200 words about Hilma af Klint
Not of sense, intellect or heart, but spirit
I once had this roommate Jeff who was taking some humanities courses the semester I knew him to fulfill prerequisites for what he actually wanted to do, something medical. One night he returned from the bar drunkenly griping about how his class went to a museum that afternoon and he had to listen to all these elaborate backstories about artists and portraits he hated. “Yeah, well, fuck art,” I said absently. He loved it. “Dude, yes: Fuck art.” The bit never went away. I thought of this during Beyond the Visible because of how Hilma af Klint’s paintings exposed the art world for its priggish self-importance. The MoMA, gatekeeper for abstraction’s boy’s club, ignored the Swedish mystic as recently as 2013 because she predated Kandinsky and undermined its grander 20th century narrative; a witchcraft obsession in pop culture here, a Kristen Stewart namedrop there, however, and she’s finally, fortunately earning overdue acclaim. Her works leave me wondering how else art history’s failing us and how many more geniuses we’ve yet recognized, but maybe those are just earthly concerns for curators and dealers. Fuck art, sure. But in Af Klint’s visions, you’re freed by a transcendent other unveiled. Or: Fuck. Art.