new-york

“The Geometry of Hope”

Grey Art Gallery

The title of this ambitious exhibition of Latin American geometric abstract art from the 1930s to the ’70s, drawn from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection, is a self-conscious response to Herbert Read’s term “the geometry of fear,” which he coined in 1952 to describe cold war British abstraction. Broadly speaking, the show encouraged viewers to link abstraction to utopian politics, but its arguments remained confused. A more helpful title might have been “Cold War Constructivism Redux: The Contradictions of Postwar Abstraction.” While the show’s existing title, and its focus on art that explicitly quotes iconic works of revolutionary modernism, evoke abstraction’s historically revolutionary aspiration, the project as a whole failed to capitalize on its potential.

The installation design of “Geometry” mimicked its subject’s trajectory from utopianism to a less politicized association

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