ST. LOUIS, MO.- The World Chess Hall of Fame
presents a new art exhibit, Victor Vasarely: Calculated Compositions, opening Friday, October 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Widely regarded as the Father of the Op Art movement," French-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely became entranced by patterns, including that of a chessboard in the late 1930s, which became the quintessential framework for his art. Works in the exhibit are on loan from the collection of the Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece, and are supplemented by selections from the collections of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.
Utilizing geometric shapes and colorful graphics, many of Vasarelys works are compelling illusions of spatial depth. He credits his work to a wide range of influences, including Bauhaus design principles, Wassily Kandinsky, and Constructivism. After settling in Paris in 1930, Vasarely worked as a graphic artist while creating many proto-Op Art works. Vasarely experimented in a style based in Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism during the 1940s. During the 1960s and 70s, his optical images became part of the popular culture, often used on album covers and in fashion spreads. His motto was "Art for All." His work is in museum collections around the world, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
"Vasarely believed that art should be affordable and available to the masses, versus an elite few," said Shannon Bailey, WCHOF chief curator. "He didn't believe you had to be an art historian to understand or appreciate art. This is one of the many reasons I am excited about this show, as it is analogous to our mission to make chess available to as many people as possible.
The majority of the works in the exhibition are serigraphs, prints made via silkscreen process. Prints were aligned with Vasarelys beliefs, since large editions could be enjoyed by a greater number of people. In addition, there are several fine examples of gouache on paper as well as a chessboard by the artist and other historic objects including etchings, collage and posters.
"Vasarely was a true pioneer of optical art. It's important to note that he created these works pre-technology, entirely by hand, which is part of what makes them so impressive," says Paul Firos, Founder of the Herakleidon Museum and President of PAN Art Connections.
Victor Vasarely: Calculated Compositions will be on display through March 25, 2018 at the World Chess Hall of Fame, located at 4652 Maryland Plaza in the Central West End. Admission is complimentary with a suggested donation of $5.
The WCHOF has welcomed over 70,000 visitors since its opening. Its widespread acclaim has been complemented by the efforts of its supported organization, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, an educational institution that focuses on teaching and promoting the game of chess. The combined efforts of the Saint Louis Chess Campus led the United States Senate, in 2014, to declare Saint Louis the chess capital of the nation.