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Self-Portrait as a Building: In the Studio with Mark Manders

Recently I had the immense pleasure of visiting Mark Manders’s studio in Ronse, Belgium, to view his progress on the sculpture the Walker commissioned—his first major public artwork in the United States—for next June’s opening of the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It’s one of 16 new works (including five commissioned by the Walker) that will […]

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Fountain for Rokin Plein in Amsterdam, to be unveiled in 2017. All photos by Misa Jeffereis

Recently I had the immense pleasure of visiting Mark Manders’s studio in Ronse, Belgium, to view his progress on the sculpture the Walker commissioned—his first major public artwork in the United States—for next June’s opening of the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It’s one of 16 new works (including five commissioned by the Walker) that will animate the campus. The Walker’s history with Manders dates back to 2011 when we hosted a touring exhibition of his work, the first in North America.

My journey to meet the artist began with my renting a car in Brussels and entrusting GPS to guide me to the remote Flemish town of Ronse, where Manders lives and works. I approached a large red wooden gate, pressed a doorbell, and was greeted by the artist who led me into his home. I met his partner and his five-week-old baby boy, who was sleeping, and began to understand why Manders has chosen to live and work in this peaceful and idyllic environment. The town is situated outside of the fast-paced art world, where the artist has the resources and headspace to create massive sculptures that at once assert their monumentality, timelessness, and fragility.

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Large-scale bronze piece in the process of being painted to resemble its original clay state

Manders is known for creating surreal and hauntingly evocative sculptural installations that feature stoic figures reminiscent of ancient Rome and Greece. The artist uses deceptive materials for the works—first constructed from molded wet clay and wood, then cast in bronze—which are then painted to look indistinguishable from the original components. During our three-hour visit, I caught a rare glimpse of the artist’s thinking process and the meticulous steps that go into creating these uncanny bronze pieces.

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The artist led me through the various spaces of his labyrinthine studio, a former fabric-manufacturing factory, where the artist has lived for 11 years. Room after room, we moved through the various steps taken to create each sculpture, beginning in the artist’s library and drawing room where the brainstorming, research, and sketching takes place. The space was filled with models of his sculptures, maquettes of furniture, and drawings scattered about the floor, everything strewn haphazardly as if created hastily before moving on to the next idea. In fact, Manders’s entire studio was filled with objects that appeared ready to be deployed, containing a dynamism that reflected not only the artist’s boyish energy, but also the nature of the object’s tentative status: appearing cracked, overstuffed, fragile, discarded. Manders revealed that he thinks through his concepts over many years and keeps early drawings and models within his daily encounter in the event that he has time to realize one of his unexecuted project ideas. Each drawing is a visual reminder for Manders, and for me, a peek into the inner workings of his mind and the memories that occupy it.

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Drawings of ideas for future projects

This object evokes a mechanical device, circuit, or instrument. Manders cryptically explained that his sculptures are considered “good objects” if they can withstand the test of being on a bodega floor.

This object evokes a mechanical device, circuit, or instrument. Manders cryptically explained that his sculptures are considered “good objects” if they can withstand the test of being on a bodega floor.

For more than three decades, Manders has been developing an endless “self-portrait as a building” in the form of sculptures, still lifes, and architectural plans. The notion was inspired by his interest in writing and literature, however, realizing the greater potential of objects to convey meaning and narrative, the artist switched his focus from writing to object-making. He noted to me that books, autobiographies, and more generally, language move linearly—readers absorb one word after another, moving forward in one direction—whereas sculptures have no time or chronology associated with their consumption. There is much greater room for interpretation when proposing that an accumulation of sculptures makes up the artist’s self-portrait.

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In a drawing from the early 2000s, a floor plan articulated a building with various rooms containing objects—all of which have been produced. The artist explained that the “rooms” of his “self-portrait” continuously change, morph, and grow, and that the persona of “Mark Manders” (who is very much like, but not actually, the artist) shifts in relation to these rooms. In this excerpt from The Absence of Mark Manders (1994), he writes about his persona as a building: “Mark Manders has inhabited his self-portrait since 1986. This building can expand or shrink at any moment. In this building all words created by mankind are on hand. The building arises, like words, out of interaction with life and things. The thoughts that surround him in his building are, materialized or not, always important and never gratuitous.” As Manders toured me through his one-story studio complex, his floor plan, I realized that we were sequentially moving through the artist’s self in the form of this very building. Each room and all of the objects within it are Mark Manders.

