The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present celebrated Russian pianist Mikhail Rudy in the New York premiere of a multimedia performance of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vystavki, 1874) with animated projections of rarely seen drawings by Vasily Kandinsky on Thursday, September 27, and Friday, September 28, 2012, at 8 pm. Drawn from the archives of the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the watercolor sketches were made for Kandinsky's historic staging of the Mussorgsky piece in Dessau, Germany, in 1928. The Guggenheim performances are followed by a moderated discussion with Rudy about the origin of his project.
Given unprecedented access to the original Kandinsky drawings and archival materials at the Centre Pompidou for his research, Rudy began to develop the idea of bringing the famed 1928 performance to life for a modern audience through the use of video animations. His animations were recently released on DVD by the Centre Pompidou and exhibited at the museum alongside the original Kandinsky drawings in the exhibition Dance through Life (2011–12).
Kandinsky is a central figure in the history of the Guggenheim Museum, and his works represent the core of the collection. Hilla Rebay, the museum's first director and art advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim, promoted nonobjective painting above all other forms of abstraction and was particularly inspired by the artist's work and writings. Rebay introduced Guggenheim to Kandinsky in his studio at the Dessau Bauhaus in the summer of 1930, which marked a period of continuous acquisition of Kandinsky's oils and watercolors, growing to encompass over 150 works in the museum's collection. The exhibition Kandinsky 1911–1913, currently on view in Annex Level 3, highlights paintings completed at the moment the artist was making great strides toward complete abstraction and published his aesthetic treatise Über das Geistige in der Kunst (On the Spiritual in Art, 1911, though dated 1912).
The performances will take place at 8 pm at the Peter B. Lewis Theater. Tickets are $35, $30 for members. For tickets, visit guggenheim.org/publicprograms.
Pictures at an Exhibition is organized by Charles Fabius, Consulting Producer, Guggenheim Museum.