Hirshhorn Plaza

Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers
Yves Klein’s Untitled Anthropometry, 1960, from the Hirshhorn’s collection

May 20 to September 12, 2010
One of the last century’s most influential artists, Yves Klein (French, b. Nice, 1928; d. Paris, 1962) took the European art scene by storm in a prolific career that lasted only from 1954 to 1962, when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 34. Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States in nearly 30 years. The exhibition will include examples from all of Klein’s major series, including his Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs, and blue monochromes, as well as selections of his lesser-known gold and pink monochromes, body and sponge reliefs, “air architecture,” and immaterial works. The installation will also foreground the artist’s process and conceptual projects through a range of ephemera, including sketches, photographs, letters, and writings.

Yves Klein created what he considered his first artwork when he signed the sky above Nice in 1947, making his earliest attempt to capture the immaterial. Klein was an innovator who embraced painting, sculpture, performance, photography, music, theater, film, architecture, and theoretical writing. Self-identified as “the painter of space,” he sought to achieve immaterial spirituality through pure color (primarily an ultramarine blue of his own invention—International Klein Blue). The artist’s diverse body of work represents a pivotal transition from modern art’s concern with the material object to contemporary notions of the conceptual nature of art and is informed by Klein’s study of the mystical sect Rosicrucianism, philosophical and poetic investigations of space and science, and the practice of Judo.

The exhibition is co-organized by the Hirshhorn and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and is co-curated by Hirshhorn deputy director and chief curator Kerry Brougher and Philippe Vergne, director of Dia Art Foundation.

Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is co-organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

The exhibition is made possible by major support from Martha and Bruce Atwater, Judy Dayton, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional generous support provided by Constance R. Caplan and Lewis and Barbara Shrensky. Major support for the catalogue is provided by Sotheby’s with additional support from L&M Arts in New York and Heather James Fine Art.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s presentation is sponsored by


Additional generous support for the Hirshhorn’s presentation is provided by Glenstone and the Lisa and Steven Tananbaum Family Foundation.

Exhibition Airline Sponsor


Yves Klein Leaps into Facebook and Twitter
For this first US retrospective in nearly thirty years of one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists, whose work marks a pivotal transition between modern art’s concern with the material object and contemporary notions of the conceptual natural of art, we felt it was essential not only to present Klein as the maker of beautiful objects, but also as a thinker, a philosopher who paved the way for future generations of artists. His body of work was diverse and moved beyond traditional media like painting and sculpture to include performance, photography, music, architecture, and theoretical writing as well as plans for projects in theater, dance, and cinema. He may also have been one of the first artists consciously to blur the lines between his work and life, between painting and performance, between object and idea, even between being an artist and a magician. Therefore, it is necessary not only to create an exhibition of his physical works, which are numerous and exist in a variety of forms, but to present the full range of his creative endeavor and to resurrect the artist himself by allowing him to tell his own story.

Therefore, as we approach the opening of the exhibition, we wanted to try an experiment, to have the artist himself introduce the show and present to viewers the range of his projects and the scope of what they will experience in the exhibition itself. Each day, a different aspect of Klein’s remarkably prolific, yet dramatically short career (which ended at the age of 34 when he died of a heart attack) will take center stage, presented through quotes, photos, video and audio recordings  that let Klein himself explain his goals, process, artworks, and projects to the audience. Thus, Klein will live through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and the Hirshhorn’s website, truly providing him the chance to, as he expressed a desire to do, “to realize in my own creations that ‘transparence,’ that immeasurable ‘void’ in which lives the permanent and absolute spirit freed of all dimensions.”

View the Yves Klein social media material archive here.

Yves Klein mobile application available
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announces the release of a mobile application for Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States in nearly 30 years. This is the first mobile application offered to the public by a Smithsonian art museum, representing a commitment to technology that enriches the experience of visitors on- and off-site.

The Klein application is available in the iTunes App Store for download globally at a price of $.99 until June 21; $1.99 thereafter. It provides users with a full overview of the exhibition, highlighting images of selected artworks alongside video and quotes from the artist himself, giving insight into Klein’s concepts and process. The application is accessible here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yves-klein-with-void-full/id373760860?mt=8.

“We launched the Yves Klein iPhone application to give our visitors, and art fans globally, an interactive way to experience this one-of-a-kind exhibition,” said Richard Koshalek, director of the museum. “The distribution of our application allows people around the world to engage with the Yves Klein show through their smartphones.”

Using Toura for its iPhone application demonstrates the Hirshhorn’s ongoing commitment to educating and empowering a global audience in an increasingly information-driven culture. With Toura’s application technology, the museum will be able to offer smartphone tours for additional exhibitions in the future. Upon the successful launch of this iPhone app, the Hirshhorn, in conjunction with Toura, will make the application available on other platforms and via other sellers, including Google’s Android Marketplace.