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The artist has long produced his own newspapers, using every word from the Oxford dictionary randomly inserted into typical newspaper columns and illustrated by photographs of indistinct objects on his studio floor. The newspapers do not present current events, but rather live outside of time or place, just as the rest of his work resists stable positioning.

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The newspapers are deployed as papier-mâché stand-ins for other materials, but also appear in his finalized sculptures.

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What became clear to me is that Manders builds every aspect of his sculptures, including furniture. The artist’s father was a furniture maker and taught him some of the craft, although Manders insists that he is primarily self-taught and has acquired many woodworking skills over time. For the Walker’s commission, Manders is producing three large-scale figurative sculptures, and a comparatively intimate, life-sized cast bronze chair. When he indicated to me the low-seated chair that was cast for the Garden, I was surprised to learn that it was not sourced at a vintage store, but rather had been built by the artist. He explained that when he began making art in 1986, the furniture in his immediate surroundings was built in the 1970s and ’80s, and he has been consistently drawn to this vintage style. The combination of classical style figures and mid-century modern furniture again denies us a clear resting point in time.

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For this Walker-commissioned sculpture, Manders produced vinyl images of the full size sculpture in order to determine its height. The artist decided on the far right image for the sculpture’s final height.

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Manders kept the molds from the Walker’s totemic-like sculpture in order to produce multiple editions in the future. We examined the surface of the liquid silicone mold that captures incredible detail from the original model.

After touring what must have been about ten different rooms within his massive studio complex, Manders drove me to the foundry where his sculptures are being produced: Art Casting in Oudenaarde, Belgium. (The internationally renowned foundry—just 20 minutes away by car—works with high-profile artists from around the world, and for this reason it insists on confidentiality with a no-photography policy.) Manders excitedly toured me through the facility, explaining that the lost-wax method employed there has been used since ca. 4500–3500 BCE. Art Casting has perfected the craft, with 50 to 60 employees who specialize in the various aspects of this technique. They also use the most receptive combination of liquid silicone and a catalyst that is able to produce a perfect negative of the original model—so detailed that it can capture fingerprints—and also imports the highest quality bronze from the US. It was a fascinating place.

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Finally, I learned the ultimate stage in Manders’s process, and one of the most mystifying: the application of paint. We visited his second studio where three assistants were painting two large bronze sculptures. In order to access all sides of the massive sculptures, the team uses heavy-duty lifts to suspend the 1.5-ton sculptures in air. The painting process takes about two weeks and includes seven layers of paint. During one step the assistant actually removes paint to give the appearance that the sculpture is worn and, in another, uses a dry brush technique to gently graze the uneven surface so that pigment is only applied to the raised parts of the piece. After an exhaustive journey to their final bronze state, the sculptures return to their original models’ clay-like, fragile appearance—however, now, ready to endure the test of time.

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Walkaround Time: Photography of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection

  When the stage lights go up in Walkaround Time (1968) the nine dancers are frozen, almost in mid-step as if they had been moving before the performance began. There’s something frozenly mechanical about this opening tableau, the cogs and gears of Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass imagery (on which Jasper Johns’ décor was based) […]

James Klosty, Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Walkaround Time, 1968. Collection of the Walker Art Center. © James Klosty

 

When the stage lights go up in Walkaround Time (1968) the nine dancers are frozen, almost in mid-step as if they had been moving before the performance began. There’s something frozenly mechanical about this opening tableau, the cogs and gears of Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass imagery (on which Jasper Johns’ décor was based) has, as the dancers themselves, momentarily ground to a halt. This is the moment photographer James Klosty captured in his 1968 photograph of the dance, a print of which is in the Walker’s Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection.
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Konnichiwa

I have just returned from a Merce Cunningham-related research journey to Japan, where I visited the Sogetsu Art Center’s archives at Keio University in Tokyo and the Kyoto Costume Institute, among many other places.  This work has been generously supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, which has also kept me working on the Walker’s Cunningham acquisition […]

