Three days in New York with three different weather systems! from Indian Summer and great warmth, to rain, to a snowstorm!. The best place to experience this early snowfall was watching through the windows of the café at the Guggenheim Museum. The museum seemed as white and pure as the show. Nature as art. We had come to see one of the most beautiful exhibitions in New York – Zero – an exhibition that has over 40 artists from 10 countries centered around the German modernists of the midcentury and their influences. Now on show until January 7th.
Here, the three issues of magazine ZERO which Mack and Piene coedited; a publication with illustrations and texts by progressive artists and critics.
Zero was a German artists group started in 1957/1958 in Dusseldorf that grew into an international network of artists that shared the groups’ intention to redefine art. In their radical rethinking of elements and intentions, Zero recalls Kazimir Malevich and his circle 0.10 (Zero-Ten) in Petrogard Russia in December of 1915.
The artists in 0.10 were to be only ten in number, but there were 14 or more who contributed to the Movement.
The two founders were Heinz Mack and Otto Piene.
Here in the picture with Gunther Uecker who joined in 1961,
forming together the “inner circle”.
Here, at the entrance of the Guggenheim the works of Piene, Soto and Pol Bury.
As Otto Piene observed, “Light is the primary condition for all visibility. Light is the sphere of color. Light is the life-substance both of men and of painting”.
His silver dynamos revealed the immaterial nature of light. Electric motors would rotate aluminum foil discs behind sheets of corrugated glass. Here, in the desert of Morocco, Mack used the shifting sun and winds to power his pieces.
Perhaps my favorite artist is Gunther Uecker and his use of nails to create structural fields of motion. Unfortunately due to its fragility, his largest piece was not able to be turned on. Many objects however were on timers so that the movement intended to be experienced by the viewer was still able to be seen even today, over fifty years later.
Gunther Uecker also experimented with single colours, like this yellow painting,
nails and oil on canvas, 1957-58.