New York

Julius Bisser, Sculptor with Self-Portrait (Bildhauer mit Selbstbildnis), 1928, oil on canvas, 30 1/3 x 24".

Julius Bisser, Sculptor with Self-Portrait (Bildhauer mit Selbstbildnis), 1928, oil on canvas, 30 1/3 x 24".

New York

Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany 1918-1936

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York
1071 Fifth Avenue
October 1, 2010–January 9, 2011

Curated by Kenneth Silver

Returning to classicism was one of the ways artists responded to the rupture of World War I. This was, however, an ambiguous move—speaking on one hand to a dream of a timeless ideal body while embracing on the other such functionalist projects as the New Man and the machine aesthetic—and that ambiguity challenges simple teleological models of the succession of avant-gardes. This exhibition is the first in the United States to look at the sway classicism held in the interwar years over the imaginations of painters, sculptors, architects, designers, and filmmakers in France, Italy, and Germany—the three main votaries of the classical ideal. By spanning the years 1918 to 1936, the show dares to contemplate the monstrous devolution of what promised to be an embrace of beauty, civilization, and plenitude into the racist theories of fascism and Nazism.