Studio 360

The Mother of All Abstraction

A new exhibition at the Guggenheim suggests it was Hilma af Klint who invented abstraction—so why has she been practically unknown for the last century?

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Thanks to a new exhibition at the Guggenheim, the art world is rediscovering Hilma af Klint. How was this Swede so ahead of her time, and will she finally get her due? Lee Israel’s memoir about forging letters by famous writers, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, is now a terrific movie starring Melissa McCarthy. Israel died in 2014, but here she is in an interview with Kurt Andersen from 2008, where she talks about how—and why—she decided to start impersonating the likes of Dorothy Parker and Noël Coward. When Shane McCrae was a depressed teen in the 1990s, he found inspiration and hope in the strangest of places: the poetry of the famously tragic Sylvia Plath.

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