Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, Wenzel Hablik,
Walther Klemm, Josiah McElheny, Eileen Quinlan, Heather Rowe,
Robert Smithson, Katja Strunz, Bruno Taut
This exhibition began with a question: is it possible for a particular aesthetic form or structure to
express both abstract concepts and political ideals? A brief, yet formative moment in history suggests
that it might be. Just after World War I, a group of Western European artists and architects who were
committed to non-authoritarian and socialist principles envisioned a new, modernist world, constructed
out of crystalline forms and structures. In contrast, their fellow colleagues and rivals believed that the
geometry of the square, rectangle and grid represented the most essential and efficient solution to
economic and aesthetic questions. The rationalists won the argument, but what happened to this
alternative model? Here, examples of these early explorations — mostly forgotten until recently — are
paired with subsequent investigations and studies from the 1960’s and today. Together, these works
propose that the fractures, reflections and the natural, imperfect geometry contained in the crystalline
represent a way of thinking and building that encourages myriad solutions.
Three eras from the past 90 years are juxtaposed and intermingled within the exhibition: 1918-1922,
1964-1966 and today. Woodcuts, watercolors, a book, a postcard and a photograph by German and
Czech artists and architects are accompanied by a large sculpture by Robert Smithson and a period
fashion magazine which contains his influential essay “The Crystal Land”. Interspersed among these
historical works are recent projects by four contemporary artists (including myself) that further explore
the implications of crystalline structures.
These depictions are not simply gestures towards symbolic, romantic or science fiction motifs, but are
images and objects that describe an abstraction that is both made and found, planned and unanticipated.
Though this direction was at times suppressed or overwhelmed, throughout the twentieth century and
particularly today, there have been artists who have pursued an aesthetic based on the complexity and
diversity of the crystalline. These works of sculpture, photography, drawing and writing are brought
together in order to sketch an outline for an ongoing history about the search for ways to represent a
multitude of possible viewpoints and not a single universal one.
Andrea Rosen Gallery is delighted to announce the third in a series of exhibitions curated by the
gallery’s artists that expand on their individual influences, interests and inspirations.
For press information and images, please contact Jessica Eckert, firstname.lastname@example.org