previews

Hans Richter, Cohesion II, 1970, metal on painted wood, 32 3/4 x 20 3/4 x 2".

Los Angeles

“Hans Richter: Encounters”

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
May 5–September 2

Curated by Timothy O. Benson

Long before the touch screen, Hans Richter was making screens that touch. Rectangles lunge at the spectator in his abstract film Rhythmus 21 (1921), confounding figure and ground; collaborations with Viking Eggeling and Kazimir Malevich promised the convertibility of all signals and sensations, electronic and tactile, into a universal code. LACMA’s major retrospective will include these works along with nearly 150 others—from collages to wall reliefs—in which resolute materialism vied with totalizing sensation and perceptual change augured political revolution. In Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928), for instance, Richter cuts loose and lets fly a gaggle of bowler hats, in a Dadaist upending of vision, objecthood, and Weimar bureaucracy. But unlike contemporary invocations of “animism,” which often merely tame objects into subjects with a veiled anthropomorphism, Richter’s animation heightened the alterity of the world—its alien and unknowable roil.

Travels to the Centre Pompidou—Metz, France, Sept. 29, 2013–Feb. 24, 2014; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Mar. 27–June 30, 2014.