At TEFAF New York 2022 Dickinson presents Visible and Tangible Form, looking at the far-reaching impact of the Bauhaus school of art and design in Europe and the Americas; its migration from Europe to the Americas in the form of offshoot institutions, such as the Chicago New Bauhaus, and the rise of related movements, most notably Concrete and Neo-Concrete art. The artists whose work features on this year’s stand shared an interest in simple geometry, pattern and relief, and a reliance on industrial materials. Most crucially, all believed in the marriage between functionality and beauty.
Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely is credited with originating the Op Art movement, whose visual effects can be seen in BI-HOLD (1958-73). And fellow Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, who spent time in The Netherlands, Britain and France before joining the architects Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe in establishing the New Bauhaus School in Chicago, is represented at the fair by Komposition (1935). Bauhaus professor Josef Albers explored colors in his Homage to the Square series and led the painting program at Vermont’s Black Mountain College, while Jean Crotti translated emotions into shapes and colors with geometric abstractions such as Orchestration (1924).
Also typical of Bauhaus and Concrete art is an interest in industrial materials. Ukraine-born Alexander Archipenko’s Seated Black (c. 1956) is a unique example of this design in hand-tooled aluminium. Archipenko first conceived the design in 1936, the year before he was invited by Moholy-Nagy to join the New Bauhaus School faculty. Further west, Austrian-born Herbert Bayer established himself in Aspen, Colorado, where he designed a number of ultra-modern, Bauhaus-inspired structures. The stand also features layered reliefs in geometric designs by Gottfried Honegger, Jean Gorin, Mary Martin and others.
Concrete art was popularised in Latin America in part thanks to Max Bill, the Bauhaus-trained Swiss artist, architect and graphic designer, who organised the movement’s first international exhibition in Basel in 1944 and was honoured with a 1951 retrospective at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape and Hélio Oiticica, along with fellow artists, led a Brazilian splinter group that emerged from the Latin American Concrete Art movement, and which became known as Neo-Concrete. All three have work featured in Visible and Tangible Form. The stand is designed with layered white relief panels that show off the multicoloured geometry of the artworks exhibited.
Running concurrently with the fair, Dickinson New York will exhibit a further selection of works by artists with ties to the international Concrete Art movement. Brazilian Concrete Art is represented by pieces including Ivan Serpa’s gouache and collage Portfolio of 5 Concrete Compositions; two works in tempera on paper by Victor Magariños, and two geometric, kinetic gouaches by Op-art innovator Luiz Sacilotto. Ilya Bolotowsky brought elements of Russian Constructivism and Neoplasticism to New York following a 10-month European visit in 1932, while Japanese-American Tadasky first learned about Western art and the Bauhaus style through books. And American Leon Polk Smith, one of the founders of the Hard Edge school, influenced the subsequent generation with paintings and collages such as Untitled (1976).