Half shaman, half showman, Yves Klein took the European art scene by storm in a career that lasted just eight years, from 1954 to 1962. An innovator who embraced painting, sculpture, performance, photography, music, theater, film, architecture, and theoretical writing, Klein was a precursor of many movements of the postwar avant-garde, including minimal art, conceptual art, land art, and performance art. He self-identified as “the painter of space,” seeking to achieve immaterial spirituality through pure color—primarily an ultramarine blue of his own invention, International Klein Blue. Through these and other experiments Klein aimed to reach “beyond the problematic in art” and rethink the world in spiritual and aesthetic terms, creating a pivotal transition between modern art’s concern with material objects and contemporary notions about the conceptual nature of art.
Organized by the Walker Art Center and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Yves Klein Archives in Paris, Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States in nearly 30 years. With some 200 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, documents, photographs, and films, it covers an impressive body of work that broke new ground and blended traditional artistic mediums with performance and spiritual exploration.
Philippe Vergne, director, Dia Art Foundation and former chief curator/deputy director, Walker Art Center
Kerry Brougher, deputy director and chief curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
February 11–May 31, 2010