I have just returned from a Merce Cunningham-related research journey to Japan, where I visited the Sogetsu Art Center’s archives at Keio University in Tokyo and the Kyoto Costume Institute, among many other places.  This work has been generously supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, which has also kept me working on the Walker’s Cunningham acquisition for the past year and a half.  While I reacquaint with this time zone and prepare a more thorough reflection, enjoy these images:

Tokyo Commute

Tokyo commuters in a relaxed mode. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Tokyo Hamburger

Plastic window burger and fries. Tasty. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Prada Store

Prada store in Ginza, designed by Herzog and de Meuron. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Kanazawa Museum

Museum of the 21st Century in Kanazawa. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Touch screen vending machine in Tokyo subway. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Touch-screen vending machine in Tokyo subway. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Shrine atop the Dover Street Market in Tokyo. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Eleganza in Ginza. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Eleganza in Ginza. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Garden in Meiji Shrine, Kyoto. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Garden in Meiji Shrine, Kyoto. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

Online Screening: Kim Beom’s Yellow Scream (2012)

After discussing his assembled materials–a primed canvas, oil paint mixed with turpentine, a size-3 flat hog-bristle brush–the video’s instructor begins: “The technique to this painting is to incorporate the sound of screams into the brush strokes.” Dressed in a pressed gray dress shirt and pleated pants, he explains to the camera, “A brush stroke done […]

Still from Kim Beom’s Yellow Scream (2012)

After discussing his assembled materials–a primed canvas, oil paint mixed with turpentine, a size-3 flat hog-bristle brush–the video’s instructor begins: “The technique to this painting is to incorporate the sound of screams into the brush strokes.” Dressed in a pressed gray dress shirt and pleated pants, he explains to the camera, “A brush stroke done with screaming is very different from a normal one. … The effect of the screams is recorded with the brush strokes.” He then dips his brush in a dab of lemon yellow paint, leans into the canvas, and lets out an anguished wail as he makes his first stroke: “Aaaaaaaaagh!”

Characteristic of the Seoul-based artist Kim Beom’s humor, the 31-minute video Yellow Scream (2012)–recently acquired by the Walker Art Center and shown for a limited time in its entirety on the Walker Channel–takes its inspiration from instructional television programs. The piece, the artist states, “is like the typical painting lessons of Bob Ross. What I was feeling in the theme of this video is the existential nature of contemporary art (and culture) as well as of artists. There are dynamics of many elements such as absurdity, the bizarre, intelligence, form, seriousness, and creativity.”

In that vein, the instructor, played by an actor, gives a deadpan course on technique, from priming canvases to color theory, while occasionally advising about the Zen-like quality of painting, from visualizing a balanced composition to controlling breath: “Now relax and try to feel your breathing, because screaming is part of breathing.” He then demonstrates his method, treating different types of utterances as if they’re artistic media or hues of paint. His brush strokes are variously accompanied by “a long scream that sounds like when you’re hurt, as if someone yanked your arm behind you or pulled you by the hair”; “a scream induced by psychological pain”; and “a more pained, wronged, and regretful scream.” Nearing the painting’s completion, he advises, “Let’s mix a bit of permanent green and add some refreshing hope and pleasure to the screams of joy.” The final work, he says, achieves a symphonic melding of color and emotion–a “clear, resonating chorus” of yellow.

Yellow Scream premiered at the Gwangju Biennale this fall and screened exclusively on the Walker Channel only from December 6–18, 2012. It will be presented on-site at the Walker in early 2013.

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The Sculpture is Never Finished: An Interview with Vincent Fecteau

  It’s unlikely that Vincent Fecteau’s Untitled (2010) sculpture is seen the same way twice. It hangs on a peg in the gallery’s wall so that the two-sided work can be shown as occasionally reversed and rotated. With each adjustment to its display, the viewer’s discovery of the object is slightly different, exposed to new […]

 

Vincent Fecteau. Untitled, 2010, Walker Art Center

It’s unlikely that Vincent Fecteau’s Untitled (2010) sculpture is seen the same way twice. It hangs on a peg in the gallery’s wall so that the two-sided work can be shown as occasionally reversed and rotated. With each adjustment to its display, the viewer’s discovery of the object is slightly different, exposed to new aspects of its variegated surface, imperfect acrylic paint layers of uneasy hues, traces of papier mâché infrastructure, and range of casted shadows on the flat wall behind it. While Fecteau worked on this series of what he’s referred to as “360-degree sculptures,” each awkward wall-mounted shape consisted of an arduous exercise in not only confronting the limitations of sculpture but also in determining the state of completion for these challenging and indefinitive works.

