Tatiana Istomina

Alissa Blumenthal: a small retrospective

Alissa Blumenthal: a small retrospective

Exhibition organized by Tatiana Istomina

April 5, 2013 through May 11, 2013

Reception: Friday, April 5, 6-8pm

Alissa Blumenthal, an important under-appreciated American painter, was born in Russia in 1899. She studied art from 1920 to 1923 at Vitebsk Practical Art School, where Kazimir Malevich was one of the professors, and in 1925 immigrated to the United States to live the rest of her long and spectacularly uneventful life in New York City. During her lifetime, Alissa Blumenthal exhibited only on a few occasions. The first period of her moderate success came in the 1940s, when she had three shows in New York, the last of which received a harsh review from Clement Greenberg. Another brief period of recognition occurred in the 1970s, when the momentum of the Women’s Movement led to increased attention to female artists. By 1980 Alissa Blumenthal slipped back into obscurity; she spent the last fifteen years of her life in near isolation in a small apartment in Brooklyn.

Alissa Blumenthal made her work in a self-imposed atmosphere of sheltering isolation that was both creatively confining and indispensable to her artistic development. Now that her practice has surfaced in the art world again, it seems appropriate to find a place for it that acknowledges both its similarities and its differences from the canon. Whether we still share the belief in the promise of abstraction as the vehicle of the sublime or dismiss it as one of the many illusions of High Modernism, Alissa Blumenthal’s works remain indelible vestiges of her particular existence and faith in painting.

More on Alissa Blumenthal and Tatiana Istomina here.


In the Project Room:

Miguel Aragon

April 3 – May 11, 2013