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Josef Albers
Formulation: Articulation, Folio I / Folder 19, "Homage to the Square" (left-hand image), 1972
screenprint
sheet: 15 x 40 in. (38.1 x 101.6 cm)
Josef Albers
Formulation: Articulation, Folio I / Folder 19, "Homage to the Square" (right-hand image), 1972
screenprint
sheet: 15 x 40 in. (38.1 x 101.6 cm)

2017 Gainesville, Florida

Poetic and Political explores two realms of perception often considered oppositional but more likely to work in tandem to make a rich, provocative and compelling visual impact. The exhibition juxtaposes the work of Josef Albers, a single artist focused exclusively on the psychic and emotive qualities of color, with African and African American artists who confront the historic and contemporary traces of colonialism as they contribute to the power of healing and renewal. Both aesthetic and political trajectories intertwine, demanding sensitivity, keen perception, and a heightened awareness of context, change and transformation.

Josef Albers's famous series, Homage to the Square and several prints from the portfolio, Formulation: Articulation, Volume I, are remarkably poetic. Albers believed that color creates a psychic and emotional effect. Even so, his work was based on a mathematically determined format. Albers experimented with the relativity of color, how it changes through juxtaposition, placement and interaction with other colors. Throughout his work, Albers found a link between formal elements in art and social behavior.

African and African American artists in the exhibition combine the poetic with a focus on history and politics. The story of the Diaspora persists in these works. Art historian T. J. Demos argues that the colonial past still haunts Africa because the past has not really passed. Artists in this installation contest historic amnesia and confront the material traces and psychic scars of colonialism while acknowledging and contributing to the power of healing and reconciliation in Africa and in the Diaspora. Many artists focus on the present, concerned with national and personal identity amidst economic disparity and changing social tradition. Works by El Anatsui, William Kentridge, Zanele Muholi, Zohra Opoku and Yelimane Fall are just a few of the works made from the finest aesthetic and poetic practice.

Installation view, Pas de deux: Römisch Germanisches Kolumba, Kolumba, Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln, 2017. Photo courtesy of Kolumba

2017 Cologne

Pas de deux: Römisch Germanisches Kolumba celebrates the museum's tenth anniversary. Taking the title from classical ballet (the "step of two"), the show considers themes such as time and space, preciousness and transcendence, and the back-and-forth between ancient, medieval, and the present.

Josef Albers
Album cover for Persuasive Percussion, Vol. 3, 1960
offset lithograph
1976.17.B3
Josef Albers
Album cover for Persuasive Percussion, 1959
offset lithograph
Josef Albers
Album cover for Provocative Percussion, Vol. 3, 1961
offset lithograph
1976.17.B5
Josef Albers
Album cover for Provocative Percussion, 1959
offset lithograph

2017 New York

Hear, See, Play: Designing with Sound is a hands-on exhibition focusing on the growing field of sound design, which gives an audible voice to products, brands, and interfaces. Through sound, our digital devices and products tell us when we have completed a task, received a message, or achieved a goal. Now imagine this world of products with no sound—no chimes, buzzes, or rings. How does the lack of sound diminish the usefulness of products? How does sound enhance and inform your experience? Visitors are invited to consider these questions and become sound designers in an interactive display.

Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square, 1965
oil on masonite
24 x 24 in. (60.9 x 60.9 cm)
1976.1.586

2017 London + Düsseldorf

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White investigates where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film. Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas from the Renaissance to today by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, Josef Albers, and Gerhard Richter, Monochrome encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

​Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square, 1964
oil on blotting paper
12 1/8 x 13 1/8 in. (30.8 x 33.3 cm)
Private collection

2018 New York

Colors features work by over twenty-five artists, including Josef Albers, Jack Bush, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Larry Poons, Kurt Schwitters, and Frank Stella, among others. The exhibition is inspired by an original work of poetry by Zoe Kusyk titled "Colors," inspired by Larry Poons's Untitled, 77-A-9, 1977. The selection of paintings, works on paper, and collages celebrates numerous artists whose colors speak in imaginative ways with Zoe's closing words: "Separate colors, when let live and die, become one."

2018 Lower Hutt, New Zealand

The Language of Things features over 100 artists from Europe, America, Asia, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand whose work reveals how personal meaning develops from the often unusual materials and processes used in the field of contemporary jewelry. Visitors can expect to see beautifully crafted, wearable pieces as well as installation, photography and video, including a necklace made of scissors; a woman covered in brass leaves and a screening of jewelry appearances in films over the last 80 years.

Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square, 1963
oil on masonite
16 x 16 in. (40.6 x 40.6 cm)
1976.1.155
Anni Albers
Textile sample, n.d.
jute, cotton, metallic fiber, and linen
4 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. (11.1 x 18.4 cm)
1994.15.87

2018 Siena + Cork + Zagreb

Voyage Inside a Blind Experience (VIBE) is an exhibition that has equal interest for seeing and for visually impaired people, examining the abstract works of Josef and Anni Albers. The project developed from a collaboration between Atlante Servizi Culturali and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, together with the Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano, and with the support of the three European museums presenting the exhibition.

Josef Albers
Oscillating (C), 1940-45
oil on masonite
27 x 24 in. (68.6 x 61 cm)
1976.1.1367
Josef Albers
Untitled (Maya Temple, Chichen Itza, Mexico), ca. 1940
gelatin silver print
sheet: 5 1/8 x 6 15/16 in. (13 x 17.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Josef Albers
Untitled, ca. 1940
oil on blotting paper
16 1/2 x 28 in. (41.9 x 71.1 cm)
1976.2.254
Josef Albers
Color study for a Variant/Adobe, 1947
oil on blotting paper
19 x 24 1/8 in. (48.3 x 61.4 cm)
1976.2.247
Installation view, Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: David Heald
Installation view, Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: David Heald
Installation view, Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: David Heald
Installation view, Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: David Heald
Installation view, Josef Albers in Mexico, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: David Heald

2017 New York + Venice

Josef Albers in Mexico brings together the artist's photographs and photo collages from the Guggenheim's collection and various lenders. These works, many of which have never been exhibited publicly, suggest a nuanced relationship between the forms and motifs of pre-Columbian monuments and the artist's iconic abstract canvases.

Albers's innovative approach to photography remains an underappreciated aspect of his career. On his first trip to Mexico, in 1935, Albers encountered the magnificent architecture of ancient Mesoamerica. He later remarked in a letter to Vasily Kandinsky, a former colleague at the Bauhaus, "Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art." With his wife, artist Anni Albers, Josef visited Mexico and other Latin American countries nearly a dozen times from 1935 to 1967. They saw numerous archeological sites and monuments, especially in Mexico and Peru. On each visit, Josef took hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines, and sanctuaries at these sites, often grouping multiple images printed at various scales onto eight by ten inch sheets.

Albers's experiences in Latin America offer an essential context for understanding his paintings and prints, particularly from his Homage to the Square and Variant/Adobe series, examples of which are featured in this show.