Arts History Update for late October 2014

28 Oct

Arts History Update for late October 2014 by David Cummins

The topic for Fall semester in the Arts History Lecture Series at Texas Tech University Museum Helen DeVitt Jones Sculpture Court at 10:30 am Jones Auditorium at 11:00 am on Friday mornings is American Impressionism. A quick but accurate way to address it is to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History then click on American Art then click on Nineteenth Century at which there are 78 topics one of which is American Impressionism. Click on it.

The French Impressionists would show together eight times beginning in 1874 through 1886 labeled Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc who were not anonymous at all. Founding members were Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissaro. Most American artists visiting Paris at the time ignored the Impressionists for there was much else to do and accomplish in the European art capital. Julian Alden Weir wrote to his parents in America after visiting the third group exhibition by French Impressionists in 1877 “I never in my life saw such horrible things. … they do not observe drawing nor form but give you an impression of what they call nature. It was worse than the Chamber of Horrors.”

An exception was Pennsylvania born Mary Stevenson Cassatt who moved to Paris in 1874, was sympathetic, and Edgar Degas invited her to exhibit with the group from 1877 on. The Cup of Tea (1879)

Julian Alden Weir would come around later and use Impressionist techniques The Red Bridge (1895) depicting an iron bridge over the Shetucket River near the Weir family’s summer home in Windham Connecticut

William Merritt Chase, Shinnecock Hills, Long Island (1896),-Long-Island-large.html illustrates how Chase adopted Imressionism.

Childe Hassam, July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou (1910) Boston born and a lifelong resident of New York City, Hassam was visiting Paris on Bastille Day and looked from his hotel window down on a street parade that he depicted in his Impressionist style. He would later repeat the scene for a London and a New York City parade after The Great War ended


Kazimir Malevich 1879-1935 was both a modernist painter and an art theoretician who was born in Kiev, then of the Russian Governate Empire now Ukraine. His parents were Poles and his father managed a sugar factory in Kiev. He was baptized as a Roman Catholic. He was a pioneer in abstract painting early on as Cubist and Fauvist, then invented Suprematism that itself spawned Constructivism that continues to inform contemporary art, then created Abstract Expressionist images. By the 1930s his art was suppressed by the Soviet government but he had secreted many works to Germany where they could be protected and circulated by the Bauhaus and a sympathetic Weimar Republic.

He arrived in Moscow in 1906 and became part of the avant-garde. Self Portrait (1910) in the Fauvist style Sergey Shchulkin owned impressionist and contemporary style pieces including early Cubist pieces. Malevich saw them and responded with The Knife Sharpener (1912) The Woodcutter (1912) and A Bather (1911) the latter clearly a response to Mattise’s La Danse, The Floor Polishers (1911) He saw both Cubist and Italian Futurist paintings and responded with Horse Driven Carriage in Motion (1913).

John Milner, Kazimir Malevich and the Art of Geometry (Yale University Press 1996) figure 98 is Horse Driven Carriage in Motion. Malevich dabbled with Alogist painting, a Russian term equivalent to Dada, Composition with the Mona Lisa (1914) four years before Marcel Duchamp drew Mona Lisa with a mustache. It hangs in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg Russia. Malevich was an art theoretician who saw his Black Square (1915) as the first total abstraction and he affected the style of signing his later paintings with a black square instead of his name. It also hangs in the State Hermitage Museum. No sooner had he embraced pure abstraction than he invented Suprematism and Suprematism No. 58 with Yellow and Black Suprematist Composition (1915) By 1919 he had painted a white shape dissolving into a white background, thus leaving color behind preceded by Suprematism Composition: White on White Background (1918) now owned by Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Malevich is the subject of a very large retrospective exhibit first at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam October 18, 2013 – February 2, 2014, and then Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic at Bonn Germany March 8 – June 22, 2014, and finally Tate Modern in London England July 16 – October 26, 2014. Catalogue edited by Achim Borchardt-Hume published by Tate Publishing $49.95 paperback $37.07 at

The exhibit is discussed in Rachel Polonsky, Windows in the Mind: Kazimir Malevich, the mystic preoccupied with self-transformation, London Times Literary Supplement, September 26, 2014 at pages 17-18 where she writes Malevich opened windows in the mind. Consider as you pass through these rooms the endlessly dynamic tension that his art reveals between appearance and disappearance; seeing and blindness; illumination and eclipse; form and dissolution; face and effacement, matter and void.

Andrei Nakov, Malevich: Painting the Absolute (Lund Humphries 2010) in four volumes.
Aleksandra Shatskikh, Black Square: Malevich and the Origin of Suprematism (transl. Marian Schwartz, Yale University Press 2012)
Gilles Neret, Malevich (Taschen Books 2003)

Kazimir Malevich, The World as Objectlessness (1927) in which he described his theory as “the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts”. The latest revision is by Simon Baier published by Hatje Cantz May 31, 2014 at 216 pages $40.45 at


Texas Book Festival October 25-26, 2014 is fast approaching at and near the Capitol grounds in Austin Texas. Just the Music events are worth the price of admission that is nada.

Did you enjoy Books in the Basin festival in Midland-Odessa October 10-11? or the West Texas Book Festival in Abilene September 22-27?

Tucson Festival of Books is March 14-15, 2015 on the campus of University of Arizona 9:30 am – 5:30 pm kicked off the night before on Friday March 13 by a concert performed by notable authors who style themselves as The Rock Bottom Remainders at 8:00 – 9:30 pm at University of Arizona Student Union Memorial center Grand Ballroom

San Antonio Book Festival
is April 11, 2015.

North Texas Book Festival and Book Trails Dinner is April 10-11, 2015 at Denton

RT Booklovers Convention is May 12-17, 2015 in Dallas at Hyatt Regency at 300 Reunion Boulevard in downtown Dallas. The six day event can be parsed any which way with day passes, evening events, and more. If you register online today for the convention you can reserve a room at the Hyatt for $129 a night and it won’t be charged to your credit card until April.

Take your reading habit on the road!

Local Color Artist Studio Tour is an annual free event in Lubbock not to be missed. An artist opens his/her home/studio invites four or more fellow artists to display their work also, and these artists are all present for viewers to meet and interact. Saturday and Sunday November 8-9, 2014 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday noon – 6:00 pm on Sunday. is the website and addresses of the ten locations on the tour this year. Lubbock Arts Alliance sponsors. The cover of the brochure features an image of a fiber and painting piece by Lubbock artist Valerie Komkova Hill who is exhibiting at Marsha Davis’s home/studio.


National Theatre Live in England produces films of stellar live theatre presentations and places them on movie screens around the world. Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein (2011) by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. It plays at Movies 16 in Lubbock on Monday and Wednesday October 27 and 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm 2 hours 20 minutes in length $15 adults $14 seniors. Movies 16

Future filmed theatre productions are Of Mice and Men, Behind the Beautiful Forever, The Hard Problem, and Man and Superman

Cinemark movie theatres in Lubbock show Metropolitan Opera productions, Bolshoi Ballet productions like The Legend of Love October 26 and The Nutcracker December 21, and The Royal Ballet of England productions like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on December 16, 2014


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