Celebrating 50 years of the presentation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) of the iconic exhibition The Responsive Eye—one of the first investigations associated with pure form, color, and line—the Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA) presents Geometric Obsession – American School 1965 to 2015, on view until March 13, 2016.
This exhibit brings 30 works by artists who were part of The Responsive Eye, such as Josef Albers and Richard Anuzkiewicz—pioneers of this geometric abstraction.
Brian De Palma’s geometric eye.
The Responsive Eye was the first interpretation of the synchronicity between optical art and the psychedelic culture that explored the effects of certain drugs such as LSD and mescaline—during 1960’s—in our appreciation of the visual arts.
This movement was a point of origin for what we call today Op Art (Optical Art), separating the action from the marginalization to which it had been relegated by the rigid patterns of the culture of the time. Subsequently, the new aesthetics invaded magazines, television, fashion, the walls and billboards of New York City. and the rest of the world. The original display was so impactful that film director Brian De Palma–an unknown auteur at the time—became internationally renowned for his documentary The Responsive Eye, in which he elucidates the MoMA exhibition.
International geometry in Buenos Aires
The Buenos Aires version, titled Geometric Obsession, is presented by MACBA with the goal of bringing forth works that represent a very influential, but almost neglected movement. The museum puts on display works form different styles, from the historical Argentine concrete art of Gyula Kosice and Ary Brizzi to Rogelio Polesello—as representative of optical art-and also Alejandro Puente of the School of Responsive Geometry. The exhibit works hard to come full circle and includes masters of the New York school: Leon Polk Smith, Ilya Bolotowsky and Tadasky. The show culminates with universal exponents of kinetic art, such as Victor Vasarely and Carlos Cruz-Diez.
The Arts District
MACBA is located in Buenos Aires’ Art District. The area, south of the city, is an attractive destination with beautiful residential buildings dating from the late 18th century, among which the museum stands out for its modern glass façade and contemporary minimalist style.
The Museum opened to the public in 2012, and its mission is to stimulate the creative development of artists and the general public through the presentation of contemporary national and international artistic events. While it is open to different trends in contemporary art, it shows a particular interest in geometric abstraction—its primary object of study and research.
Some of the world’s most relevant art venues have displayed the various traveling exhibitions originated at MACBA, including the Frost Museum of Florida International University in Miami, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO), and the Archugarry Foundation in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
MACBA is an ideal host for the great masters of abstract geometry. At the same time, the Buenos Aires institution is a viable venue to showcase new artistic developments.
In this regard, we should mention the exhibition Instante Bony currently on display, which explores the almost imperceptible passage of time that elapses during a gun shot. The shot is the protagonist–a gesture of death and destruction that becomes, in turn, a creative instance. The exhibition includes videos and photographs and presents an installation titled Bony Ayax, which won the 2015 Grand Prix of the National Visual Arts Hall from Argentina’s Ministry of Culture.
The current exhibition, Geometric Obsession, is expected to be presented in different cities in Argentina before moving to Chile. ■