Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim museum is presenting the first major solo US exhibition of the groundbreaking work of Hilma af Klint, titled “Paintings of the Future”. Although created in the early part of 20th century, this work remained virtually unrecognized until 1986. These paintings made between 1906 and 1915 are now considered paradigm changing so the first non representational totally abstract work of the Western world. The artist felt her art was too radical for her contemporaries so she did  to want them shown until twenty years after her death.
Although her art was based and generated by af Klint’s spiritual practice, the paintings depict geometric phenomenon.
This large painting is “No.17 Group IX/SUW, The Swan ” from 1915. It shows a circle bifurcated through the vertical center line. The left hand side consists of two layers an outer white layer and an inner black core. The right hand side in contrast has three concentric layers of bright colors.
This concentric theme has been examined many artists years later.
“No 22 Group IX /SUW, The Swan” also from 1915, examines the concept of a cube projected on the 2-D plane. Dividing the square canvas with guide lines one through the center vertically, and two horizontal lines. These horizontal lines are located a distance away from the top and bottom of the canvas of 1/4 of the length of each side. This configuration creates two squares in the center of the work to build the isosceles triangles and rhombi to create the illusion of the cube and it’s interior space.
This exhibition is really a major development in the art world. The well deserved recognition of  Hilda af Klint is finally receiving, requires art history to make adjustments to both it’s time line and credit for the development of abstract painting. As someone interested in abstract geometric paintings for a long time, as I walked up the spirals of the Guggenheim Museum I kept thinking about these painting that I was seeing for the first time, “where have you been all of my life?”
Susan Happersett
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“Programmed” at the Whitney Museum

The exhibition “Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, !965-2018” currently on display at the Whitney Museum offers a broad sample of Art created using rules and computation. Including both early examples as well as more contemporary work this show highlights the progression of algorithmic art. Sol Lewitt was a pioneer of this type of conceptually generated work.
Lewitt’s wall drawing “4th wall 24 lines from the center, 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides, 12 lines from each corner” from “Wall Drawing #289”, 1976 is featured prominently in the first gallery. On display in the same room are Casey Reas’ video installations “(Software) Structure #003 A” and “(Software) Structure #003 B”.
Here is a still shot.
These videos are in direct response to the work of Sol Lewitt. Like Lewitt’s wall drawings Reas begins the process for each video with a verbal description but then generates the images using computer programming.
Cheyney Thompson uses the Drunken Walk Algorithm to facilitate the building of concrete sculptures.
“Broken Volumes (10L)” 2013 was constructed using one-inch concrete cubes, the placement of each successive cube is decided by the Drunken or Random Walk Algorithm. Each sculpture in the series is comprised of 10 Liters of cubes. The random nature of the decision making process for each permutation does not take into account the structural integrity of the sculpture. Some of the pieces break because sections become too heavy. The contrast between the rigid nature of rule based processes and the physical limits of the materials offers insight into the dichotomies of technology and physicality.
Susan Happersett

Daniel Lefcourt at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

“Terraform” is Daniel Lefcourt’s current solo exhibition of new paintings at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in Chelsea. Lefcourt has painted a series of abstract aerial landscapes. Created using algorithmic processes, they reference scientific, industrial and military imaging.
The painting “Terraform (Soundings)” from 2018 was generated by first staining the canvas and then tracing and diagramming stains. These overview maps of fictional landscapes utilize rule based systems and offer commentary on power of technological surveillance.
Susan Happersett

Michael Anastassiades at 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como has recently opened a NY  location of the famous Milanese store. Like its Italian counterpart the new retail space at the Seaport in lower Manhattan features an art gallery.
Michael Anastassiades installation “Arrangements” is all about scale. Based on the concept of jewelry the designer creates over sized geometric outlines using rods of light to fill the gallery space.
Each arrangement is constructed using a singular geometric theme.
Here is a structure made up of circles.
And a type of curtain composed of squares.
It is great to see a large retail establishment that is dedicated to cultural endeavors and provides a large dedicated art exhibition space.
Susan Happersett

Analia Saban at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

“Punched Card”, Analia Saban’s solo exhibition, includes work from the artists “Tapestry” series. This series introduces two very interesting dichotomies. The patterns presented in these weavings are circuits boards that allude to the history of computers into the digital age. The title of each work references the actual technical hardware. This is juxtaposed with the process of weaving on Jacquard looms that was one of the first industrial uses of binary analog systems.

