Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925

I decided to explore MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925 online exhibit, which features the connections between a network of abstract artists that were all players in the development of the abstract art movement.  The purpose of this network diagram is to illustrate that abstraction is not solely attributed to any single artist, but that the movement was a product of “ideas moving through a nexus of artists and intellectuals working in different mediums and far-flung places…its pioneers were more closely linked than is generally understood” (MoMa 2012).

What (or who) are the nodes and what are the edges?

Each node in this network diagram represents an artist who played a significant role in the birth of abstract art.  The edges connect these individuals whose acquaintance with one another was somehow documented.  This network diagram also features certain nodes (aka individuals) that are colored red; these are individuals who have over 24 connections within the network, suggesting that these people were some of the most well renowned and influential within the abstract movement. 

What interactions does the project allow?

If you click on any single node, the interactive display takes you to a page that further explores that single artist and their connections.  For instance, upon clicking on Pablo Picasso (one of the artists who had more than 24 connections within this network), you are shown a different network that shows only Picasso’s connections within the 1910-1925 years of the abstract movement.  The page also features some of Picasso’s individual information, such as his dates of birth and death, his birthplace, some of his works from that period, his interests, and his contributions to the movement.  From Picasso’s personal network, one can click on another artist and continue exploring. 

In this way, one can examine how certain individuals might have overlapped or found common ground through close geographic location, similar interests, etc.  This interactivity is certainly effective in supporting the MoMA’s purpose in creating this exhibit, which is to convey how interconnected the initial abstract artists were and the collaborative nature of the abstract art movement.


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