MARK TOBEY. THREADING LIGHT AT THE PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION
Coffee is the common thread running through the museums, the collections and the cities I visited in this period, and the latest exhibition I saw at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, dedicated to the American artist Mark Tobey is no exception. The ritual of coffee is that moment which allows you to share your first impressions about an event with people next to you at that moment, but also to exchange opinions and talk about what you’re going to see.
Then, it was beautiful to come back to Peggy Guggenheim’s house, place that I adore, to discover an American artist about whom I knew little, and to find out that, actually, that is not only an art exhibition, but the first leg of a collaboration between Lavazza and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
Actually, Lavazza has been Global Partner of the Guggenheim New York since 2014, but now it focuses on Venice, too.
Mark Tobey: Threading light is the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition in the latest years, in Europe, dedicated to the American artist Mark Tobey.
The exhibition will be on view until September 10th 2017, and you’ll have the whole summer to visit it. In this post I’m writing about my visit to the exhibition.
MARK TOBEY AND THE “White- Writing”
The exhibition devoted to Mark Tobey is a journey through the private and artistic life of one of the leading American artists of the 1940s, a crucial period for history of art, because, while Europe was at war, Paris passed the baton of home of art to New York. In that fundamental decade that saw the rise of Abstract Expressionism, Mark Tobey was the forerunner of those stylistic innovations which later would be the features of the New York School artists, and especially of Jackson Pollock.
When Mark Tobey began exhibiting his works made up of grids and lines, those works aroused the curiosity of the critics, who were attracted to those unique paintings that nobody had seen until then.
The new element of his artworks was the grid of small lines defined “White-Writing.
Tobey’s paintings look like cities seen from above, illuminated by lights occupying all spaces. In this abstraction, there is a strong mysticism, especially after his conversion to the Bahá’í Faith, a monotheistic religion born in Iran in the second half of the 19th century.
MARK TOBEY AND THE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
When, after the end of WWII, the New York School flourished, Mark Tobey was on the fringes.
In the 1950s and 1960s he spent a lot of time in Europe, and participated in several international art exhibitions, and in 1958 he was awarded at the Venice Biennale.
Mark Tobey always objected to being labeled as a member of the American abstract trends of the second half of the 20th century, such as Abstract Expressionism, Action painting or the New York School.
However, he was a forerunner, a pioneer.
For Pollock and Action painting we must talk necessarily of gesture and physical act of painting, whereas in Mark Tobey there’s the essential part, the starting point, which is the State of mind which precedes that act.
READ ALSO: Things to see in Venice, museums, exhibitions and places of cultural interest.
Mark Tobey: Threading light
6 may –10 september, 2017
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Curator: Debra Bricker Balken
Open: from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m.; close on tuesday.
Tickets: 15 €; free entrance for kids (0-10 years).