LET'S MAKE ART HISTORY LIKEWISE VISUAL
Oct 22, 2019
The approach to art is made from the sensory experience. Art is seen, heard, touched... Based on this experience through the senses, the classification of artistic disciplines has been historically addressed: visual arts, music, dance or theatre. But these categories present problems when the work feeds on two different techniques giving rise to hybrid creations, like the ones which incorporate sound and image, intervention and video, painting and screens, and an infinite number of combinations that enrich the current panorama of contemporary production.
The visual burden of this approach to art is undeniable. But when we pass from pure experience to academic study, we face a knowledge always expressed in writing where the object of analysis is separated from its tangible reality and is transformed into an abstract and incorporeal idea to discuss and comment on. Almost all branches of knowledge have included a particular chapter dedicated, we could almost say, to self-analysis and self-evaluation. The development of a methodology for each field is a sign that there is a recognised and autonomous area of study, as is the case with art.
The protagonists of the sector themselves have repeatedly questioned how art history has been approached, from academicism and theoretical narrative. Therefore, many of them have proposed alternative ways of exposing that knowledge with a greater visual load, paying homage to the works that make up the evolution of artistic creation.
These days the Juan March Foundation hosts the exhibition "Genealogies of art, or the history of art as visual art", in which we can see an interpretation of the famous diagram that Alfred H. Barr, Jr., that he proposed for the cover of the catalogue "Cubism and Abstract Art ”(1936) to explain the stylistic evolution of art from 1890 to 1935. This curator, who founded in 1929 of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) and was also its first director, wanted to synthesise in a graphic the significant landmarks of the transition art towards the s. XX to make it easy to assimilate at a glance.
On this scheme, the exhibition is presented as a documentary sample, with 350 works and more than 100 documents that mark the diagram in each of its historical marks. Works by avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Kazimir Malévich, César Domela, Francis Picabia, Robert Delaunay and Vasili Kandinsky, among others are collected. In addition, there are some works that were present in Barr's original exhibition, such as “Landscape with Two Poplars”, 1912, by Vasili Kandinsky and “Femme dans un fauteuil”, 1929, by Pablo Picasso.