Destroy the Picture

John Latham, Untitled, August 1958, Burlap stretched over wood with books, some pages painted, plaster, pipe



Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1958, Aniline on canvas



Kazuo Shiraga,  Wildboar Hunt, 1963, Wild Boar and paint on canvas



Lee Bontecou, Untitled (detail), 1962.



Yves Klein, Untitled Fire Painting (F 13) (detail), 1961.

Yves Klein, Untitled Fire Painting (F 13) (detail), 1961



Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962

Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962 focuses on one of the most significant developments in contemporary abstract painting: the artist’s literal assault on the picture plane. Responding to the physical and psychological destruction wrought by World War II—especially the existential crisis resulting from the atomic bomb—artists ripped, cut, burned, and affixed objects to the canvas in lieu of paint. Destroy the Picture emphasizes this internationally shared artistic sensibility in the context of devastating global change and dynamic artistic dialogues, offering an innovative and expansive view of art making in the postwar period.


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