Inventing Abstraction Revisited

Piet Mondrian, Compositie, 1916, oil on canvas, with wood strip nailed to the bo
Piet Mondrian, Compositie, 1916 (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © 2013 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o HCR International. Courtesy The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

Piri Halasz takes a close look at the exhibition Inventing Abstraction: 1910 - 1925 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through April 15, 2013.

After revisting the show in detail, Halasz concludes: "for all its conceptual flaws, [the exhibition] still offers much to see & enjoy. I can see many reasons why the show’s organizers rejected all the semi-abstract work that I miss, and why they included so many examples of experiments, however inadequate these experiments may have been purely as art. These organizers opted for breadth as opposed to depth... instead of telling the more moving & illuminating story about how so many top-notch artists at the nerve centers in Western Europe evolved from the representational to the semi-abstract and then (sometimes but not always) to the purely abstract, creating fine art all along the way."