Dialogues in South and North American Abstraction: An International Symposium, Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

John Ferren, Paris Abstract, ca. 1935
Oil on canvas, 25 ½ x 31 ¾ inches
Collection Newark Museum, NJ

Presented by the Newark Museum and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Saturday, April 10, 2010, 10am – 5pm
Billy Johnson Auditorium, Newark Museum

The Newark Museum and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros present Dialogues in South and North American Abstraction, an important international symposium that explores the conceptual and aesthetic parallels that linked artists across the Americas during the first half of the twentieth century. The free symposium will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 10 am to 5 pm in the Billy Johnson Auditorium at the Newark Museum. Pre-registration is required; call 973-596-6550 or e-mail: rsvp@newarkmuseum.org.

The panelists, a distinguished group of both emerging and established scholars, will explore a diversity of issues as seen in the work of individual artists. These include John Ferren, Juan Melé, Charles Biederman, Alexander Calder, Carlos Raúl Villanueva, Josef Albers, and Lygia Pape, all of whom are represented in the Newark Museum’s major exhibition Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s. The symposium brings to life the artists’ own call for exchange with each other in order to transcend national and geographical borders.


Introduction: “We Beg for Exchange”
Mary Kate O’Hare, Associate Curator of American Art, Newark Museum, and Curator, Constructive Spirit

Identity/Crisis: John Ferren’s Early Transnationalism
Marshall Price, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art,
National Academy Museum, New York City

Abstraction on the Edge: The Structured Frame in Argentina 1944–48
Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros,
New York and Caracas

Charles Biederman and the Colors of Light
Susan C. Larsen, Consulting Curator, Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation, Rancho Mirage, California

“Sensitive and non-discursive things”: Lygia Pape’s Tecelares Series, 1955–59
Adele Nelson, Doctoral Candidate, New York University, New York City

Josef Albers: From North Carolina to Mexico and Beyond
Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut

Villanueva and Calder: The Politics and Poetics of a Dialogue
Monica Amor, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

Roundtable Discussion with Presenters
Moderated by Mary Kate O’Hare

For more information, including abstracts of papers, please visit www.newarkmuseum.org.

This symposium is held in conjunction with the Newark Museum’s exhibition Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s –50s, which is on view through May 23, 2010. Constructive Spirit, the first exhibition to bring together South American and U.S. geometric abstraction, provides a fresh and innovative look at a dynamic and cosmopolitan period of modernism in the Americas. It includes many never-exhibited works from the Newark Museum’s preeminent collection of U.S. art, along with a variety of loans from public and private collections throughout the hemisphere, including the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and Caracas; Malba-Costantini Foundation, Buenos Aires; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Included is work by such renowned artists as Alexander Calder, Joaquín Torres-García, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gyula Kosice, and Arshile Gorky, as well as artists who are less well-known but deserve much greater recognition, including Charmion von Wiegand, Geraldo de Barros, Lidy Prati, and many others.