At 90, This Artist Is Still Opening Doors of Perception

At 90, This Artist Is Still Opening Doors of Perception

At the Met Breuer, concurrent with the Lucio Fontana retrospective, comes the New York solo museum debut of another Argentina-born modernist, Julio Le Parc.

Born in 1928 in the city of Mendoza, Mr. Le Parc was an art student in Buenos Aires in the late 1940s, and he lucked out in having Fontana as a teacher. Master and pupil were on the same beam: Both were formally omnivorous, anti-academic and futuristically minded. When Fontana spoke of aligning art with scientific technology, and using light, space and movement as aesthetic materials to make art accessible to new generations of viewers, his ideas fell on the right young ears.

[Read Holland Cotter’s review of the Lucio Fontana retrospective.]

In 1958, Mr. Le Parc moved to Paris. There he met Victor Vasarely and a group of artists associated with what would be called Op Art and Kinetic Art, movements geared to audience interaction. Their populist potential was of particular interest to the younger artist, who took a history of political activism —- Anticapitalist, anti-authoritarian — with him to Europe. (In 1968, he was expelled from France for five months for participating in protests.) His resistance politics extended to the art establishment. He was diffident about engaging with it, and as a result, his career, after a much-noticed start in the 1960s — biennials, prizes — slowed way down outside of France where, at 90, he still lives.

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