A black square is a square in a crossword grid which is totally colored black to indicate that it does not contain a letter. Black squares separate words in the same row or column.

Black squares are also used in some other types of puzzles with grids to indicate the break between two entries in the grid.

In diagramless crosswords you aren't given the locations of black squares. In some types of puzzles, such as variety cryptics, heavy bars are used instead of black squares to indicate word breaks. These bars don't take up a square, and as a result, word breaks in across entries have no relation to word breaks in down entries.

The Black Square remains one of the most stunning pieces of art to this day, perhaps for different reasons than was originally intended. The usual expression of anybody who sees this artwork for the first time is something like this:

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           | Black Square (1915) |
           |   Kasimir Malevich  |
           |      1878-1935      |

“So, they must have taken the painting down for restoration.”
“Umm, no, this is the painting.”
“Where? I don’t see it”
“You’re looking right at it, the black square over there.”
WHAT? How can that be famous? I drew similar things in kindergarden.”

Of course, taking a trip to today’s modern museum may cause this reaction with nearly all the artwork, but that only proves how influential the Black Square really was on the world of art.

The artwork’s creator, Kasimir Malevich, was an artist and a designer who truly believed that art should be a way to express feeling, ideas, and thoughts. Therefore, he decided to try and move away from painting realism. The Black Square was revealed in 1915 as the first example of Malevich’s new style of art, which he called Suprematism. As most Russian avant-garde artists of the early 20th century, he wrote several manifestos to give a philosophical basis for his art. In these, he argued that art should be a reflection of the abstract rather than the real.

The Black Square served as an origin for Suprematism and was the most extreme representation of it. The painting consists of two basic contrasting colors: black and white. A somewhat asymmetrical black quadrilateral (an imperfect square) resides in the center of the piece, with white canvas serving as the background. The idea of this piece was to completely break away from representational art and defy tradition through incredible simplicity.

You can imagine just how unique and unusual the piece looked (especially as a centerpiece of a major exhibition) back in 1910s, when most paintings were realistic. Today, of course, this piece doesn’t seem all that innovative, since Malevich’s style had a profound influence on the art of today.

Fortunately, computer games have not undergone this transformation yet, so we can still enjoy at least some realism in our lives.

http://www.kuro5hin.org/
http://www.corbis.com/
IRC: irc.efnet.net #art

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