A trip to N.Y.C. last week resulted in a whole lot of trekking through museum exhibits, and seeing dazzling work, work that was ground-breaking when it was produced. Specifically, I am referring to exhibits of Kandinsky, O'Keefe and Blake.
First: Kandinsky at the Gugghenheim. The paintings are wonderful (well, not so much the later period). Anyone who loves painting should not miss this exhibit. A lot of great material is available about this exhibit, including an excellent video of the exhibit on the Gugghenheim website.
So I am providing three links, and I will keep my own comments to a minimum.
I will say though that I think some will discount Kandinsky too quickly for producing beautiful paintings. But the power and depth is also there, and it is unmistakable. In the same vein, I think his passion, as seen not only in his work, but in his writings on art, can also get him too easily dismissed, again by some, as somehow not deep enough. But there is a LOT in Kandinsky. I always think of the following quote when I see a piece of work that is "out of it's era" so to speak, and hence looks not too interesting.
From: Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912)
"Every work is a child of its time, often it is the mother of our emotions.
Thus, every period of culture produces its own art, which can never be repeated. Any attempt to give new life to the artistic principles of the past can at best only result in a work of art that resembles a stillborn child. For example, it is impossible for our inner lives, our feelings, to be like those of the ancient Greeks. Efforts, therefore to apply Greek priciples, e.g., to sculpture, can only produce forms similar to those employed by the Greeks, a work that remains soulless for all time."
Boston Globe review:http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2009/09/27/exploring_kandinskys_indelible_mark_on_20th_century_art/?page=1
New York Times review:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/18/arts/design/18kandinsky.html