You Are An Innovator

“Woman Artist, Nude, Standing” by Dorothea Tanning in Reina Sofia in Madrid
“Woman Artist, Nude, Standing” by Dorothea Tanning in Reina Sofia in Madrid

“You, the proletariat, the blacksmith of the new time, you forge time with forms. . . You are an innovator. We. . . rushed from a barricade toward the world of new transformation, light and non-objective one, because the great recreation of our undying spirit is coming.” Kazimir Malévich 1918

Dada seems to have made its first appearance in Russia where the Futurists’ influence was strong. The “Russian Dada” show at the Reina Sofia in Madrid featured Malévich as a bedrock and he stole the show.

Dada was a reaction to the propaganda and slaughter of World War I and Surrealism sprang from that. Dorothea Tanning was born in a small town in Illinois. She dropped out of school and turned to the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago for inspiration. She travelled to Paris to meet the surrealists but returned when World War II broke out. She married Max Ernst and they moved to Arizona. She lived to 102, Outlasting many art movements. “Behind the Door, Another Invisible Door,” a retrospect of her work fills the third floor here and it is a revelation.

Tanning refused to be labeled a “woman artist” saying, “one is given, the other is you.” Her “Woman Artist, Nude, Standing” (above) asserts feminine power as a creative force to be reckoned with. With nods to Goya and deKooning she presents herself armored in her own voluptuous flesh while wearing only a black mantilla with a red poppy.

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