Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Italian Futurism 1909-1944" At The Guggenheim Museum


Only once before have I reviewed an art exhibit that was closing within a day or two; that is now the case with "Italian Futurism 1909-1914: Reconstructing The Universe" at the Guggenheim Museum. If you're in NYC through Monday and wish to see a show that is both intellectually and aesthetically stimulating, this is one to consider. While Futurism did not make the same impact as other 20th-century art movements such as Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, there's much here in a variety of media that makes this survey worthwhile. The Futurists exalted speed, industrialization, mechanization, youth, urbanism, air flight and war, which they viewed as the answers to a moribund nation. They produced manifestos proclaiming their ideology and viewed their movement as one that would influence life in its totality, hence the show's subtitle, "Reconstructing The Universe." The Futurists' misogyny and war-mongering before WWI and the Fascism of many of its proponents were indeed unfortunate. These trends probably helped lead to Futurism's end in 1944 with the death of its leader, poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who wrote "The Futurist Manifesto" (1909). Futurist ideas may have been dubious, but the movement did produce some powerful works, such as "The City Rises" (1910) by Umberto Boccioni, shown above, which exemplifies these artists' glorification of industry and dynamism.

"Italian Futurism 1909-1944: Reconstructing The Universe" runs through September 1 at the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 88th Street, NYC, 212-423-3575, www.guggenheim.org

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