Friday, April 12, 2013

Deciphering nuances of photo and abstraction

This is the last month of a year-long exhibit at MOMA, encompassing an extensive period from 1910 until today and offering a sort of critical reassessment of the role of photography in both avant-garde and neo-avant-garde art movements. Simultaneously, another show examines abstraction’s contemporary notions through an array of contemporary practices. (March 15–September 2, 2013)

MoMA’s photography collection
It has a special emphasis on the medium's relation to Dada, Bauhaus, Surrealism, Constructivism, New Objectivity, Conceptual, and Post-Conceptual art—and in the development of contemporary artistic practices. The shaping of what came to be known as ‘New Vision’ photography bore the obvious influence of "lens-based" and "time-based" works. El Lissitzky best summarized its ethos: "The new world will not need little pictures," he wrote in The Conquest of Art (1922). "If it needs a mirror, it has the photograph and the cinema."

Photographic history is presented as a multivalent history of distinct ‘new visions’, rooted in unconventional and innovative exercises that range from photograms and photomontages to experimental films and photobooks. Bringing together over 250 works from the museum collection, the show features major projects by Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Gerhard Rühm, Helen Levitt, Daido Moriyama, Robert Heinecken, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, and Walid Raad, among others.
Abstraction’s contemporary notions
Since the early 20th century, abstraction has been associated with so many artistic movements, from Suprematism and Constructivism to Abstract Expressionism and Op art, that it can no longer be defined by any one style or tradition. Indeed, abstraction exists now as a rich and varied trove of formal languages and ideas—an open source of inspiration that extends well beyond the boundaries of art. This exhibition focuses on the print medium, highlighting ways in which abstraction has played a generative role in works of the past decade.

Featuring prints, artists’ books, and multiples from the Museum’s collection—by artists such as Cory Arcangel, Tauba Auerbach, Philippe Decrauzat, Liam Gillick, Wade Guyton, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, R. H. Quaytman, and Charline von Heyl—Abstract Generation examines contemporary notions of abstraction through a range of contemporary practices.

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