“Tapestry [1,024 Bit[1K] Dynamic RAM,1103,Intel,1970]”

For these weavings, Saban uses linen thread for the warp and strips of dried acrylic paint for the weft. This choice of materials opens the dialog about the distinctions between what has been considered fine art (painting) and craft (weaving). The first weaving you see as you walk into the gallery (above) is hung on a wall, but farther into the space there is an installation of tapestries hung from the ceiling.
Image 3

“Tapestry[Computer Chip, TMS 1000, Texas Instruments, 1974]

This installation technique allows the viewer to walk around the textiles and get better understanding of the weaving process.
This series of work highlights two topics that have are currently important and intertwined in art and society today, the development of technology and the artificial hierarchies in culture.
Susan Happersett

“Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer” at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This week a guest blog entry by Elizabeth Whiteley

If you are planning to visit London very soon, consider viewing “Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer.” The exhibit is at the V&A Museum until November 18. It’s a small and well selected show of pioneering work since 1968. That year there was an international show titled “Cybernetic Serendipity” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Many of those artists are included in this exhibit.

Vera Molnar (French, born 1924) detail from “Interruptions”

One of the wall notes contains a description of the way images were produced in the early years of computer-generated art. Next to a work by George Nees it says “The plotter was operated by feeding punched tape into a computer that used the instruction to direct a pen across a drawing surface. As the computer had no screen, Nees would not have been able to fully anticipate the appearance of the resulting drawing.” Nowadays, we can preview an image pixel by pixel!

Manfred Mohr (French, born 1938), detail from “P-049” from the portfolio “Scratch Code”

Georg Nees (German, 1926-2016), “Untitled’ [red black]

 Thanks for your contribution Elizabeth! Next week more New York art.

Susan Happersett

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery

“Confirmation Bias” is the current solo exhibition for Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms gallery. The term confirmation bias relates to how information or data is interpreted in a way that favors one’s preexisting ideas believes and preferences. This can pose a negative effect on scientific study.
“Vanishing Points”is a data generated screen based work form 2018 that reacts in real time to the position of the viewer in the gallery. Using software that adjusts the grids to form a vanishing point that corresponds to the viewers perspective.
“Vanishing Point” has mathematical themes on numerous levels. The use of geometry to create the changing grids is just the beginning. Using computer algorithms Lozano-Hemmer takes the work outside of the 2 dimensions of the flat screens into the 3 dimensions of the gallery while adding the element of time. The concept of confirmed bias relates to the the societal implications of numerical data and how it can be distorted due to peoples existing opinions and feelings.
Susan Happersett

Matthew Larson at Massey Klein

The Massey Klein gallery’s is currently presenting “Vice Versa” a solo exhibition of Matthew Larson’s fiber works. Having developed a unique and arduous technique of embedding parallel rows of yarn into Velcro, Larson has created a series of stretched linen panels with geometric themes.
“Flat Structure” from 2017 at first glance seems to be a square with a diagonal line. Upon closer inspection that line is actually formed by a bend in each of the sections of yarn at the left upper corner.
Every line of yarn is s different length running from the right side of the square to the bottom. The nature of the fibrous material makes each bend slightly curvilinear, adding a subtle organic element to the geometric form. This juxtaposition of the idea of a straight edge square with a diagonal line with the softer corner folds creates a fascinating composition.

Susan Happersett

Tom Bronk at Andrew Edlin Gallery

Concentric squares have been a popular theme for geometric painters like Josef Albers and Frank Stella. Tom Bronk has added a fresh and frenetic quality to the form.
 Bronk’s painting “96(e)-1” from 1996 is currently display as part of his solo exhibition at the Andrew Edlin Gallery.
Featuring narrow horizontal bands of alternating contrasting colors, the squares seem to vibrate right off the canvas.
Tom Bronk is a self-taught artist having never attended an official traditional art school. But he did  interact with artists since arriving in NYC in the 1970’s. He worked as  a wall painter at the Leo Castelli Gallery and was introduced to the trends in contemporary art. That influenced combined with his inherent appreciation of geometry has resulted in an exciting body of work.
Susan Happersett

Vandorn Hinnant at the New York Hall of Science

I am so happy Vandorn Hinnant sent me an invitation to his current solo exhibition “The Hidden Mathematics: a surprising connection between Math and Art” at The New York Hall of Science. This was my first visit to the Hall of Science located in a stunning 1964 World’s Fair building in Corona Queens NY. I had wanted to see the museum’s permanent “Mathematica” display for a long time but it was an amazing discovery to find out about their art galleries. What a great place to see Math Art!
Hinnart’s artistic practice is a perfect example of the visualization of meta-mathematics. Interested in exploring mathematical geometric as complete systems, his drawings achieve detail and accuracy relying only on the construction rules of Euclidean geometry using a straight edge and a compass.
Inspiration for these drawings and paintings come from numerous mathematical sources including the Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Mean and fractals.
“Navigator’s Song” from 1995 features both horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry as well as isosceles triangle forms.
“Aromatic Vortex in Red & White” from 2012 depicts a rotating series of equilateral triangles to build a spiral, referencing the Padovan sequence.
Hinnant credits the work of numerous historical figures in the development of his decades long creative process including Pythagoras and Buckminster Fuller.
Susan Happersett