In 1911 Vasily Kandinsky introduced Arnold Schoenberg’s musical theory to Russia by publishing his own translation of the composer’s groundbreaking Theory of Harmony in a 1911 exhibition catalog of the International Art Salon, which traveled to several major cities in Russia. In the winter of 1912 Schoenberg was invited to St. Petersburg to conduct. This was his opportunity to make personal contact with the leading musicians and artists who were already familiar with his musical theory and compositions.
Schoenberg in Inventing Abstraction
A Good Review
In July 1912 Robert Delaunay showed his work at an exhibition of the Moderne Bund (Modern League) in Zurich, a venue for experimental art, at the invitation of Bund co-founder Hans Arp. Arp in turn had obtained Delaunay’s address from Vasily Kandinsky. The Swiss artist Paul Klee, who saw Delaunay’s show, decided to review it, proclaiming it to be an entirely new type of art: “the type of autonomous picture, which leads, without motifs from nature, to a completely abstract life form.”
As part of MoMA’s celebration of the year 1913, Starr Figura, Associate Curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, speaks about Klänge (Sounds), Vasily Kandinsky’s influential illustrated book with 56 woodcuts, currently on view in Inventing Abstraction.
In late 1912 or 1913 Vasily Kandinsky produced a volume, in which he paired thirty-eight of his poems with woodcuts. He declared: “I wanted to create nothing but sounds,” and called the book Klange (Sounds). In these poems, written between 1907 and 1909, Kandinsky emphasized the physiological impact of the sonic quality of language, often repeating words until, he suggested, focus on meaning subsided and new focus on aural character of words emerged. These poems were instrumental in Kandinsky’s development of abstraction. They also inspired many other artists, including the Dadaists, who read them aloud in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich.
Tonight’s concert, the second one organized by the Pulitzer-winning composer David Lang in conjunction with Inventing Abstraction, features the music of Arnold Schoenberg and Morton Feldman. Here are program details.
If you can join us tonight you can still get tickets online or at the door.
If you are not in New York, you will be able to hear a recording of this concert on Q2 music’s website soon after the concert ends.
During the exhibition we’re inviting artists, curators, and guests to select a work to record an audio response about. Artist Senga Nengudi spoke about Vasily Kandinsky’s work, specifically his Impression III [Concert].