Department of Art and Art History News

Dr. Linda Henderson's Recent Publication

Thu. February 7, 2013

Linda Henderson Book Cover

Professor Linda Henderson’s The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, first published in 1983 and now expanded and reissued by the MIT Press, establishes that popular interest in a suprasensible fourth dimension of space and curved non-Euclidean geometries was central to the development of early 20th-century art. If a fourth spatial dimension existed, for example, our world would be merely a shadow or section of it. Such new ideas encouraged radical innovation by many artists, including Cubists, Duchamp, Malevich, and the members of De Stijl and Surrealism.

In a new reintroduction, Henderson surveys the impact of the notion of higher spatial dimensions on art and culture from the 1950s to 2000. Although largely eclipsed by relativity theory during the 1920s-1950s, the spatial fourth dimension began to experience a resurgence in the later 1950s. Since the 1980s it has returned to cultural prominence in the wake of the emergence of string theory in physics and of computer graphics. Henderson demonstrates that the spatial fourth dimension is, in fact, a leitmotif of the century as a whole, as she documents its importance for figures ranging from Buckminster Fuller, Robert Smithson, and the Park Place group in the 1960s to Tony Robbin and digital architect Marcos Novak.