In preparation for our celebration for all things concrete at MakeShift (the museum's quarterly adults only evening) on February 4th, we have not only dug into the material's vast potential as a medium for creative expression, but also the term itself, and how it is often used in the worlds of art and music.
From the New York Times Article
‘Concrete Cuba’ Visits a Quieter Period of Latin American Modernism
"The term concrete art — coined around 1930 by the Dutch artist and designer Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) — denoted works without figurative or symbolic references, art that was free of naturalistic associations and any kind of narrative or sentiment. (In this it set a precedent for the “what you see is what you get” ethos of the Minimalists.)
Concrete works were not “abstracted” from anything; they represented purely their materials, colors and the self-contained logic of their geometric imagery. The concept of concrete art quickly spawned successive groups in Paris (Art Concret and Abstraction-Création). After the war, artists in Latin America were attracted by its credo, leading to the formation of concrete-minded groups like Madi, in Buenos Aires in 1946, and Grupo Ruptura and the better-known Grupo Frente — which included the artists Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape and the precocious Hélio Oiticica — in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro, both in 1952.
Cuba was introduced to nonobjective or abstract art in 1949, with a Havana exhibition of works by Sandú Darié, a Romanian who emigrated to the island in 1941 and became a crucial force among the artists of the 10. The show’s eight works by Darié, who forged ties with the Madi group, make an especially strong impression. Two paintings from around 1950 establish him as one of the few artists who managed to extend Mondrian’s bars and colored blocks beyond the master’s shadow. Darié did this with bright colors (yellow, orange and black on white, in one case) and intersecting forms that convey a prismatic sense of space."
Read the full article here