explored new ideas
By Christopher A. Yates
For the Columbus Dispatch
Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010
Edition: Home Final
Section: Features - Life & Arts
1913 Armory Show, a grand spectacle in New York that celebrated avant-garde
artists and new schools of art, was met with jeers as well as cheers.
hundreds of works of symbolism, impressionism, post-impressionism, cubism and
more, the show proved to be a wake-up call for established American art
markets, academies and museums.
was not immune to the influx of new ideas.
Keny Galleries, the exhibitions "Edmund Kuehn: The Abstractions" and
"Ohio and Modernism (1905-1939)" explore the effect of early
20th-century modernism on Ohio artists.
in 1939, when he was a curator and assistant director for the Columbus Museum
of Art, Kuehn helped to introduce and make modernism accessible to central
Ohioans by spearheading the acquisition of the Ferdinand Howald Collection of
American Modernist Art.
a painter, now 93, Kuehn continues to wrestle with the modernist ideas
discovered in his youth.
Included in the exhibit
are examples of his current and past work. Especially striking is a display of
several small abstractions. Palmengarten, Bird of Paradise, and Cubistic
Movement are particularly successful.
as an anchor for the smaller works, Flying Acrobatics from 1953 reveals the
push and pull of color saturation and temperature Kuehn learned while studying
with Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Vaclav Vytlacil and Hans Hofmann.
and Modernism" offers a fine selection of works by Ohio artists,
including a strong series by Cleveland painter August Biehle. In the two works
Fire Tug on the Cuyahoga River; Cleveland West Side, Hillside Houses and
Landscape Scene Near Canal, Biehle can be seen trying to sort out the
influence of the Ashcan School, regionalism, cubism, futurism and synchronism.
searching can be found in William Sommer's The Pool. As a young man, he
studied in Munich, Germany, and eventually settled in Cleveland in 1907.
Employed as a lithographer, Sommer immersed himself in the avant-garde and
befriended Henry Keller and William Zorach, both part of the 1913 Armory Show.
strong pieces include Charles Burchfield's Drought, Sun and Corn; Lucius
Kutchin's Mother and Child, New Mexico; Edna Boies Hopkins' Blossoms; and
Viktor Schreckengost's Danse Moderne.