Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s

An abstract oil painting of an eggbeater, a glove, and a fan flattened into geometric shapes.
June 26–September 5, 2010
Second floor

Featuring approximately 80 seldom-seen paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings, and films, this exhibition juxtaposes the work from artists of the Americas, providing a fresh and innovative look at this dynamic and cosmopolitan period of modernism. Constructive Spirit features several works by artists represented in the Carter’s collection, such as Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, and Louise Nevelson. Other artists in the exhibition include Joaquín Torres-García, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Arshile Gorky. While their approaches were diverse, together their work demonstrates abstraction’s capacity for both systematic and intuitive approaches as well as a broad range of goals from the spiritual to the political. The exhibition is a first-time chance for Carter patrons to understand the conceptual and aesthetic parallels that linked artists across the Americas.

View the following short, avant-garde films from this exhibition in the auditorium downstairs from 1 to 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through September 5 (with the exceptions of July 4, July 10, and August 8).

Mary Ellen Bute (US, 1906–1983)
Rhythm in Light, 1934
Black-and-white film
5 minutes

Mary Ellen Bute (US, 1906–1983)
Parabola, 1937
Black-and-white film
9 minutes

Dwinell Grant (US, 1912–1991)
Composition No. 1: Themis, 1940
Color film
4 minutes

Dwinell Grant (US, 1912–1991)
Composition No. 2: Contrathemis, 1940
Color film
4½ minutes

Installation Photos

Click a button below to open in gallery. Activating any of the below buttons shows the installation photos gallery

This exhibition was organized by the Newark Museum with major support by the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Johnson & Johnson, and the Consulate General of Brazil in New York.

The local presentation of this exhibition is supported in part by the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and The Eugene McDermott Foundation. Promotional support is provided by Star-Telegram, WFAA, and American Airlines.

Film screenings courtesy Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894–1941, a collaborative preservation project sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and underwritten by Cineric, Inc., New York.