In a recent interview, Fecteau discusses his sculptural practice. He talks about the development of his work in the Walker’s collection, what he’s working on now (an exhibition of his newest pieces just opened at Galerie Buchholz in Berlin), and the exciting impossibility of making art.

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From the Archives: Jud Nelson’s Hefty 2-Ply

On view through May 27 as a part of Lifelike, the 1,500-pound Hefty 2-Ply made quite a splash when it first landed at the Walker in 1981.  The Walker commissioned Jud Nelson in 1979 to make a piece for its permanent collection; it took nearly two years to carve it from marble. Known for his depictions of everyday […]

On view through May 27 as a part of Lifelike, the 1,500-pound Hefty 2-Ply made quite a splash when it first landed at the Walker in 1981. 

"Hefty 2-Ply" on view as part of "Lifelike" (with Rudolph Stingel’s oil painting "Untitled (after Sam)," from 2006.

The Walker commissioned Jud Nelson in 1979 to make a piece for its permanent collection; it took nearly two years to carve it from marble. Known for his depictions of everyday items — Shirts IV: Van Heusen and Chair are also part of the Walker collection — the artist opted to make a garbage bag bursting with familiar throwaways from the latter half of the 20th century.

Nelson at work on "Hefty 2-ply" in his New York Studio, 1980.

He started by roughing out its form from Italian Carrera marble, using a hammer and chisel, then refined the piece with rotary grinders and finished the details with dental drills fitted with diamond bits. Several items, including products from Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Kitty Klean, date the sculpture to a distinct period and are all identifiable — by the artist, at least — within its bulges and wrinkles.

The artist installing his work in July, 1981.

Nelson, an alumnus of Bethel College and the University of Minnesota, was on hand to install Hefty 2-Ply in Gallery 7 (now the Medtronic Gallery), and the sculpture was unveiled in a special ceremony as part of the Walker’s 10th  anniversary celebration of its Barnes building on July 12, 1981.

Cartoon from the "Minneapolis Star," July 16, 1981

More than 12,000 people showed up for the festivities — some 8,000 more than were anticipated — and Hefty 2-Ply‘s debut stirred up further press and interest, such as this cartoon from the Minneapolis Star.

At the Walker's 10th anniversary celebration

As with so many of the painstaking replicas in Lifelike, the realism of Hefty 2-Ply has a special kind of allure. And while it’s tempting to touch – alas, the the usual museum rules apply to this favorite Walker artwork. 

 

 

International Women’s Day: Leading Ladies in the Walker’s Collection

With registrar Joe King and registration technician Evan Reiter we took a trip to art storage to see the first 5 works by women to enter the Walker’s collection.                     June Corwine Still Life (1945) Oil on canvas Accessioned May, 1946           […]

With registrar Joe King and registration technician Evan Reiter we took a trip to art storage to see the first 5 works by women to enter the Walker’s collection.

"Still Life" (1945) by June Corwine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June Corwine
Still Life (1945)
Oil on canvas
Accessioned May, 1946


Joe King, the Walker's Registrar, with "Rose Planes" (1945) by Irene Rice Pereira.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irene Rice Pereira
Rose Planes (1945)
Oil on parchment
Accessioned September, 1946


Evan Reiter, the Walker's Registration Technician, with "Rocking Chair Gossips" (1945) by Clara Mairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clara Mairs
Rocking Chair Gossips (1945)
Oil on composition board
Accessioned December, 1947


"The Door" (1947) by Evelyn Raymond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evelyn Raymond
The Door (1947)
Mahogany
February, 1948

 

"Der Tod im Wasser" (20th century) by Käthe Kollwitz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Käthe Kollwitz
Der Tod im Wasser (Death from Drowning) (20th century)
lithograph on paper
Accessioned December, 1949

