Museum Monday: The New York Times features artists Robert Irwin and James Turrell on the occasion of their small but powerful exhibition at the Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in Varese, Italy. The exhibition includes James Turrell’s new immersive installation Sight Unseen, which produces the feeling of floating inside a cloud, as well as Robert Irwin’s Varese Portal Room, which evokes his fascination with perception and reality. The exhibition, entitled Aisthesis: The Origin of Sensations, takes its cue from the ancient Greek word for “feeling” and continues through November 2.
Happy Birthday to Joaquín Torres García!
Born today in 1874, Joaquín Torres-García’s importance for, and influence on, abstract art in the Americas cannot be overstated. Trained in Europe, he was at the heart of many of the most important abstract movements of the twentieth century, exhibiting alongside Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian, and other pioneering abstract artists during the 1920s and 1930s. Constructif en rouge et ocre dates from his Paris years, when he was an active member of that city’s avant-garde. By that time Torres-García had come to reject European and North American trends in abstraction as too mathematical and limited. He instead looked to ancient cultures, particularly those of the Americas, to develop his utopian theory of Universal Constructivism, proposing a contemporary art that would be a synthesis of world art from all eras. For Torres-García abstract art was a deeply spiritual and philosophical act, rather than a reductive mathematical exercise.
Constructif en rouge et ocre, a magnificent example of his mature style, expresses those principles: the gridlike composition creates a structure containing various pictograms that make reference to a range of contemporary and ancient symbols. Three years after painting this work, Torres-García returned to his native Uruguay, where he led a renaissance in abstract art and theory that would have a profound effect on future generations of artists across the continent.
Joaquín Torres García, Constructif en rouge et ocre [Construction in Red and Ochre], 1931, oil on linen canvas, Purchase as a gift of the Eugene McDermott Foundation in honor of Barbara Duncan, 1981.
Marcel Duchamp was born on this day in 1887, and his influence is still felt throughout the art world today.
Regina Silveira’s work uses optical illusions to raise conceptual questions about art history, perception, and memory. In Masterpieces (In Absentia): Marcel Duchamp, a real stool stands in front of a vinyl cutout representing a dramatic shadow. The shadow follows the outline of the stool, but also includes the shadow-shape of a bicycle wheel, a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s famous 1913 “ready-made” sculpture of a bicycle wheel atop a stool. With this work Silveira seems to be suggesting that even though the original object (Duchamp’s sculpture) is not physically present, its memory is so strong that it can literally cast a shadow across our perception.
Regina Silveira, Masterpieces (In Absentia): Marcel Duchamp, 1983, Digital image, printed as self-adhesive vinyl cutout, and wood pedestal, Purchase through the Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 2000.
Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang recently set up his new installation entitled, “The Ninth Wave" in the Huangpu River near Shanghai to drum up excitement for his sure to be incredible solo show at the Power Station of Art starting August 8th, 2014 in Shanghai. See more of this work below: