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Upcoming: Joan Mir� Retrospective at NGA in May 2012

I was at the National Gallery a few weeks ago where I took this snapshot of Joan Mir�’s breathtaking triptych Mural Painting I�III (1962). It turns out the NGA is bringing the Tate‘s Mir� retrospective, “Joan Mir�: The Ladder of Escape,” to Washington in May. According to the press materials, the exhibition puts Mir�’s paintings in a political context, presenting work created during a turbulent and bloody period that included the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Under the political restrictions of
Franco’s Spain, Mir�’s paintings of the late 1960s and early 1970s became a symbol of resistance to the oppressive regime. Mir�’s work has long been interpreted as charming and playful, but I’ve always seen a darker side to his odd creatures and spiky linework since I visited the Joan Mir� Foundation in Barcelona several years ago.

The exhibition will be a good continuation of MoMA’s 2009 exhibition of Mir�’s paintings from 1927-1937 (curated by Anne Umland) that looked a Mir�’s painting concerns and the radical experimentation he undertook after he declared, �I want to assassinate painting.� An excellent show, it  nearly made my Top Ten List for 2009.

Joan Mir�’s breathtaking triptych Mural Painting I�III (1962) is extremely hard to photograph, but it’s a fantastic painting.

 Detail: Joan Mir�, Mural Painting I�III (1962). Definitely click on this one to enlarge.

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