THEO VAN DOESBURG (1883 - 1931)
Compositie, C. 1918 - 1920
Composition Ink, pencil and gouache on paper 13,5 x 19 cm
Van Moorsel donation to the Dutch State 1981
This is a complicated and difficult moment for everyone as we move through the pandemic. I know many are counting the days since they have traveled further than the grocery store; at the same time, we are waiting and hoping for change, real change, in this country and throughout the world. The Black Lives Matter movement is an essential force in making such change happen. My thoughts are focused on this particular moment in the Arts, and how the Arts must inform and engage and heal.
The Art Section has always been about critical dialogue and the engagement of artists and writers who wish to articulate their own or another’s work. For this Summer 2020 issue, we have artists and writers, curators and poets in concert with one another.
Blake Gopnik has written the definitive biography of Andy Warhol, Warhol: A Life as Art, which was published during the spring of 2020. Critic Philip Auslander dialogued with Gopnik about the process of writing this biography and also about Warhol himself, his public persona, his status as a filmmaker, and his stature as an artist. I appreciate their sharing ideas through a conversation about the life of this artist and what it took to write this seminal book. As part of his research, Gopnik interviewed over 260 people and read over 100,000 documents. Wow!
Poets Edward Hirsch and Opal Moore discussed online Hirsch’s poems that are the expression of grief. The Art Section not only presents this conversation and Hirsch’s poems but also makes it possible for you to hear the poet read through the inclusion of audio recordings of the poems. I hope that you will find empathy and comfort in these poems and the dialogue between two poets, to whom I am very grateful. Both of these poets have spent many hours helping others to see their way into poetry, Moore in her time teaching at Spelman College and Hirsch through books such as How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999) and The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Expression (2002) as well as his time teaching at Wayne State University and the University of Houston. I commend and appreciate both Moore and Hirsch for being such important advocates for Poetry. Hirsch's new book is Stranger by Night: Poems (2020).
Konkrete Kunst, an art movement that came out of early abstraction in Europe, was first defined by the artist Theo van Doesburg’s manifesto of 1930. Van Doesburg wanted to distinguish his ideas about abstraction from those of other artists of his time by emphasizing the non-referentiality of abstract art. Many artists in the German-speaking world still create works within this movement; they have symposia and exhibitions and workshops to continue the exploration of these ideas. Ingmar Lähnemann, curator at the Städtische Galerie Bremen
in Germany, curated a two-part exhibition, "Konkret Bremen I" (on view from 11.10.2019 – 1.5.2020) and "Konkret Bremen II" (1.26.2020 - 06.07.2020) which included a total of 27 artists from the region whose work reflects this approach. For The Art Section, Lähnemann has written about this exhibition and about artists who have continued the conversation initiated by van Doesburg: “in order to be universal,
art must abandon subjectivity and find impersonal inspiration purely in the elements of which it is constructed: line, plane and color.”
I find it fascinating that these ideas, introduced 90 years ago, are still part of the exchange among artists in the region of Lower Saxony in Germany who are maintaining this rich aesthetic legacy.
To get through these difficult times we need art, we need dialogue and discourse. I hope this Summer will bring dialogue and communication and compassion in these times when we see each other only online.
All my best,
Editor in Chief
The Art Section