The fear of abstract art is that it could be interpreted in many ways, and who knows what you could read into a painting that didn’t have a clear message? One of the obsessions that the Soviet Union and the eastern European communist parties had was always controlling the message — all information that everybody gets has to be carefully controlled and monitored. Art was no exception, art was supposed to tell a story, it was supposed to have a happy ending, it was supposed to teach, it was supposed to support the ideals of the party. There was no such thing as art for art’s sake and there was no such thing as art reaching into some kind of spiritual, wordless realm. No, art was done in service of the state and it was something that was going to help mold people and create citizens who do what the state tells them, and who follow the rules.Anne Applebaum on the fear of abstract art in communist culture in the period after World War II (via nprfreshair)
Riley Gets Prize
Artist Bridget Riley is now the first woman to be awarded the Sikkens prize, a Dutch award recognizing the use of color. A member of the Op Art movement, Riley is a painter best known for her black and white paintings that create unique optical effects on canvas.
Previous winners include Donald Judd, but also the Paris street-cleaning department, “for the consistent use of the colour green”, and, in the 1970s, hippies, “for the exuberant use of colour as a playful aspect in human society”.
Find out more about artist Bridget Riley.