The lifelong friendship and extended written correspondence between Swiss artist Max Bill and Belgian-born artist Georges Vantongerloo united their independent artistic and intellectual endeavors and helped to push the boundaries of their work into new aesthetic realms.
‘crossover’ highlights the lasting achievements of Bill and Vantongerloo through an in-depth selection of paintings and sculptures, some of which are being shown in the United States for the first time since their major American traveling retrospectives in 1974-1975 and 1980-1981, respectively.
Dr. Angela Thomas, art historian and widow of the artist, retraces Max Bill’s biography, meticulously dissecting the artist’s journey through his exchanges with his family, teachers, and peers–and their individual respective life trajectories.
Curated by Dr. Angela Thomas Schmid, President of the max bill georges vantongerloo foundation, the exhibition reveals how the progress of their extraordinary and constantly evolving creative exchange mirrors the artistic breakthroughs that defined the 20th century, particularly in the field of concrete art – which would echo throughout Latin America, in particular Argentina and Brazil, and support the development of many forward-thinking artists including Lidy Prati and her husband Tomás Maldonado, Almir Mavignier, Mary Vieira, Lygia Pape, Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica.
The exhibition’s title not only refers to the artists’ relationship with each other, but also to the prolific and numerous connections and exchanges they had within the American art scene, and their lasting impact on art movements like minimalism.
This documentary feature film was made by Erich Schmid in 2008 as a tribute to Max Bill on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. Max Bill studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau and was a precursor of concrete art, which served as a blueprint for his investigations in other creative fields such as architecture, typography, and design.
This film is available to view on the third floor of the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth NY 69th street.
Explore the exhibition in greater depth with the essay “Crossover Culture” written by Dr. Angela Thomas, President of the max bill georges vantongerloo foundation, investigating Max Bill’s and Georges Vantongerloo’s connections to the American art scene. This richly illustrated essay spans from the early 1930s to the early 1990s and also includes rare archival images.
All images: © 2022 ProLitteris, Zurich / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Max Bill was a great Swiss polymath: an artist, architect, industrial designer, graphic designer, and teacher. He attended the Bauhaus where he was taught by Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer. Bill remained closely associated with the Bauhaus school and was a key figure in developing and propagating its principles, especially through his professorship at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich and as a founder of the Ulm School of Design. Through his pursuit of a new visual language that could be understood by the senses alone, Bill defined the conventions of Swiss design for decades to come. His influence spread even as far as South America, where he was a catalyst for the Concrete Art movement.