In the decades following World War II artists in Europe, North America, and South America began experimenting with geometric forms. Rebelling equally against the mathematical purity of earlier geometric modernism and what many saw as the emotional excesses of abstract expressionism and Art Informel, these artists emphasized three-dimensionality, the repetition of modular elements, the conceptual underpinnings of art, and the performative to engage the viewer in the creative process and achieve broader intellectual, sensual, and emotive range in their work.
Beyond Geometry, which accompanies an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, showcases over 200 works by 139 artists that chart the development of these experiments in form. It is noteworthy that artists on three continents began exploring these forms at the same time, often unaware of aesthetic developments elsewhere. Beyond Geometry brings together examples of European and Latin American concrete art, Argentine Arte Madí-Brazilian Neo-Concretism, Kinetic and Op Art, Minimalism, and various forms of post-minimalism including systematic forms of process and conceptual art. These movements and genres developed from a concern with the idea that all meaning resides in the physical object itself, rather than in its metaphorical content or relationship to the outside world. Beyond Geometry includes work by such artists as Josef Albers, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Max Bill, Lucio Fontana, Eva Hesse, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, Helio Oiticica, Blinky Palermo, Bridget Riley, Jesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely. It contains essays by Lynn Zelevansky, Ines Katzenstein, Valerie Hillings, Miklos Peternak, Peter Frank, and Brandon LaBelle that place the work in the context of art history and the aesthetic and social issues of the time.