The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl on the Mir� show at MoMA: “‘I want to assassinate painting,’ Joan Mir� is reported to have said, in 1927. Four years later, the Catalan modern master elaborated, in an interview: ‘I intend to destroy, destroy everything that exists in painting. I have utter contempt for painting.’ (He is quoted, along similar lines, as having put the Cubists on notice: ‘I will break their guitar.’) Brave words, for a painter….’Joan Mir�: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937,’ explores dizzyingly rapid-fire, experimental developments in the artist�s work, influenced by Dadaism, Surrealism, and the savage materialism of the writer Georges Bataille. (In no other period was the ingenuously intuitive Mir� so receptive to intellectual impetus.) With cultivated ‘automatist’ spontaneity, he worked on raw canvas, copper, and the recently invented Masonite; employed gross materials, including sand and tar; made thoroughly abstract pictures; and hatched funky varieties of collage and assemblage, whose influence would extend to Robert Rauschenberg. It�s not his fault�or is it?�that the show leaves an impression of being distant and dated, and strangely tame.” Read more.
“Joan Mir�: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937,” organized by Anne Umland. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Through January 12.