When I think of Kandinsky (and I do because I was an Art History major) I think of color and abstract art. Yesterday, I went to see the Kandinsky exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum and I got plenty of color and abstract. I also learned something new – quite a bit actually – about Kandinsky, and I saw work that was not necessarily abstract or colorful, as well as the work of other artists of his time and his sphere.
This exhibit, which runs from June 5th to September 1st, 2014 is a major Kandinsky show. It is organized by the Centre Pompidou, in Paris (which has a huge collection of Kandinsky’s work thanks to gifts from his wife Nina), and co-curated by Angela Lampe of the Centre Pompidou and Brady Roberts, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s chief curator. It will travel next to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. (Opens September 26th and runs through January 4th there.)
The exhibition covers all the major periods of Kandinsky’s artistic life. The progression of his thinking is revealed in the way the works change over time. The subtle differences as you move from room to room are not as dramatic as the difference between the first and last rooms, exactly what you would expect!
Also expect to see wonderful color! Color is foremost in every period and makes the work appealing and accessible, even when the subject matter is abstract. The captions are meaningful and add a great deal to the appreciation of the work. We did not rent the audio guide, but one is available. The gift store at the end of the exhibition is also full of further reference works
about Kandinsky as well as has the treatises he wrote about what art should be (these are referenced throughout the exhibit).
The Museum has also organized a series of additional, related activities around the exhibition like gallery talks, lectures, a reading and a film presentation, as well as activities for families and children. In fact, we saw lots of children in the exhibit and I would think they would find it very appealing – like so much abstract art, you could say it looks like what they produce anyway! By all means take them and ask them what they think, what they like and don’t like, what they see. You may see something new just by looking through their eyes! (If you’re interested I can tell you about a game I used to play in Art museums with my children when they were little – it got them through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg so it must have been mildly successful!)
No photos in the exhibition, so I’ll offer you a couple of images just to whet your appetite that I took from other sources (like the menu in the Museum Café – [great lunch by the way] and the ticket stub.