Documenting the Drops: Part 1

This past week, the McGuire Theater has been occupied with the unpacking, photographing, and re-rolling of many of the Cunningham backdrops.  The drops came to the Walker folded down and packed in portable touring -friendly hampers and bags (imagine a large sleeping bag in a small scrunch sack).  But now that they are here to stay, they are being rolled […]

This past week, the McGuire Theater has been occupied with the unpacking, photographing, and re-rolling of many of the Cunningham backdrops.  The drops came to the Walker folded down and packed in portable touring -friendly hampers and bags (imagine a large sleeping bag in a small scrunch sack).  But now that they are here to stay, they are being rolled flat on long cardboard cylinders, to eliminate creases and stabilize their condition. Although we have already hung several of the drops in theater in preparation for the exhibition Dance Works I: Merce Cunningham / Robert Rauschenberg, this is the first time that any of the drops are being formally photographed by the Walker’s photographers Gene Pittman and Cameron Wittig. 

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Production Director Davison Scandrett has also been on site, documenting some of the drops and other set pieces for the company’s dance capsules.  The Merce Cunningham Trust’s dance capsules will facilitate the licensing and recreation of some of Merce Cunningham’s existing dances, so that even though the company has disbanded, educational institutions and other dance companies can still present Merce’s work. 

The artists represented in this first batch of backdrop photos include Jasper JohnsAfrika, and Marsha Skinner.  The photographers also documented drops by William Anastasi and Robert Rauschenberg, which will be featured in another upcoming post.  

MCDC Production Director Davison Scandrett pulling the Exchange (1978) drop out of the bag. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

The unfurling of the Exchange drop, designed by Jasper Johns. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

Davison with WAC Registrar Joe King, in front of the Exchange drop. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

The backdrop for August Pace (1989), designed by Afrika (Sergei Bugaev). Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

The August Pace drop coming down. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

Backdrop for Change of Address (1992), designed by Marsha Skinner. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

Joe King helping the WAC photographers set up their shots. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

 

Travelogue: Paris

Several weeks ago I went to Paris for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final repertory performances at the Théâtre de la Ville. My mission was to do recorded interviews with the many Cunningham affiliates who were in town for the company’s last European shows.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Théâtre de la Ville; December 2011. Photo: Abigail Sebaly.

Several weeks ago I went to Paris for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final repertory performances at the Théâtre de la Ville. My mission was to do recorded interviews with the many Cunningham affiliates who were in town for the company’s last European shows. The Mellon Foundation grant that supported both the Walker’s Cunningham Acquisition and my fellowship position also includes funds for this type of primary research, so, with a Walker portable recorder and collapsible light reflector in my suitcase, off I went.

The Cunningham company has been traveling to Paris since the early 1960s, largely because of the work of advocates such as Bénédicte Pesle, who has been the company’s champion and European booking agent since its early beginnings. In the early days, when French audiences were still resistant to Merce’s work, Bénédicte encouraged Merce to dodge the naysayers’ eggs and tomatoes and plow ahead to the next engagements. Now Cunningham has super-fandom in France, and it is always fun to watch the cult status take over.  The shows usually sell out in a blink, and there are always scalpers and hopefuls waiting outside the theater. The audiences for these two weeks of performances were particularly keyed up. One woman wore an eccentric 3-foot-tall hat, a la Cat in the Hat, which she refused to take off even after the show started. A frustrated audience member took one for the team and shouted “CHAPEAU!” after which she finally got the message. The French audiences also have a unique way of clapping in synch to show their appreciation at the end of each performance. The applause organically goes from chaos to order in an unspoken shift, and it gives me goosebumps every time.

Théâtre de la Ville at night. Photo by Abigail Sebaly

The company presented two repertory programs. In RainForest (1964), which was also presented in November here at the Walker’s McGuire Theater, all of Andy Warhol’s unattached Silver Clouds floated off into the musicians’ pit and the audience.  For the rest of the dance, you could hear them being quietly batted around like beach balls at a football game. Composer Gavin Bryars was in town to perform his composition for the dance BIPED (1999) live with the other company musicians. I got excited about delving into the Mark Lancaster costumes in the Walker’s Cunningham Collection after seeing Quartet (1982) and Duets (1980), two pieces that the company recently revived (Lancaster helped provide design updates for these revivals).

