Leon Polk Smith Going Beyond Space

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Texts by: John Koegel, David M. Roche, Sabine Schaschl, Patterson Sims, Prof. Brandon Taylor, Margit Weinberg Staber Graphic Design: Harald Pridgar German, English April 2023, 176 Pages, 200 Ills. Quarterbound hardcover 304mm x 252mm
ISBN: 978-3-7757-5471-2
| Constellations - On the Relationship between Color and Space

From today’s perspective, Leon Polk Smith’s dynamic, geometric abstractions can be understood as a missing link in art history. His work connects the European avant-garde with the American Abstract Expressionism of the 1940s and 1950s via references to the work of Piet Mondrian. Smith’s pioneering role in the hard-edge style with its neat monochromatic fields of color as well as his shaped canvases are in turn developments that transpired from America to Europe. Departing from the rectangular canvas allowed Smith to conceive new interrelations between his sophisticated two-color compositions and the spatial context. Most notably, his unique Constellations series, created between 1967 and 1975, marks the high point of his career, and won him artistic acclaim beyond America’s borders. Alongside the early compositions from the 1940s and the multi-part shaped canvases, this book features collages, reliefs and painted objects and proposes a new reception of Smith’s decades-spanning oeuvre.

LEON POLK SMITH (1906 – 1996) is one of the most important representatives of geometric abstraction. Born in Chickasha in the then called Indian Territory, later to become Oklahoma, his first paintings, created in the 1930s, are rooted in the indigenous culture that surrounded him. Smith moved to New York in 1944, where he came into contact with the works of Mondrian and De Stijl.
Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich
February 9–May 7, 2023