‘Hilma Who?’: The Guggenheim Introduces the World to Visionary Artist Almost A Century After Her Death

November 6, 2018 | by Roberta Smith for The New York Times

Spiritual sparks helped inspire the radical and visionary art of Hilma af Klint, the new (old) name to know. Her work is on view at the Guggenheim.

The year 1907 is imprinted on the minds of many people drawn to modern art as the year it all began — when Picasso opened the path to Cubism with the splintered forms of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” The idea that a woman got there first, and with such style, is beyond thrilling. Yes, I know art is not a competition; every artist’s “there” is a different place. Abstraction is a pre-existing condition, found in all cultures. But still: af Klint’s “there” seems so radical, so unlike anything else going on at the time.

Her paintings definitively explode the notion of modernist abstraction as a male project. Despite several decades during which modernism’s history has been expanded and diversified, there is something towering about the emergence of af Klint, which really began in earnest in the 1980s. (She knew she was ahead of her time, and stipulated that her work not be exhibited until 20 years after her death — but it took even longer.)

Read the full New York Times article here.

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future is on view at the Guggenheim Museum now through April 23, 2019.

 

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