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    Op Art Pioneers @ CMA


    Op Art painting by Edwin Mieczkowski

    Blue Bloc, c. 1967. Edwin Mieczkowski (American, b. 1929). Acrylic on canvas mounted to board; 121.9 x 121.9 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Anonymous Gift, by Exchange 2010.261. Copyright 1967, Edwin Mieczkowski, All rights reserved

    This small exhibition in the Cleveland gallery on the East Wing of the Cleveland Museum of Art features Optical Art paintings by a few Cleveland-based artists, namely Edwin Mieczkowski (American, born 1929), Julian Stanczak (American, born in Poland 1928), Ernst Benkert (American, 1928-2010), Richard Anuszkiewicz (American, born 1930), and Francis Hewitt (American, 1936-1992). While many artists prefer the term “Perceptual Abstraction” over “Op Art,” the latter remains in use today. Op Art seeks to stimulate vision through an interplay of colors, shapes, and a manipulation of figure-ground relationships, creating visual effects of movement and pulsation. The exhibit features pieces that create slightly disorienting illusions; as I entered the single room that houses the Op Art paintings in the museum, another visitor nearly bumped into me while stepping back from a Stanczak work. The exhibit creates an impression on the viewer, as it plays with each visitor’s perceptual understanding.

    Op Art painting by Julian Stanczack

    Filtered Yellow, 1968. Julian Stanczak (American, born Poland, 1928). Acrylic on canvas; 182.8 x 243.8 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Contemporary Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art 1969.15 © Julian Stanczak

    Cleveland became an artistic center for Op Art in the 1960s, housing and providing education for artists such as those featured in this exhibit. Benkert, Hewitt, and Mieczkowski founded the Anonima Group, the only Op Art artist collaborative in the States,

    For more information of the Anonima Group, please visit their website:

    Op Art painting by  Ernest Benkert

    Untitled, 1967–68. Ernest Benkert (American, 1928–2010). Black paint with graphite; 62 x 57.3 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Helen A. Weinberg in memory of her husband Kenneth G. Weinberg 2000.47. Copyright Ernest Benkert

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