Wojciech Fangor, M 151968, oil on canvas, 1968
An essay rather than a survey - curated by Lynn Zelevansky, Curator and Department Head, Modern and Contemporary Art, LACMA - Beyond Geometry contains nearly 200 works by more than 130 artists from 3 continents and 18 countries, chosen because they most clearly articulate the issues that are at the core of the exhibition. Loans come from artists and their estates, private collections, and public institutions worldwide. Many works have never before been seen in the United States. The exhibition juxtaposes intimate moments with physically enveloping art experiences. In additional to painting and sculpture, it presents major installation works, a sound room with ambient serial music, wall drawings, concrete poetry and artists' books, photo-based conceptual art, and documentation of performances, earthworks and site-specific environments and interventions. Beyond Geometry is divided into six sections that identify ideas that concerned artists all over the West who were developing alternative forms from a geometric and/or systematic base. As many were inclined to use several of these ideas over time - or even within a given work - artists may appear in more than one section of the show.
The Forties and Fifties focuses on influential modes of abstraction employed during the first decade and a half after World War II. It is conceived as an introduction to, and background for, the remainder of the exhibition. It will include artists such as Max Bill (Switzerland); François Morellet (France); Gyula Kosice (Argentina); Lygia Clark (Brazil); Ad Reinhardt (U.S.); and Ellsworth Kelly (U.S.).
The Object and the Body concerns the move from two to three dimensions. More than any other section in the show, this one underscores the importance of phenomenology. It includes artists such as Lucio Fontana (Italy); Franz Erhard Walther (Germany); Hélio Oiticica (Brazil); Cildo Meireles (Brazil); Robert Morris (U.S.); Eva Hesse (U.S.).
Light and Movement encompasses aspects of Kinetic and Op Art, as well as works made with light. For certain artists in Europe, South America, and the United States, the scientific approach to "research" that characterized some geometric painting led to explorations of perception using optical illusions, light, and movement. Some featured artists in this section are Wojciech Fangor (Poland); Gianni Colombo (Italy); Bridget Riley (England); Gego (Venezuela); Jesús Rafael Soto (Venezuela); Douglas Wheeler (U.S.); and Robert Breer (U.S.).
Repetition and Seriality: Repetition formed the basis of a system for artmaking that eliminated the need for traditional composition, the visual balancing of one pictorial or sculptural element against another. Repetition - with its associations to industrial processes - also reduced the necessity for the artist's hand in the execution of the work, minimizing the possibilities for personal associations and metaphor. However, what at first seemed like an emotionally cool approach could also be overheated in its obsessiveness. Among artists included in this section are Bernd and Hilla Becher (Germany); Hanne Darboven (Germany); Mira Schendel (Brazil); Lygia Pape (Brazil); Sol LeWitt (U.S.); and Carl Andre (U.S.).
The Object Redefined looks at works from the late sixties and seventies that gave priority to ideas over physical presence. This undermining of the traditional art object constituted a breaking down of barriers that was commensurate with the social mores of the time. A broad category, Conceptualism can be composed of words typed on a piece of paper or written on a wall, but it also permeated performance, installation, and earthwork. The Object Redefined includes works by Daniel Buren (France); Piero Manzoni (Italy); Hans Haacke (Germany/United States); Luis Camnitzer (Uruguay); Antonio Manuel (Brazil); John Baldessari (US); StanisBaw Dró|d| (Poland); and Dennis Oppenheim (U.S.).
The Problem of Painting: In the late sixties and seventies, alternative forms dominated the international art discourse, and painting was said to be "dead," the province of an earlier time and age group. Nevertheless, strategies associated with Conceptualism provided certain artists with a path back to painting. The Problem of Painting includes work by some of these artists, Blinky Palermo (Germany); Roman Opalka (Poland/France); Raymundo Colares (Brazil); Robert Ryman (U.S.); and Mel Bochner (U.S.) among them.