An extraordinary exhibition is currently taking place at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The title “Cult of the Machine” indicates what it is all about: “Characterized by highly structured, geometric compositions with smooth surfaces, linear qualities, and lucid forms, Precisionism – a style that emerged in America in the teens and flourished during the 1920s and 1930s – reconciled realism with abstraction, and wed European art movements, such as Purism, Cubism, and Futurism, to American subject matter to create a streamlined, ‘machined’ aesthetic with themes ranging from the urban and industrial to the pastoral. The tensions and ambivalences about industrialization expressed in works by the Precisionists are particularly fascinating and relevant to a contemporary audience in the midst of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which robots are replacing human labor for various functions, underscoring many of the same excitements and concerns about modernization that existed nearly one hundred years ago.” (Website de Young Museum) The exhibition will run from 24 March to 12 August 2018. Further information is available via deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/cult-machine.
Fig.: The exhibition sign