The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl on the Miró show at MoMA: “‘I want to assassinate painting,’ Joan Miró 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 Miró: 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 Miró 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 Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937,” organized by Anne Umland. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Through January 12.