Inventing Abstraction Network Analysis

MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction exhibit has a very useful website that visualizes the network of artists contributing to abstraction in the arts. In the description of the diagram, it says “Abstraction was not the inspiration of a solitary genius but the product of network thinking–of ideas moving through a nexus of artists and intellectuals working in different mediums and in far-flung places.”

The diagram truly shows this concept, by displaying the connections between different artists who contributed to abstraction. The artists with the most connections to others are displayed in a red box. The lines connecting names show that there is documentation that these artists were acquainted.

At first glance, this diagram is interesting, but a lot to digest. However, there is an interactive element. When you click on an artist, you can see just those who are connected to that artist and a bar pops up that displays additional information. For most of the artists you can explore what works they created, where they were born, where they created art, and their other interests. This allows you to see the variety between different artists. I think this interactive element within the larger diagram allows you to digest the information easier while still focusing on the idea that no one artist invented abstraction on their own. The choice of using a network, emphasizes collaboration within the arts across the world and across time.

One Comment

  1. When I first checked out this site, I was annoyed by how ‘blurry’ the graph was, but I like how there’s a “3D” affect when your mouse hovers over something.

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