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: Two Biedermans for Minneapolis


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In 1974 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts was given two structurist reliefs by Charles Biederman: #36, 1950, illustrated here, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Anderson, and #27, 1968-1969, illustrated on the cover of this Bulletin, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Andrus III in memory of Faye Cole Andrus.Charles Biederman, who now resides in Red Wing, Minnesota, has been a strong advocate of an abstract art that is based on a study of nature's inner structure. His book Art as the Evolution of Visual Knowledge traces the progression of modernist styles from the time "man, as an artist, first learned to create in the image of nature's creations," to today when "he is learning to create in the way of nature."Biederman's structurist reliefs, while not representing nature, have an inner structure and visual qualities that parallel those of natural objects. Comparing the visual experience of viewing one of Biederman's reliefs and a tree, for example, one can observe in both a distinct asymmetrical structure that approaches symmetry. Our visual perception of both objects changes depending on the position and type of light and on our own position as a viewer. Seen from the front a relief such as #36, 1950, illustrated here, may appear relatively simple, but when one moves from one side to the other, or when the light is varied, colors, shapes, angles shadows—and the relationships among all of these—change dramatically. Biederman's reliefs thus parallel the visual qualities of natural objects by actively changing as the position of the light source and the position of the viewer change.Today, as a new generation of American artists has become more precise and calculating in its art, it seems appropriate to reconsider the carefully controlled reliefs of Charles Biederman. Building upon the insights gleaned from the 1965 exhibition at the Walker Art Center and the 1969 retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will present a major retrospective of Biederman's work in the fall of 1976.Referenced Work of Art
  1. Charles Biederman
    American, 1906-
    #36, 1950
    Painted aluminum
    38 in x 30 in. x 6 in.
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Anderson 74.29
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Source: Gregory Hedberg, "Two Biedermans for Minneapolis," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 61 (1974): 52-53.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009