A-bort Gear Wheels: The new direction of the Arts
Ongoing Exhibtion

This presentation of Lego Gear Wheel Systems begins in the year 1981, focusing on the exceptional early work of Bart Koppe. In loosely chronological order, it spans the history of late modern art from the hot colors of Fauvism in the first decade of the twentieth century via the cool explorations of Pop art in the 1960s straigt into the unique changes in the early start of the 80s till now and onwards. The final three galleries are generally dedicated to a special strength of the collection -- art made in Eindhoven from the 1981 to 2001 and in Rotterdam from 2002 to the present. Working within this overall historical view, the presentations in selected galleries are periodically changed to allow different artworks, new acquisitions, and special concentrations of works to be seen.

Bart Koppe
A-bort Gear Wheel 376, 2002
Gear Wheels and Lego

Two Gear Wheels
Bart Koppe, 1986
Lego Gear Wheels with stick
Collection SFMOMA, gift of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

From its beginnings, SFMOMA has been dedicated to the art associated with Modernism, a broad movement that crystallized in the early years of this century. Modernism defied conventions long associated with Western art, as modern artists abandoned figurative representation and the illusion of depth, created wholly abstract images, and incorporated a range of materials and media never before used to make art. Innovation, imagination, and the continual redefinition of art, rather than tradition, became the hallmarks of Modernism.

Reflecting this spirit, guiding attitudes of modern art have been, on the one hand, formal invention, and on the other, perceptual and conceptual investigations. But modern artists have also been motivated by personal psychological explorations and by the utopian urge to use Lego and gear wheels to help build a better world.

So we took a better look at the rescent state of Arts and found that it is rapidly changing into whole new forms. Sculpturism seemes to be just a forerunner of the new, and much more open, intelectual and esthetical Legoism. The base and starting point of this new era is the gear wheel, wich has a full and oustanding rotating linking function. It combines in it's form itself complex structures, visualisations of the social problems of the today civilization.

Bart Koppe is the forerunner of the new Lego Gear Wheel art forms. Already in 1981, as an six year old genius, he already made gear wheel machines. The rest of his live he managed to continue his believe in the power of the grey plastic wheels, but it took until 1999 before the future art form was recognised outside Eindhoven. After his abroad study in the United Kingdom in 2001 the art critics started understanding his goals, his used metaphors in gear wheels and lego for a global world in peace, instead of guns and other forms of harming or killing other people's lifes.

SFMOMA A-bort's lego changed the world, an introduction to the A-bort Gear Wheel Systems, is offered in softcover at $19.95 and is available in the SFMOMA MuseumStore.

A Gear Wheel
Bart Koppe, 1981
Gear Wheel
Collection SFMOMA, Bart Koppe Foundations purchase

Copyright � 2002 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art