-century abstraction.”
The exhibition adds to the global debate about the canon of contemporary art. “In which box does this strange artist belong?” Ms. Müller-Westermann said of reactions to af Klint’s works. “Is she in the same box as Kandinsky and all the abstract pioneers, or maybe it’s easier to say it’s not art at all, just some woman who did something crazy?”
She continued, “The category does not interest me so much, to be honest; what intrigues me is simply to consider what is there. What did she see, what do we see?”

Fictitious interview that addresses some of the ways Hilma af Klint's work affects a contemporary audience.

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