Joseph Stella featured at MANIFESTA 9
Manifesta 9, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, will be held in Limburg, Belgium from June 2 through September 30 at a former coal mine’s industrial complex. This renowned exposition of the most innovative, contemporary art in Europe will also include a work by early twentieth-century American artist Joseph Stella (1877–1946). Stella’s Smoke Stacks, 1935 will be on loan from the Indiana State University’s Permanent Art Collection, and at 77 years old, this piece could hardly be classified as contemporary. Yet this year’s biennial will be the first to include historical art in conjunction with works created specifically for the event.
The unique mining location has acted as inspiration for the themes of the show, and Stella’s painting will be included in the section “The Aesthetics of Pollution.” In this work, Stella captured the viewpoint of modern painters who both denounced and formalized coal smoke as they coped with the rapid expansion of this technology.
The inclusion of modern, American artists (Charles Demuth, William Rittase, and Robert Smithson will also be shown) amongst an almost exclusively European cast, points to the growing interest of American art abroad. While the Amsterdam based Manifesta Foundation exists to unite European artists, the recognition of these Americans shows the influence they have on the global stage. Imagine how proud the Hudson River School artists, eager to prove themselves to their European counterparts, would be to know of the recognition of their successors.
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