Tamar Avishai

Episode 38: Wassily Kandinsky's "Untitled" (1922)

Tamar Avishai
Episode 38: Wassily Kandinsky's "Untitled" (1922)
Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward Heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.
— Walter Gropius, Bauhaus founder

Images Referenced:

Music Used:

Django Reinhardt, “Django’s Tiger”

Thelonious Monk, “Misterioso”

The Andrews Sisters, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen"

The Blue Dot Sessions, “Highway 94”, “Boston Landing”, “Junca”, “Unfolding Plot”, “Micro”, “Betty Dear”

Joe Dassin, “Les Champs-Elysees"

Additional Links:

Hear a portion of this episode on WBUR’s Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon.

Bonus interview with Dan Byers, Director of the Carpenter Center of Visual Arts, Harvard University

Tamar met Dan when she was a worshipful high school freshman and he was (to her) an übercool junior who was not only the arts editor of Thoughtprints, the school's art/lit mag, but also spent his free time in the fine art studio, bending the charcoal like Beckmann. Now he's the Director of the Carpenter Center of Visual Arts at Harvard University, she's an art history podcaster, and they reconnected in the Busch-Reisinger galleries in front of Beckmann's "Self-Portrait in a Tuxedo" from 1927 to talk about self-portraiture, self-evolution, and the limitations of peaking in high school.

[00:17] - Describing the painting.

[02:35] - What drew Dan to the painting as a teenager.

[06:16] - The ephemera of the cigarette.

[08:17] - Self-portraits in high school.

[09:25] - Drawing in thick, expressive lines.

[11:35] - The self-portrait that doesn't need our validation.

[15:19] - Beckmann isn’t Egon Schiele

[18:58] - Dan's evolving relationship with this painting.

[21:58] - Thoughtprints!