One of the last century’s most influential artists, Yves Klein (French, b. Nice, 1928; d. Paris, 1962) took the European art scene by storm in a prolific career that lasted only from 1954 to 1962, when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 34. Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States in nearly 30 years. Open through September 12, 2010.
The exhibition will include examples from all of Klein’s major series, including his Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs, and blue monochromes, as well as selections of his lesser-known gold and pink monochromes, body and sponge reliefs, “air architecture,” and immaterial works. The installation will also foreground the artist’s process and conceptual projects through a range of ephemera, including sketches, photographs, letters, and writings.
Yves Klein created what he considered his first artwork when he signed the sky above Nice in 1947, making his earliest attempt to capture the immaterial. Klein was an innovator who embraced painting, sculpture, performance, photography, music, theater, film, architecture, and theoretical writing. Self-identified as “the painter of space,” he sought to achieve immaterial spirituality through pure color (primarily an ultramarine blue of his own invention—International Klein Blue). The artist’s diverse body of work represents a pivotal transition from modern art’s concern with the material object to contemporary notions of the conceptual nature of art and is informed by Klein’s study of the mystical sect Rosicrucianism, philosophical and poetic investigations of space and science, and the practice of Judo.
The exhibition is co-organized by the Hirshhorn and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and is co-curated by Hirshhorn deputy director and chief curator Kerry Brougher and Philippe Vergne, director of Dia Art Foundation.
Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is co-organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.
The exhibition is made possible by major support from Martha and Bruce Atwater, Judy Dayton, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional generous support provided by Constance R. Caplan and Lewis and Barbara Shrensky. Major support for the catalogue is provided by Sotheby’s with additional support from L&M Arts in New York and Heather James Fine Art.