Concrete Art

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A term coined by Dutch artist and architect Theo van Doesburg in 1930 to describe abstract art based on mathematic or scientific principles, the visual expression of which was an emphasis on planes and color. Concrete Art has since been associated with other schools of abstraction that spurned expression or gesture, such as the Bauhaus and Constructivism. Later to be called "cold abstraction," this style was often criticized for its transcendental bent and failure to confront the world. Lucio Fontana, for example, though associated briefly with the Italian Movimento Arte Concreta (M.A.C.), ultimately found his practice to be at odds with the "sterile and empty" formalism of this tendency. A central concept in much of Concrete Art was the idea of “real space,” which was further explored in its Latin American iterations like Arte Concreto-Invención, Arte Madí and the Grupo Neoconcreto. After flourishing for some 20 years, by the 1950s the cerebral concerns of this art—its exploration of pure form and universal principles—were being eclipsed by the more expressive gestural abstraction coming out of the New York School and the School of Paris.

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