Newark Museum Presents Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s

Newark Museum Presents Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s

Newark Museum

February 16, 2010

Constructive Spirit:
Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s

February 17 – May 23, 2010

Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s investigates the formative geometric abstract art movements of Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. Opening on February 17 through May 23, 2010 at the Newark Museum, located in Newark, NJ, USA, this exhibition is the first to explore the conceptual connections and exchanges that existed between abstract artists in South and North America.

Featured are more than 90 paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings and films drawn from the collection of the Newark Museum, along with loans from public and private collections and galleries across both continents. Artists include Alexander Calder, Joaquín Torres-García, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gyula Kosice, Lygia Clark, Ellsworth Kelly, Geraldo de Barros and many others. Constructive Spirit is organized by Mary Kate O’Hare, Associate Curator of American Art at the Newark Museum.

The exhibition title – Constructive Spirit – is taken from the 1946 manifesto issued by the Madí, a Buenos Aires-based abstract artists’ group that asserted the relevance of geometric abstraction for all countries. The exhibition traces the origins and dispersion of this abstract spirit across the Americas.

Following its premiere at the Newark Museum, Constructive Spirit will travel to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, where it will be on view June 26 through September 5, 2010.

Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s is accompanied by a major publication of the same name. Fully illustrated and co-published by Pomegranate, it features seven essays. Authors include Karen A. Bearor, Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Aliza Edelman, Adele Nelson, Mary Kate O’Hare and Cecilia de Torres. The 196-page publication is available in hardcover at the Newark Museum Shop and

A diverse range of public programs complement the exhibition including an international symposium; special lectures; a panel discussion with contemporary abstract artists; a gallery talk by teens for teens; family activities; and hands-on art experiences.

The Newark Museum and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros present an international one-day symposium on Saturday, April 10 from 10 am to 5 pm that considers the works of South American and US abstract artists featured in Constructive Spirit. A distinguished group of scholars offer new perspectives on such artists as John Ferren, Juan Melé, Charles Biederman, Alexander Calder, Carlos Raúl Villanueva, Josef Albers and Lygia Pape. This forum allows the work and ideas of these artists to be placed in dialogue for the first time.

Speakers include: Monica Amor, Assistant Professor, Maryland Institute College of Art; Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation; Susan C. Larsen, Consulting Curator, Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation; Adele Nelson, doctoral candidate, New York University; Mary Kate O’Hare, curator of Constructive Spirit; Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Marshall Price, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Academy Museum.

Related Programs for Constructive Spirit:

Special Lecture – Wednesday, March 10, 6 to 8pm
“The First International Language of the Brush”: Abstract Art in South and North America
Speaker: Mary Kate O’Hare, Associate Curator of American Art, Newark Museum

International Symposium – Saturday, April 10, 10 am to 5 pm
Dialogues in South and North American Abstraction
Presented by Newark Museum and Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Gallery Talk – Sunday, April 11, 2:30 to 3:30 pm
Teens Explore Art

Panel Discussion – Wednesday, April 28, 6 to 8 pm
Abstract Art–A Living Legacy
Participants: Matthew Deleget, Paul Henry Ramirez, Lenora de Barros and Don Voisine.

Podcasts: Visit to download two informative podcasts, one produced for teens by teens, the other featuring Curator Mary Kate O’Hare discussing works in the exhibition with leading experts.

For Further Information:
Please visit
Contact: publicrelations [​at​] and call 973.596.6638
Facebook: Newark Museum
Twitter: @newarkmuseum

Image above:
Charmion von Wiegand (US, 1896-1983)
The Sign of Keeping Still, 1953
Oil on canvas; 30 x 25 in.
Newark Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller, 1956 56.47
© Courtesy of the Estate of Charmion von Wiegand and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

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February 16, 2010

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