New York

Wassily Kandinsky, Blaeues Segment (Blue Segment), 1921, oil on canvas, 47 1/2 x 55 1/8".

New York

Wassily Kandinsky

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
1071 Fifth Avenue
September 18, 2009–January 13, 2010

Curated by Tracey Bashkoff, Christian Derouet, and Annegret Hoberg

Wassily Kandinsky is perhaps the most neglected of the chief modernist painters. Can this retrospective—a collaboration with two other deep repositories of the artist’s work, Munich’s Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau and the Centre Pompidou in Paris (both of which have already mounted the show)—change the familiar split in our assessment of his achievement: the thrilling rush, between 1907 and 1918, from apocalyptic landscape painting to a rhapsodic upheaval of line and color, versus the work made after around 1920, which so often appears academic and brittle? Making an argument in favor of the full career is especially the Guggenheim’s responsibility: The museum was originally designed to exhibit “non-objective” painting, with Kandinsky topping the list. The show will thus afford the institution an opportunity to examine its own shifting identity by revisiting its original brief.