Saturday, February 7, 2015

up and down commercial street

To the Whitechapel Gallery, to see the terrific Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015 show - which was inspirational.  It started, obviously enough, with Malevich, but it was less interested in geometric abstraction simply as abstraction as in its lived relations to the world: a technology through which to envisage utopias; as related to architectonics; as a tool of communication (and in connection with communication methods), and, happily, The Everyday (including Běla Kolářová's Swatch of Snap Fasteners II (1964).  I felt I was learning about a whole lot of artists who were very new to me, especially from Eastern Europe and South America.  I completely loved Willem de Roaj's commentary on colonialism in Indonesia, Blue to Black (2012), and the wall commentary on Adam Pendleton's Black Dada (K/A) (2012): "characteristically the Black Dada paintings contain a partial view of Sol LeWitt's cube sculptures, evoking geometric abstraction, accompanied by letters derived from "Black Dada."  He has also drawn on and referenced other cultural sources, including Arte Povera, Jean-Luc Godard, charismatic gospel preaching, the situationist manifesto, Congolese independence and the Arial typeface."

After that affirmation of eclecticism I went for a walk up the Commercial Road, and was super-impressed by different forms of vernacular urban art ...

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