Anonima Group









"The American artist collaborative, Anonima Group, was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1960 by Ernst Benkert, Francis Hewitt and Ed Mieczkowski. Propelled by their rejection of the cult of the individual ego and automatic style of the Abstract Expressionists, the artists worked collaboratively on grid-based, spatially fluctuating drawings and paintings that were precise investigations of the scientific phenomena and psychology of optical perception. The work was accompanied by writings: proposals, projects and manifestos - socialist in nature - which the artists considered essential to the experience and understanding of their work. Their drawings, paintings and writings, which had much in common with the positions of artist Ad Reinhardt, and with the Russian Constructivists, were included in the 1965 Responsive Eye exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Along with other artists in the exhibit , Anonima's work was incorrectly relegated to what came to be the highly commercialized and publicized category of Op Art. A recent reconsideration and recontextualization of Op Art, the expansive 2006 Optic Nerve exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art, places the Anonima as the sole American collaborative group, along with the European Zero Group, Gruppo N, GRAV and others, who were examining new optical information at that time.

Frank Hewitt, who had a masters in art and later did course work toward a PhD in the psychology of perception, provided the conceptual framework for the Anonima Group; their projects addressed the latest information about the science and psychology of visual perception. Anonima's anti-commercial stance, including their ultimate refusal to interact with the commercial artworld, had the effect of removing them from the lexicon of known artists from that time."

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