Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937 at MoMA is the first major museum exhibition to identify the core practices and strategies Miró used to attack and reinvigorate painting between 1927 and 1937, a transformative decade within his long career. Taking his notorious claim—“I want to assassinate painting” —as its point of departure, the exhibition explores twelve of Miró’s sustained series from this decade, beginning with a 1927 group of works on canvas that appears to be raw and concluding with 1937’s singular, hallucinatory painting, Still Life with Old Shoe. Acidic color, grotesque disfigurement, purposeful stylistic heterogeneity, and the use of collage and readymade materials are among the aggressive tactics that Miró used in pursuit of his goal. By assembling in unprecedented depth the interrelated series of paintings, collages, objects, and drawings of this decade, this exhibition repeatedly poses the question of what painting meant to Miró and what he proposed as its opposite, and in the process reveals the artist’s paradoxical nature: an artist of violence and resistance who never ceased to be a painter, a creator of forms.
In this SundayArts Choice, curator Anne Umland shows us her favorite piece currently on display in this exhibition.