Black Square

The most expensive Russian painting Black Square (also known as Malevich's Black Square) is an iconic painting by The Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich. Which was sold for $60 million.
Black Square represents an audacious attempt to push painting beyond the heightened plasticity of cubism, into the realm of pure fact. In it, painting and what it describes become the same thing. The picture is absolute – it no longer represents, it simply is.
There are four versions of The Black Square that were completed by Malevich, all housed in Russia. The first one dated to 1915 can be seen at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The 1923 version can be found in The Russian Museum of St Petersburg. The 1929 version is in the New Tretyakov Gallery also in Moscow.


DG:   The fundamental issue, to me, is that someone like Allais could get away with making what he thought of as a little joke, about Negroes in a cave being black, because his audience consisted essentially of white Europeans like himself. But our expectations of more ‘serious’ modernists are higher, and their own imagined audience was larger. We demand them to be emancipators, to work on progress in thinking. After all, it is only another decade or so until the demands of Du Bois for a ‘Negro art’, when he called for culture to help humanity to transcend what he called the ‘color line’, but also, to gain ‘the right of black folk to love and enjoy’ art, if necessary, through propaganda.[13]  Like Du Bois, we expect Malevich to be both serious and on the right side of history.
This is why the discovery threatens to undermine the supposed sanctity of modernism itself. And yet, it is perhaps also an opportunity to develop a more critical understanding of many modernists’ own posturing in history.
KvZC:   The right questions are not being asked of this X-ray. The doctors are not in disarray the way they should be when such an art historical zombie appears. It is not ‘is this a greater masterpiece because it is racist’, as one comment on The Guardian website says (the only comment that mentions race), and it is not a joke, and it’s not about copying only. [18]  All the rhetoric of his Suprematist movement that was born with the Black Square obscures his process and intent. Likely Malevich wasn’t afflicted by guilt for misrepresentation of both infinity and the African, but, rather, feared he had painted a mediocre, derivative picture. Much great art comes from failure, the failures of mediocrities. That’s because the canonical designation of ‘great art’ is in itself a mediocre failure.

http://www.thirdtext.org/malevich-blacksquare