Mondriaan as virus

Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of de Stijl’s birth is going full tilt in The Netherlands this summer. Among the foci is a survey of Piet Mondriaan‘s work at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, which also happens to hold the world’s largest collection of his art. Astoundingly, the museum has decided to put all of it – some 130 items – on display.

Though I have, as yet, not found time to take in this overview during my brief visit, I am finding the inescapable refererences to Mondriaan’s accomplishments to be virtually overwhelming. They are visible through much of the city, in large and small sizes and many types of contexts. Here are just a few of the innumerable examples that offer proof of how a good thing can be taken too far….

Mondriaan descends on City Hall…
and lands in shop windows.
Mondriaan subtly accentuates doorways…
brackets broad entranceways…
and large display windows, sometimes in asymnetrical configurations.
The Mondriaan experience enlivens displays of bread…
ceramic pots…
is juxtaposed with other forms of art…
and flies like a kite over our heads.
Intimations of Mondriaan’s art function as a billboard…
fills squat…
as well as tall and narrow windows.
It curtains off whole storefronts…
and carpets immense banks of stairs.

 Grand homage or trivialisation? That is the question…

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