One interview set-up at the Théâtre de la Ville. Photo: Abigail Sebaly

With the videographic help of former Cunningham dancer Daniel Squire, who was already in town for the performances, I did seven filmed interviews and an additional four audio interviews for the Walker’s archive. We taped everything in a Phantom of the Opera-esque rehearsal room on the top floor of the theater, as well as in an ornate lounge on one of the lower floors. With the street din of Paris—lots of motor bike humming and gendarme sirens—providing a sound wallpaper, interviewees recounted these extraordinary stories about their connections with the Cunningham company. Carolyn Brown, a founding dancer with Merce, spoke of Robert Rauschenberg and other downtown New Yorkers transporting their paintings in her husband’s (composer Earle Brown) station wagon in the 1950s, and of the 1964 world tour when the company’s popularity skyrocketed in London, and the dancers subsisted on yogurt. Christian Wolff, composer, scholar and a Cunningham company musician,  recounted stories of being a young student of John Cage’s and sharing a copy of the I Ching with him (from an edition published by Pantheon Books, headed by Wolff’s parents). How might the course of Cage’s compositional path been changed if he hadn’t met this teenaged music student? And vice versa? After speaking to composers, collaborators and former dancers, I was struck by the recurring theme of luck.  Sure, hard work and discipline were common denominators among everyone, but so was serendipity.

The Pompidou has it's own Calder mobile out front, too. Photo by Abigail Sebaly.

In addition to the Cunningham interviews and shows, I was also able to check out the exhibition, Danser sa vie, at the Centre Pompidou, and to speak with Emma Lavigne, one of its curators. In an impressive 10,000 square-foot space, the show explores the intersections between dance the visual arts. One feature that I particularly enjoyed was seeing dance works on film projected in larger than life scale on the gallery walls. The Pompidou also had a Yayoi Kusama retrospective going on. While it was fascinating to see the breadth of her work, it’s definitely a safety hazard to enter her Infinity Mirror Room while jetlagged! Whoa.

As I mentioned, the Cunningham company has been traveling to Paris for many years, accumulating many stories, friends, and memories. One of my favorite tales is when Robert Swinston, dancer and Director of Choreography, left a roasting chicken unattended in his hotel kitchenette and the whole hotel had to be evacuated because of the smoking chicken. Upon being evacuated, Merce apparently asked gravely “Was it one of us?”

Mondrian knitwear for the whole family. Photo by Abigail Sebaly.

Berthillon ice cream flavors. Photo by Abigail Sebaly.

New to the Collection: Carmen Herrera

Born in Cuba in 1915, Carmen Herrera charted her own alternative modernism while working in virtual obscurity for some seven decades. While living in New York in the 1950s, where the male-dominated Abstract Expressionist movement held sway, she made reductive, hard-edged abstractions that predate the work of artists such as Lygia Clark in Brazil and […]

Born in Cuba in 1915, Carmen Herrera charted her own alternative modernism while working in virtual obscurity for some seven decades. While living in New York in the 1950s, where the male-dominated Abstract Expressionist movement held sway, she made reductive, hard-edged abstractions that predate the work of artists such as Lygia Clark in Brazil and Ellsworth Kelly in the U.S. There’s a particularly striking affinity between Herrera’s work and Kelly’s; notably, the two spent the same years in Paris, from 1948 to 1953, and the Walker’s extensive holdings of Kelly’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper offer up potential for more dialogue between these artists. Her work also proved prescient as Minimalism and Op Art took hold in the 1960s, and with later minimalist developments in the work of American painters such as Brice Marden and Agnes Martin, both of whom are represented in the collection.

It wasn’t until 2004, at the age of 89, that Herrera sold her first painting; like many women artists of her generation, her work was overlooked despite her friendships and associations with prominent male artists like Barnett Newman. Now, however, the artist and her work are now receiving much-deserved attention as critics and curators investigate overlooked strands of 20th-century art in and beyond the U.S. Herrera’s paintings have entered the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Tate Modern; the Walker’s acquisition is special in that it includes a free-standing sculpture—the only work of its kind by Herrera—as well as three gouche-on-paper works: the blue one, a study for the sculpture, and the red and green studies below.

RELATED LINKS

 

 

Herrera 2010.53.1-2

 

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