Art in general, and Chicago art specifically, has value whether or not artists display their work in a void. (A true void likely does not exist because even in outer space between galaxies there is dark matter which consists of subatomic particles.) Currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (This museum’s address is 220 E. Chicago Avenue in Chicago, Ill.) the main exhibit is Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962.
This exhibit is on this museum’s fourth floor. Visitors can get to the fourth floor using the elevators or a spiral staircase. This exhibit opened on Feb. 16, 2013, and will close on June 2, 2013.
The artists in this exhibit lived during World War II. Although they explored new ways to create art, some of their works include material that the Allies and Axis used in that war. Some artists, who had artworks and/or studios during the war years, discovered upon their return to their studios that their art and studios were part of the rubble. Extensive bombing was usually the cause for the damage.
Among several pieces in the museum’s Marion & Jerome H. Stone Gallery is Raymond Harris’ (1926-2005) Panneau d’Affichage (billboard). This assemblage consists of torn posters glue to a canvas. The posters are ones that this French artist created, and I assume the enemy partially destroyed most or all of them. The posters become symbolic cellulose for graphic designs during World War II. Measuring 78¾ (w) in. x 59w (l) in., this is the largest artwork in this gallery.
Hammered Grey is one of the larger pieces in the Harris Gallery. (This piece measures 45¾ in. x 35 in.) By Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012), this piece which is a collage of mixed media on canvas, has the Abstractionism Style. The gray and brown shades that the materials depict can symbolize the gray and brown of muddy battlefields, gunpowder, cordite and dirty, infantry fatigues.
Great Uncle Estate by John Latham (American, 1921-2006) is an outstanding piece that measures 131 in. x 107 in. x 8 in. This is an excellent depiction of book burning during the war years since this art displays burned books. (I counted at least 100, burned books.) Besides the books’ leather and paper, Latham used wire, nails and metal chips to construct his tribute to World War II’s rejection of intellectualism.
Several, other artists besides those that I have previously mentioned have their work on display for Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void. Otto Muehl (born 1925), an Austrian who served in the German military, has on display Ohne Titel. Yves Klein, a Frenchman who lived in Japan for a short time after American bombing, has on display Untitled Fire Painting.