Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism
January 18–April 27, 2003
No one would accuse Kazimir Malevich, the charismatic leader of Russia's ill-fated avant-garde, of false modesty. When it came to naming the art form he invented in 1915, he chose "Suprematism." As in supreme. History confirms the judgment. His seminal paintings, starting with the infamous Black Square, proposed a stunningly simple mode of abstract painting that was revolutionary in its influence. Malevich hung Black Square in the upper corner of a room, the very space that would be reserved for a religious icon in a Russian home.
Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on this art of pure geometric form. In addition to paintings and drawings, the selection also includes the artist's "architektons"—three-dimensional models for never-to-be-realized buildings—and even a Suprematist teapot. Organized by Matthew Drutt, who conceived the exhibition while a member of the Guggenheim staff but is now Chief Curator at Houston's Menil Collection, the exhibition introduces the public to many recently rediscovered masterpieces that were hidden away from the time of the artist's death during the most harrowing years of Stalinism until after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism (Supremus No. 50), 1915. Oil on canvas, 38 1/8 x 26 inches. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam