Visionary Spaces, 1920-1930: Cross-Disciplinary Abstract Environments and Early Models of Transnationalism
Are there other ways of looking at pioneering forms of abstract art than through the individual artistic disciplines, traditionally analyzed as separate and autonomous? Is abstraction mainly a withdrawal from figuration, reductive, self-referential, apolitical? Or can the social and political impetus behind avant-garde abstraction suggest new models for reaching across both national and disciplinary boundaries, abstraction modeling interdisciplinarity and transnationalism?
I examine early immersive abstract art environments (1920s) as early models of transnationalism. Pioneering forms of abstract art traditionally are analyzed as separate and autonomous forms, but many artists among the historical avant-gardes, such as De Stijl, the Bauhaus, Constructivism and Dadaism, actually envisioned all-encompassing, cross-disciplinary, colorful mergers of the arts. Against isolationism, militarism, and nationalism, they radicalized and politicized art across borders, creating expansive visionary spaces. Methodologically, I seek to mirror their cross-disciplinary ethos by absorbing models from non-Western, transnational, sociohistorical studies.
1) “Greenberg’s Connoisseurship in Mondrian’s Space” Netherlands Art History Yearbook, Vol. 69, 2019, theme issue “Connoisseurship and the Knowledge of Art in the Netherlands, 1400 to the Present.”
2) “Piet Mondrian’s Studio Utopia, 26, rue du Départ,” in Mondrian and His Studios: Colour in Space, exh. cat. Tate Liverpool, eds. F. Manacorda en M. White (London: Tate Publishing, 2014).
3) The Universe in the Living Room: Georges Vantongerloo in the Space of De Stijl — Het heelal in de huiskamer: Georges Vantongerloo en de Nieuwe Beelding van De Stijl (Utrecht: Centraal Museum, 2002).