Andrew SpiraDec 3, 2022
Malevich’s "Black Square" and Its Precursors
Reaktion Books 2022
When Kasimir’s Malevich’s Black Square was produced in 1915, no one had ever seen anything like it before. And yet it does have precedents. In fact, over the previous five hundred years, several painters, writers, philosophers, scientists, and censors alighted on the form of the black square or rectangle, as if for the first time. Foreshadowed: Malevich’s "Black Square" and Its Precursors (Reaktion Books, 2022) explores the resonances between Malevich’s Black Square and its precursors, revealing layers of meaning that are often overlooked but which are as relevant today as ever.
In this interview, Allison Leigh explores these ideas with Andrew Spira. Their conversation ranges from how Andrew chose the overall structure for the book and his process of researching it, to why Malevich’s canvas should be seen as one of the most interesting and beautiful paintings ever made.
Allison Leigh is Associate Professor of Art History and the SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Endowed Professor in Art & Architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research explores masculinity in European and Russian art of the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries.