ArtBeat: Tidbits for 2016 [Get Visual]

January 11th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara
Ellsworth Kelly in his studio in 2012 (photo stolen from the New York Times)

Ellsworth Kelly in his studio in 2012 (photo stolen from The New York Times)

By David Brickman

As 2016 yawns and stretches into existence, a few items on the local art scene have caught my attention:

  1. The recent death at age 92 of Ellsworth Kelly. Almost universally regarded as a giant of 20th-century art, Kelly lived and worked in our region (Spencertown, Columbia County) for a great many years. I recall one encounter with the man, about 1984, when he stopped in to peruse my modest gallery on Washington Avenue in Albany. We knew he was a client of the hairstylist upstairs, but had never seen him. So, one day a middle-aged gentleman came in from the stairway area and looked around with what seemed to be a very practiced eye. I tried to engage him in conversation – no luck. Then I asked if we could place him on our mailing list (we did that with all visitors), but he demurred. When I more or less forced an introduction, he only gave one name: Kelly. I do recall that he did not seem impressed by what he saw, but neither did he seem disgusted. Personally, I love his work for its purity of form and color, and for its spirit of adventure. I also like the fact that Kelly was a supporter of local ventures, donating a print or two to be sold at Albany Institute fundraisers and employing local artists as assistants. He will be missed.
  2. Jack Shear photography collection donated to the Tang Teaching Museum. Shear was Ellsworth Kelly’s longtime partner, and on Saturday, February 6 the Tang will open an exhibition selected from 500 significant and historical photographs he recently donated. It’s a very truncated who’s-who of 20th-century photography (with a notably gay-centric twist) that is sure to draw a lot of viewers and perhaps a snippet of controversy. Remember when the political right wing went nuts because the NEA had supported an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe pictures in Philadelphia? This show will definitely make it clear we’re over that.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual

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