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Leonardo, Vol, 13, pp. 303-306 Pergamon Press, 1980. Printed in Great Britain REPORT ON TWO CONSTRUCTIVISM EXHIBITIONS AND TWO SYMPOSIA ON CONSTRUCTIVIST ART AND DESIGN, DALLAS, TEXAS, U.S.A. John E. Bowlt* Two exhibitions were held at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (DMFA), Dallas, Texas: (1) 'Journey into Non-Objectivity: The Graphic Work of Kazimir Malevich and Other Members of the Russian Avant-Garde' and (2) 'Constructivism and the Geometric Tradition: Selections from the McCrory Corporation Collection'. The exhibitions ran concurrently from 18 January through 24 February, 1980, and were intended to complement each other in an ambitious endeavor to investigate the derivation and development of particular aspects of 20th-century nonfigurative or abstract art. These important events were complemented by concomitant activities such as a cycle of nonfigurative and innovative cinema films produced in the 1920s and the 1930s, by gallery talks, by audio-visual displays and by two symposia dedicated to the theme of constructivist art and design. The first Exhibition contained 102 examples of lithographs , letterpress reproductions, original posters, book covers, etc. from the period 1913-30 by Kazimir Malevich (Figs. 1 and 2) and his colleagues, such as Pavel Filonov and Olga Rozanova, and it was accompanied by a detailed catalog published by the DMFA. The curator of the Exhibition was the author of this Report. The works, many of which are from books of Russian Futurist poetry by the poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Kruchenykh, are part of a recent acquisition by the DMFA and, in fact, represent the largest known collection of Malevich's graphic work outside the U.S.S.R. Although a travelling exhibition of this kind was shown at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and other institutions in 1975-76, this was the first exposure of Malevich 's graphic works to the public in the U.S.A., and the DMFA is to be congratulated on implementing such a pioneering exhibition. Although nearly all the works were printed originally as part of books in miniscule editions, the DMFA made the decision to treat them as individual visual artworks; consequently, each printed work was cleaned, restored, mounted and framed. It was reasoned that this was the only appropriate way of guaranteeing their preservation and accessibility . The Malevich Exhibition was arranged chronologically , so that viewers could gain a sense of the artist's •Art historian, Dept. of Slavic Languages, University of Texas, Box 7217, Austin, TX 78712, U.S.A. (Received 8 March 1980) 303 transition from Cubo-Futurism to Suprematism (represented by the album of lithographs entitled '34 risunka' ('34 Drawings') published in Vitebsk in January, 1921). A curious deviation from Malevich's development into nonfigurative pictorial art is his brightly colored patriotic posters (lubki) during World War I, caricaturing the German army and glorifying simple Russian people. Although executed at the time of Malevich's so-called alogical or pre-suprematist canvases, these posters are related to the artist's neoprimitivist phase of 1909-11, when he transferred methods and depictions from icons and folk art to his painting. This Exhibition demonstrated to me the richness of Malevich's talent and the extent of his collaboration with writers, musicians, critics, and even politicians, during the 1920s, without losing sight of his own formal principles, Malevich was able to adjust his visual conceptions to book designs for Fig. 1. Kazimir Malevich. 'Dynamic Model', lithograph, 19.4 x9.8 em, 1919. (From the book by Malevich entitled On New Systems in Art) (Collection of the Museum of Fine- Arts, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) 304 John E. Bowlt Fig. 2. Kazimir Malevich. 'House under Construction', lithograph , 11x5 em, 1920. (From the book by Malevich entitled Suprematism. 34 Drawings) (Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) poetry by Khlebnikov and Kruchenykh (for example Igra v adu (A Game in Hell), 1912), to an idealogical statement by Anatolii Lunacharsky and Grigorii Zinoviev [Sezd komitetov derevenskoi bednoty (Congress of Committees on Rural Poverty), 1918], to a book of lectures by Nikolai Punin [Pervyi tsikl lektsii (First Cycle ofLectures), 1920]as well as to his own theoretical tracts [for example...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 303-306
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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