Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday natterings

The week has been very busy so I have a lot of catching up to do. But on the agenda are reviews of the new Yoga show at the Asian Art Museum and works from South Africa at YBCA.

Upcoming events at Arc Gallery and hidden cities at SOMArts and the wonderful show of sculpture by De Staebler at Dolby Chadwick. There is more sculpture at Hackett/Mill - this time by Manuel Nieri. Plus celebrations of printing making all over the Bay Area.

In the meantime, it's off to brunch to celebrate Malevich's birthday. He was born on February 23, 1879 and was the founder of "Suprematism," an art style focused on basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors. As an art style, it didn't have far to go before running out of visual ideas but the Communists put an end to it by declaring that "Social Realism" was the style of the state.

One did not disagree with Stalin and Malevich didn't. Malevich's assumption that a shifting in the attitudes of the Soviet authorities toward the modernist art movement would take place after the death of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky's fall from power, was proven correct in a couple of years, when the Stalinist regime turned against forms of abstraction, considering them a type of "bourgeois" art, that could not express social realities. As a consequence, many of his works were confiscated and he was banned from creating and exhibiting similar art. (

He died of cancer in 1935. He died as the "Great Purge" was gathering speed but it's likely that he would have been a victim if he had lived longer. The Revolution began with such hope ended up eating those hopes along with millions of people who lived within the reach of Stalin's secret police.

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