Art historian to speak Oct. 10 on Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie” (1943)
Piet Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie” (1943)

Nancy J. Troy, chair of the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, will visit NIU at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, to speak on “The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian.”

Troy comes to campus through the Elizabeth Allen Visiting Lectures in Art History Series. Her talk will take place in Room 100 of the Visual Arts Building.

According to the Oxford University Press, Mondrian’s work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and symbolism to neo-impressionism and cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920.

The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and color, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of “beauty.”

Yet in Troy’s new book, “The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian” (University of Chicago Press, 2013 ), she argues that we miss the evolving significance of Mondrian’s work if we examine it without regard for the interplay of canonical art and popular culture.

Photo of a sandwich fixed in a Piet Mondrian styleHers is a fascinating investigation into Mondrian’s afterlife that casts new light on how every artist’s legacy is constructed as it circulates through the art world and becomes assimilated into the larger realm of visual experience. In other words, Troy is interested in how Mondrian’s idealized paintings have percolated through pop culture to become at once an iconic and very ordinary design motif

The Elizabeth Allen Visiting Lectures in Art History Series is hosted by the Art History Division and funded in part by the NIU School of Art Visiting Artists and Scholars Program.

Talks are free and open to the public. For more information, email jsmola@niu.edu.

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