New York Times: History Lesson in Abstraction, Cutting Across the Americas
Art museums are in the business of sorting out history. And it often falls to our smaller institutions to tackle the initial, broad-stroke cuts. Over the years the Newark Museum has taken on this path-clearing role with relish, particularly when the histories are transcultural in scope. It does so again in “Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s,” the capstone exhibition of the museum’s centennial.
In this case, a chunk of the history is in Newark’s collection. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the museum assiduously bought, sometimes straight from artists’ studios, a type of American painting and sculpture known as geometric abstraction. It’s attractive stuff: intimate in scale and coolly design-savvy, but shot through with political and personal content.
“Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s” continues through May 23 at the Newark Museum (newarkmuseum.org)