Best Museum Show (2002)
Mondrian, 1892-1914: The Path to Abstraction, Kimbell Art Museum
Without a doubt, the Kimbell Art Museum's show tracking Piet Mondrian's long, slow evolution into a 20th-century icon. A gloriously middlebrow effort, the show--organized by the Musée d'Orsay and on display through December 8--sets out to "analyze...the disparate influences upon [Mondrian]--aesthetic, historical, intellectual and spiritual." In other words, museumgoers are treated to that guiltiest of pleasures, a narrative of historical progression, a tale of artistic development in all its outré, Hegelian glory. By consigning formalist analysis to the trash heap of jargon whence it belongs, the organizers manage to telescope much of the story of modernism into the tale of Mondrian. Best of all, they also produced a readable, 100 percent jargon-free catalog.