Constant-Wild West, 1962

Constant, Wild West, 1962, oil on canvas, 19 in x 43 in, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University, The Golda and Meyer Marks Cobra Collection, M-79.20

As we speak Trudy, the president of Fondation Constant is flying back from Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she was present at the opening of the Cobra exhibition SPIRIT OF COBRA at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. She was invited by the museum as a representative of Constant and the foundation to be interviewed for the local public television station and for the archives of the museum.



November 8, 2013 – May 18, 2014

Spirit of Cobra will be the first of three scholarly exhibitions focusing on the European avant-garde Cobra movement

All under Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater’s new leadership

(Fort Lauderdale, FL, October 14, 2013) - NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale presents Spirit of Cobra, a major exhibition exploring the roots and inspiration of the European avant-garde Cobra movement, on view November 8, 2013 through May 18, 2014. Spirit of Cobra highlights the unique meeting of young artists who came together from several European countries in the aftermath of World War II to create a living art, based on spontaneity, experimentation, socialist politics, and exuberant optimism. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in the Netherlands, and is the first of three major exhibitions that will focus specifically on this influential movement that helped inspire the development of European post-war, avant-garde art. This trio of exhibitions represents the museum’s ongoing commitment to Cobra scholarship, and also highlights new Director and Chief curator Bonnie Clearwater’s commitment to integrate education into exhibition programming, as well as thorough scholarship of underexplored art historical subjects and movements.

“The Cobra movement’s legacy continues to influence artists today, such as Albert Oehlen and Rita Ackermann,” notes Clearwater. “Yet, Cobra art is under-recognized in the United States and is often misunderstood.   This exhibition will shed new light on its significance.” As the largest and most comprehensive collection of Cobra art in the United States, NSU Museum of Art is strategically collaborating with the Cobra Museum of Art to ensure that the legacy of this importmant movement in art history is kept alive.

Spirit of Cobra features paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, and mixed media works drawn from the permanent collections of the two museums along with other works lent by leading public and private collections. Highlights of the exhibition include: Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Constant, Corneille, Christian Dotremont, Egill Jacobsen, Asger Jorn, and Carl-Henning Pedersen, many of which have never been publicly displayed.

Cobra originated in Paris and its followers actively worked together in a group experiment that formally lasted between 1948 through 1951. The Cobra artists, whose collective name is an acronym of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the home cities of its founders, emerged on the scene with expressionistic works rich in color and spontaneous play of line and material. The artists sought creativity outside the mainstream art world and were greatly inspired by folk and tribal art, forms of primitive art, and Scandinavian mythology.,.They considered geometric abstraction too inhuman and formal, surrealism too academic, and socialist realism too dogmatic. Their aim was an art for and by everyone, regardless of class, race, or education level.

Spirit of Cobra is co-organized by NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen, Netherlands, and is curated by Brenda Zwart and Katja Weitering.

The exhibition is supported through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge with additional funding provided by Linda J. Marks and Stephen R. Marks, and Daniel and Jan Lewis, and David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation.

Exhibition Related Events

November 8, 2013 | 7-9pm

Opening reception Spirit of Cobra
$15 museum members;$25 non members
RSVP to membership!@moafl.org or (954) 262-0221

November 10, 2013 | 1:00pm
Lecture with Spirit of Cobra curator Brenda Zwart
$10 per person includes museum admission; Free for members.
RSVP to achadwick@moafl.org or (954) 262-0241

Cobra Creative Corner
Beginning Tuesday, November 12 every Tuesday and Thursday 11am and 2pm
Family Activities in the Spirit of Cobra exhibition for preschoolers and adults.
Free with admission. For more info contact achadwick@moafl.org or (954)262-0241.

About Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale

Founded in 1958, Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is housed since 1986 in a distinguished 83,000 square-foot modernist building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. The museum is a premier destination for dynamic exhibitions and programs that encompass all facets of civilization’s rich history. It contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, the 250-seat Horvitz Auditorium, bookstore and café. The museum’s 6,000-work permanent collection is recognized for its extensive holdings of works by the pioneering American painter William Glackens, paintings by Cobra artists, and a highly prized collection of works by Latin American artists. The museum also maintains a special focus on photography and presents year-round photography exhibitions through its Foto Fort Lauderdale initiative. The museum offers a comprehensive education program through the dynamic NSU AutoNation Academy for Art + Design, located in an adjacent 11,000 square-foot building.  In 2008, the museum became part of Nova Southeastern University, the ninth-largest not-for-profit independent institution in the nation. In September 2013, Bonnie Clearwater became NSU Museum of Art’s Director and Chief Curator.