The Week in Abstract Art – One Thing Leads to Another
Dec 22, 2016
Francis Picabia was a master of transforming what exists into something new. He was one of the first proponents of abstraction in France, and as quickly as he became known for it he abandoned it, for something new. Picabia transitioned through multiple different stylistic phases over the course of his career. And he was also a master of appropriation, transforming the work of others into his own work, and the art of the past into the art of the future. His work is currently featured in a retrospective at MoMA in New York titled Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction. In celebration of being open to transformation, here are five other current abstract art exhibitions featuring the work of artists who embrace evolution, alteration, appropriation and change.
Jack Davidson: smoking a fag, kissing a man, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles
On view through 23 December 2016
Closing this week, this exhibition features new works by Scottish-born artist Jack Davidson. The works on display are collages Davidson made during his recent Yaddo residency. They represent the latest transformation in an ongoing evolution that began in 2012 when he started painting sketchpads with left over paint. Those sketch pages later formed the basis for a series of small collages, on which he based a series of large paintings, which inspired these large-scale collages.
Jack Davidson - Yaddo Collage 1, 2016, painted paper on paper, 60 x 44 in, photo credits of the artist and CB1 Gallery
Thomas Olbricht: My Abstract World, me Collectors Room, Berlin
On view through 2 April 2017
The me in me Collectors Room in Berlin stands for moving energies. This space invites private art collectors to publicly display their collections. Currently, Thomas Olbricht is showing his extensive collection of abstract art collected over the past 30 years. He has also filled the space with magazines and seating arrangements to encourage transformative moments of inspiration as viewers may take extra time to consider their relationships to the art.
Katharina Grosse – o.T., 2015, copyright VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016, photo by Roman März, Berlin
Robert Rauschenberg, retrospective exhibition, Tate Modern, London
On view through 2 April 2017
Few artists have more cleverly and beautifully embodied the notions of appropriation and transformation than Robert Rauschenberg. Case in point: his iconic Monogram, featuring a stuffed goat wrapped in a found tire. That seminal work and hundreds of others are on view in this comprehensive exhibition, which has brought together many of his most famous works on loan from some of the most important collections in the world.
Robert Rauschenberg Retroactive II 1964, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), photo credits of Tate Modern
Alighiero Boetti, Il Muro, Tornabuoni Art, London
On view through 24 January 2017
In addition to a selection of the maps that made Alighiero Boetti famous, this exhibition recreates the masterwork Boetti created called Il Muro: a collection of items Boetti hung on his wall salon-style, and moved with him from studio to studio. It includes found and appropriated items, as well as original works by Boetti himself. Il Muro inspired many new artworks, and over time transformed into an artwork itself.
Alighiero Boetti - Il Muro, Tornabuoni Art, London, installation view, photo credits of Tornabuoni Art
Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A., Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
On view through 12 March 2017
In the 1960s, Roy Lichtenstein appropriated Bed-Day dots, part of the visual language of printing, to make paintings recreating images from comic books. His transformative vision of what art could become was a leading force in Mid-20th Century aesthetics. In addition to a selection of his paintings, this exhibition allows viewers to walk around inside of a life-size, three-dimensional recreation of Bedroom at Arles, a 1992 Lichtenstein painting based on an earlier work by Vincent van Gogh.
Roy Lichtenstein - Cloud Study - 1964, photo credits of The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, MoMA, New York
On view through 19 March 2017
This comprehensive survey of the career of Francis Picabia brings together more than 200 artworks spanning nearly five decades, including more than 125 paintings, plus personal letters, publications, a film and more.
Francis Picabia - Aello, 1930, Oil on canvas, 169 × 169 cm, Private collection, copyright 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
Featured image: Francis Picabia - Tarentelle (detail), 1912, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York
By Phillip Barcio