Ellsworth Kelly: The Chatham Series - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 W. 53rd St. - 212-708-9400
New York, NY 10103
Description: In celebration of Ellsworth Kelly's 90th birthday in May 2013, The Museum of Modern Art presents an exhibition of the first series of paintings the artist made after leaving New York City for Spencertown, in upstate New York, in 1970. His studio in the nearby town of Chatham was an abandoned theater, and it was more spacious than any the artist had previously occupied. The 14 paintings in the Chatham series, all produced during the year following Kelly's arrival, rely on a single formal concept: each ell-shaped work is made of two joined canvases of pure monochrome color. The works vary in color and proportion from one to the next; careful attention was paid to the size of each panel and the color selected in order to achieve balance and contrast between the two. Kelly developed the concept of painting on joined panels while working in Paris in the early 1950s, and it is an approach he continues to explore in his current work. The series has not been exhibited in its entirety since it was presented at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, in 1972, just a year after the paintings were finished. Reuniting this critical series provides a welcome opportunity to investigate a key moment in Kelly's artistic development.