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Poster from the first Suggestivism exhibition, held at the CSU Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California

Suggestivism is a class of contemporary art that demonstrates a "suggestion". Exhibitions of Suggestivist artists have been shown since 2011 in New York, Los Angeles, and Italy. The term was first popularized by Sadakichi Hartmann and later used by curator and author Nathan Spoor.



Nathan Spoor entitled a 2011 gallery exhibition Suggestivism at CSU Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California.[1] This exhibition's art was published in a book of the same title, along with background information on the artists, including interviews by Spoor.[2] Suggestivism's roots may be traced to 19th-century artists James McNeill Whistler, Georges Seurat and Arthur B. Davies.[1] The first theorist to use the term was Sadakichi Hartmann, who used it to describe literary figures like Edgar Allan Poe in addition to the pre-named artists.[3] Hartmann stated that Suggestivism is "an art concerned with a vision of the ideal" and a "style of poetic mysticism and psychological intensity".[4]

Modern Suggestivism does not center on a specific exclusive art movement, but on introducing a common creative thread amongst several disparate individuals within the modern art world who maintain their own individual overall styles. Mike McGee writes in the forward to the book Suggestivism that "there are a number of similarities between Hartmann's suggestivists and the artists Spoor claims under his contemporary suggestivist umbrella. One of the most notable parallels is the relationship of these two groups of artists to the prevailing aesthetic tides of their respective times."[5]

Five major exhibitions have been held between 2011 and 2014 in order to bring together the Suggestivist works of the twenty-first century. In 2011 the Suggestivism exhibition was held from February to April 2011 at the CSUF Grand Central Art Center.[6] In 2012 the exhibition Suggestivism NYC was held at the Bold Hype Gallery in Manhattan.[7] In 2013 an additional exhibition entitled Suggestivism Rome was held at the Casa dell' Architettura in Rome, Italy from May 3 to May 30.[8] The Rete Museala in Cosenza, Italy, held an exhibition called Suggestivism: The New Horizon from June 14 through July 19, 2013. Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, CA held the fifth edition of the shows, with Suggestivism: Chronology from August 14 through September 6, 2014.[9][10][11]


Poster from the 2013 Suggestivism exhibition, held at Acquario Romano in Rome

The 2011 Suggestivism show at the Grand Central Art Center received a great deal of attention from the art community. The Orange County Register wrote that, "One characteristic that all the works in "Suggestivism" share is they are representational, depicting recognizable objects, figures or elements, in contrast to abstract or nonobjective art. Indeed, not a single work is so abstract that a viewer cannot distinguish at least a few of the objects portrayed ... Overall, "Suggestivism" is a strong exhibition that's another manifestation of the popular and vivid lowbrow movement.[1]

In a review of the 2012 exhibition Suggestivism NYC in its eponymous metropolis, the curator was quoted as saying, "does not center around claiming a title for giving any movement a name, but for introducing a common creative thread amongst several disparate and unique voices within the modern art world."[12] SoLifeStyle wrote that "Sometimes an art show can be bland - one artist, one style, too many monotonous paintings. If ever there was an opposite of that scenario, Suggestivism ... was it ... the title of the show is meant to convey a message about art that is possibly more than it seems, or not what it seems at first glance. Having walked through the show, his message comes across loud and clear".[13]

For its third incarnation, while still attempting "to unite artists with a similar interest in the surreal and absurd despite their different aesthetics", the Suggestivism exhibition relocated to the Acquario Romano in Rome in 2013.[14]

Conceptual ArtEdit

At a conceptual level, suggestivism is "the ability of an individual to pursue their purpose with an amplified understanding and sensitivity." It uses the word 'suggest' as its root to imply, "through the mere power of suggestion, the magic is transferred from one to another, engaging the world at large from the most vivid and evocative of visual realms."[15]


  1. ^ a b c Chang, Richard (11 February 2011). "'Lowbrow' art thrives in Santa Ana with 'Suggestivism'". OC Register. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Spoor, Nathan (2011). Suggestivism: a comprehensive survey of contemporary artists. Corte Madera: Gingko Press. ISBN 978-1-58423-447-0. 
  3. ^ ""Suggestivism NYC" Exhibition". NY Art Beat. 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ Jane Calhoun Weaver. Sadakichi Hartmann: Critical Modernist - Collected Art Writings. University of California Press. p. 28. 
  5. ^ Nathan Spoor (2011). Suggestivism: A Comprehensive Survey of Contemporary Artists. Grand Central Publishing. p. Forward. 
  6. ^ Daniella Walsh (February 2011). "Suggestive Sensation". Riviera Orange County. pp. 50–52. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ "WINNIE TROUNG - BOLD HYPE GALLERY "SUGGESTIVISM NYC"". Blisss Magazine. May 9, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ Nastia Voynovskaya (May 2, 2013). "Preview: “Suggestivism” Group Show at the Acquario Romano". Hi-Fructose Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Nathan Spoor Suggestivism Exhibitions". 
  10. ^ Nastia VoynovskayaPosted (August 11, 2014). "Preview: “Suggestivism” Group Show at Copro Gallery". Hi Fructose. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Jane Kenoyer (April 24, 2012). "SUGGESTIVISM NYC- Curated by Nathan Spoor". Hi-Fructose Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ Nastia Voynovskaya (May 2, 2013). "Preview: “Suggestivism” Group Show at the Acquario Romano". Hi-Fructose Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ Spoor, Nathan. "Suggestivism: Grand Central Art Center 2011". Retrieved 28 August 2011. 

External linksEdit