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Hilma AF Klint


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A groundbreaking study of visionary artist Hilma af Klint.

About the Author

Tracey Bashkoff is Director, Collections and Senior Curator, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Tessel M. Bauduin is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Department of Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. Daniel Birnbaum is the Director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Briony Fer is Professor of Art History at University College London. Vivien Greene is a Guggenheim curator. David Max Horowitz is Curatorial Assistant at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Andrea Kollnitz is Assistant Professor at the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. Helen Molesworth is the Chief Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Julia Voss is a writer and art critic at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.


The concentrated spirituality- egoless consciousness- that is delivered by the best pictures here, so fresh that they might have been made this morning or tomorrow or decades from now, feels like news that is new again.--Peter Schjeldahl "New Yorker"
In the wake of the acclaimed documentary Beyond the Visible comes an extensive catalogue of the Swedish artist, whose revolutionary work as the first abstract painter was dismissed because she was a woman.--Nathalie Atkinson "Globe and Mail"
'Paintings for the Future' endorses Klint's mystical conviction that the spiral symbolizes the dualities of the universe--good and evil, male and female, known and unknown--slowly reaching equilibrium.--Canada Choate "Artforum"
af Klint's contribution, arrayed here in all its abundant originality, threatens to reduce to a footnote the mostly male history of esoteric abstraction.-- "Artforum"
[af Klint's] art's power is in its secrecy, its marking-off of sacred space. Its period of gestation, of waiting for humanity to catch up, is a demonstration of its sincerity.-- "Sabat Magazine"
[af Klint's] striking artwork expresses a vision of non-figurative art that was ahead of her time and establishes her as a pioneer of abstract art.-- "Barnebys"
[A] superb catalog.--Roberta Smith "The New York Times"
[The exhibition] remains as radical as ever and offers a welcome retort to modernism's male-centric narrative.-- "Elle"
[The paintings are] talismanic, vibrating with hidden mystical meaning. ... they represent the enduring evolution of the entire cosmos, the triumphant union of dualities.--Ania Szremski "4Columns"
A week after I saw [af Klint's paintings], their pulsing loveliness remains undimmed in my mind, like a self-replenishing sense memory of summer.--Sebastian Smee "Washington Post"
Af Klint did not ask for her work to be destroyed, only delayed. She did not wait for the world to discover her paintings. The world had to wait for them.--Prudence Peiffer "Garage"
Af Klint set about composing for posterity an alluring eye-music that echoed back the complex psyche of her age.--Kelly Grovier "BBC"
Af Klint was not part of the larger abstract art movement so populated by men, but many of her paintings--vibrant, strange paintings inspired by her deep interest in Spiritism and Theosophy--predate those famous as pioneers of the style.--Monica Uszerowicz "Observer"
Af Klint's ascendancy feels inevitable: She could be viewed as a heroine for our current moment, an artist who rejected commercial success, resisted the pull of self-publicity, and challanged the myth of individual authorship.--Julia Bryan-Wilson "Bookforum"
Demands that we rethink, re-evaluate and revise the lineage of art history.--Lance Esplund "Wall Street Journal"
Gorgeous book.... The implications of these works are not only gargantuan, but also infinitely pleasurable to look at. And as written about in this wonderful volume, great to read about. By the time you put down this book, Hilma af Klint will be embedded in your visual library forever.--Jerry Saltz "Vulture"
Klint created her own optical language with visual, chromatic, structural, and narrative syntax. Her artistic ship sails some of the deepest waters around.--Jerry Saltz "Vulture"
Klint's biomorphoc compositions call to mind horticultural diagrams conveived on psychedelics - and showcase a level of mysticism not found in successors like Kandinsky.-- "Cultured"
One of the most overlooked artists of the 20th century.-- "Galerie"
Profoundly moving. ... It is as though, in our apocalyptic time, we need af Klint's work now more than ever, and the purity of vision and intent it represents.--Ann McCoy "Brooklyn Rail"
She had a penchant for the occult - a "commission" from a spirit at a seance inspired her to create her most striking paintings...-- "The Economist"
Somewhat like the biomorphic forms of a later artist like Joan Miro, many of these pieces play with geometry and floral shapes that frequently overlap as they seem to swim across the canvas.--Merrill Lee Girardeau "NYC City Guide"
The art, fearfully esoteric and influenced by its creator's seances and spiritualism, matches a present mood of restless searching.--Peter Schjedahl "New York Magazine"
The canvases are massive and their idiosyncratic shapes, squiggles, and colors provide the viewer with an overwhelming sense of wonder.--Zachary Small "Hyperallergic"
The case of Hilma af Klint is among the most fascinating in art history.--Deborah Solomon "WNYC"
The current celebration of af Klint's paintings suggests the primacy of visual communication should be backdated. The retrospective also underscores the important role that women played in its emergence.--Nancy Princenthal "Art in America"
The mother of all revisionist shows of Modernism.-- "New York Times"
The paintings tap into the buzzy zeitgeist of occult spirituality.--Priscilla Frank "Huffington Post"
The project of Hilma af Klint and her female colleagues was the result of great maturity, of confidence and collective efforts, performed both in work and in life.-- "Women's Art Journal"
The show feels like both a transmission from an unmapped other world and a perfectly logical correction to the history of Modern art.--Ben Davis "Artnet"
The Guggenheim Museum offers a revisionary chapter about the start of modern abstraction in its current headliner, "Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future," introducing works that this Swedish artist and mystic made in 1906-7.--Roberta Smith "New York Times"
Though she looked conservative, af Klint was nothing if not radical.--Nana Asfour "Paris Review"
Without precedent in the history of art.--Cristiana Campanini "Abitare"

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