The Worlds Within

Two new shows celebrate Wassily Kandinsky and Georgia O'Keeffe, diverse pioneers of abstraction

Georgia O'Keefe Museum / Arts, NY

Series I, No. 4, 1918. O'Keefe's oils drew from nature, Art Nouveau and her interior life.

It's been a long time since abstract art was a religion. For most artists now, it's just an option, a mode they can pursue or ignore as it suits them. But once it was a passion, a polemic, a faith. Wassily Kandinsky, one of its founders, could talk about geometric forms as though they were sacred images — and to him, they were. In a burst of high feeling he could argue, with a straight face, that "the contact between the acute angle of a triangle and a circle has no less effect than that of God's finger touching Adam's in...

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