Tag Archive | Modern Art Monday

Modern Art Monday Presents: Josef Albers, Homage to the Square: On Near Sky

Homage to the Square
Photo By Gail

Following an influential career at The Bauhaus school in Wiemer, Germany (191933) Josef Albers fled the Nazi regime and emigrated to the United States, where he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and then at Yale in Connecticut. Beginning in 1949 and continuing over the next twenty-five years, he created his celebrated Homage to the Square series, which is composed of more than a thousand works including paintings, drawings, prints, and tapestries. These works are based on a template of geometric abstraction, a mathematically determined format of several squares overlapping or nesting within one another. These works represent Alber’s experiments with theories of color and spatial relationships, which were informed by his studies of Mexican pyramids and pre-Colombian architectonic principles. Homage to the Square: On Near Sky was painted in 1963.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Synchromy No. 3

Synchromy No 3
Photo By Gail

Although this abstract composition, Synchromy No. 3 (1917), bears many traces of European Cubism — angular shapes, fragmented forms, and multiple perspectives — it asserts the primacy of color as a key component of space and form. In 1912, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, together with the painter Morgan Russell, coined the term Synchromism to describe abstract compositions primarily concerned with the rhythmic use of color — a phenomenon they likened to a symphony’s use of sound. Synchromism was one of many diverse approaches to abstraction that flourished in the Americas and Europe on the 1910s, radically departing from traditional vocabularies of painting and sculpture

Photographed in The Brooklyn Museum.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Ilona Keserü, Wall-Hanging with Tombstone Forms

Wall-Hanging with Tombstone Forms
Photo By Gail

Ilona Keserü belongs to a generation of Hungarian artists that emerged in the wake of the Revolution of 1956, which had resulted in restrictions on officially acceptable art and suspicion of avant-garde art produced in Western styles — particularly abstraction. Keserü and other Hungarian artists flourished in abstract modes, despite this marginalization. A vibrant unframed tapestry, Wall-Hanging with Tombstone Forms (1969) exemplifies her desire to merge modern abstraction with references to Hungarian folk culture, making something with local resonance out of an otherwise international vocabulary of hard-edge painting. The undulating, toothlike motif recurring throughout the composition relates to artists study of gravestones at the Balatonudvari Cemetery, southwest of Budapest.

Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Elizabeth Murray, Terrifying Terrain

Terrifying Terrain
Photos By Gail

Elizabeth Murray belonged to a generation of postmodern artists that challenged the austerity and impersonality of Minimalism and post-painterly abstraction by working in different techniques and styles simultaneously, blurring perceived boundaries between traditional media. Composed of multiple, irregularly shaped canvases that are seemingly combined haphazardly, Terrifying Terrain (1989 – 90) is a sculptural painting  — or a painted sculpture? — that conjures the precariousness of an awe-inspiring rock-climbing trip in Montana. Jagged, overlapping planes convey the mountainous landscape that the artist experienced there, as well as the constant threat and fear of falling. The opening in the middle simulates the effect of a climber’s vertiginous view down into a ravine.

Terrifying Terrain

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Indiana, Purim: The Four Facets of Esther

Purim: Four Facets of Esther
Photo By Gail

Robert Indiana (19282018) was closely associated with the hard-edged painting and Pop Art movements. Using the formal vocabulary of advertisements, his work often explores the power of words and numbers. In Purim: The Four Facets of Esther II (1967), he represents Stars of David and elements of the Biblical story of Esther, who was Queen of Persia in the fifth century BCE. Esther saved her fellow Jews from destruction, the feat to which Indiana refers in the fourth panel.

The Jewish Museum (where this photo was taken) commissioned this print in an edition of ninety for its annual Purim fundraising ball in 1967.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Men and Machine

Stuart Davis, Men and Machine
Photo By Gail

Heralded for his abstract visual evocations of jazz, Stuart Davis‘s art also responded profoundly to the industrial age. Men and Machine (1934) features two men standing before a schematically rendered structure with their backs to the viewer. Likely representing a construction site with the foreman and investor looking on, the painting alludes to New York’s interwar construction boom. Highlighting the degree to which industrialism was associated with masculinity, Davis’s painting, consisting of primary colors on a white background, also testifies to the artist’s respect for Piet Mondrian.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Fernand Leger, The Builders

The Builders
Photo By Gail

The quintessential painter of the machine age, Fernand Leger observed the effects of modern technology in the trenches as a soldier in the French army during World War I. Featuring workers whose bodies appear to be assembled from standardized industrial parts, The Builders (1920) exemplifies the style he developed after the war. Unlike the toiling laborers of Thomas Hart Benton’s mural, America Today, the builders here fuse seamlessly with the scaffolding and gears around them, as though they are part of one, harmonious machine. In the 1930s and 1940s. Leger would go on to make his own murals, featuring abstracted images of industry and machine power.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.