The mother of all abstraction

January 17, 2019

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A portrait of Hilma af Klint, Stockholm, 1910s

A portrait of Hilma af Klint, Stockholm, 1910s, and part of her painting, “Group IV, The Ten Largest, No. 7, Adulthood (Grupp IV, De tio största, nr 7, Mannaåldern),” 1907 from “untitled series.”

Credit:

Courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm

Thanks to a new exhibit at the Guggenheim, the art world is rediscovering Hilma af Klint. How was this Swede so ahead of her time, and will she finally get her due? Lee Israel’s memoir about forging letters by famous writers, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” is now a terrific movie starring Melissa McCarthy. Israel died in 2014, but here she is in an interview with Kurt Andersen in 2008, where she talks about how — and why — she decided to start impersonating the likes of Dorothy Parker and Noël Coward. When Shane McCrae was a depressed teen in the ’90s, he found inspiration and hope in the strangest of places: the poetry of the famously tragic Sylvia Plath.

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