For the final month of 2018, Live Culture offers a special look at two of the most unususal and inspiring art exhibitions on offer this season.This month's show features an audio visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for the exhibitions Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future and R. H. Quaytman: + x, Chapter 34, with Curatorial Assistant David Horowitz.
Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future is the first major solo exhibition in the United States of the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). When af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from recognizable references to the physical world. Af Klint, convinced the world was not ready for them, stipulated that they not be shown for 20 years following her death. She developed her new approach to art making together with her spiritual practice, outside of Stockholm’s male-dominated art world, and had begun to regularly hold séances with four other women by 1896. During a meeting in 1906, one of the spirits that the group often channeled asked her to create a cycle of paintings. Af Klint immediately accepted and worked on the project between 1906 and 1915, completing 193 paintings and works on paper collectively called The Paintings for the Temple. She imagined installing them in a spiral temple, but the building never came to fruition.
Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future offers an opportunity to experience af Klint’s artistic achievements in the Guggenheim’s rotunda more than a century after she began her daring work. Curated by Tracey Bashkoff, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, with the assistance of David Horowitz, Curatorial Assistant, and organized with the cooperation of the Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm, the exhibition features more than 170 of af Klint’s artworks and focus on the artist’s breakthrough years, 1906–20. It is during this period that she began to produce nonobjective and stunningly imaginative paintings, creating a singular body of work that invites a reevaluation of modernism and its development.
David takes us through Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future, and the accompaniying exhibit R. H. Quaytman: + x, Chapter 34, both of which he knows intimately and helped to realize. Quaytman is a contemporary artist who has made and installed work specifically related to af Klint and the structure of the museum itself. In these new works, Quaytman engages af Klint’s aesthetic language and spiritually charged subject matter, reexamining both through the lens of the Guggenheim Museum’s founding ethos, which was indebted to the art and theories of Kandinsky and culminated with the commissioning of Frank Lloyd Wright to design “a temple of spirit.” Quaytman’s abiding interest in af Klint extends back to 1989, when Quaytman organized an exhibition on the Swedish artist at New York’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.
I hope that you will join us for this special up-close visit of this pair of exhibits by remarkable visual artists!
Both Exhibitions run from October 12, 2018, to April 23, 2019, and may be seen at: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY. More Information is available at: https://www.guggenheim.org/