On the occasion of its 10th Anniversary, The FLAG Art Foundation presents Ellsworth Kelly curated by Jack Shear, Executive Director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. The works in the exhibition focus on Kelly’s mastery in black and white, and include rarely-seen drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures, which span the career of one of the most important figures in American postwar art.
Ellsworth Kelly was born in Newburgh, New York in 1923 and died in Spencertown, New York in 2015. Following two years of studies at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Kelly served in the Army during World War II from 1943 to 1945, and then resumed his education at the Boston Museum School. He returned to Paris in 1948 under the G.I. Bill and enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts where he lived and studied for six years.
Kelly’s first one-man exhibition was at the Galerie Arnaud in Paris in 1951. His retrospective exhibitions include Ellsworth Kelly at the Museum of Modern Art in 1973; Ellsworth Kelly Recent Paintings and Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1979; Ellsworth Kelly Sculpture in 1982 at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Saint Louis Art Museum; and Ellsworth Kelly: A Retrospective in 1996 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Tate, London and the Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Kelly’s final work is Austin, a 2,715-square-foot building he designed with three colored glass wall installations, an 18-foot redwood totem, and a series of black-and-white marble wall panels. Originally inspired by Romanesque and Byzantine architecture encountered while traveling in France, his idea for the building was conceived in 1986. Commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, Austin will be inaugurated into the Blanton Museum of Art’s permanent collection in February 2018. Form Into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a solo exhibition of related works and studies at the Blanton Museum of Art, will be held in conjunction with the inauguration of Austin.
Kelly has received honorary doctoral degrees from Pratt Institute, Bard College, Harvard University, Williams College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brandeis University, and the Royal College of Art, London. Among numerous awards received are Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Award in 2000, Officier de la Legion d’Honneur presented by President of France Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009, and the National Medal of Arts presented by President of the United States Barack Obama in 2012.
Jack Shear (b. 1953) is a photographer living and working in Spencertown, NY. His work emphasizes portraiture and nudes and is represented in permanent collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Exhibitions include solo shows at Yale University School of Art, and Le Musée Territorial de St Barthelme.
Curatorial projects include Drawn from Artists’ Collections at the Drawing Center, New York, NY co-curated with Ann Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum; Twice Drawn at the Tang Teaching Museum, co-curated with Director Ian Berry, and Back, a re-installation of the 19thC sculpture collection at the Albany Institute for History and Art.
An exhibition Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Collection at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College featured works from a major gift of over 500 art historical photographs. A book of the same title was published in 2018 by Tang Skidmore, Delmonico, and Prestel.
Shear serves on the Prints & Drawings Committee at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He is a board member for the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies and the World Monuments Fund. He is also the Executive Director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)