No. 219: Remembering Ellsworth Kelly

Episode No. 219 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast looks back at the life and career of Ellsworth Kelly with curators Diane Waldman and Toby Kamps, art historian Yve-Alain Bois and critic Roberta Smith.

Kelly enjoyed a remarkable seven-decades-spanning career that began shortly after World War II. He kept making work up until his death, on Dec. 27, 2015. Kelly’s first retrospective was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1973. Subsequent retrospectives include the Whitney Museum of American Art (sculpture only) in 1982, and the Guggenheim in 1996. Solo exhibitions of his work were at numerous museums, including the Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum, SFMOMA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more.

Joining host Tyler Green on this week’s program are:

  • Former Guggenheim curator Diane Waldman, who curated Kelly’s 1996 retrospective;
  • Institute for Advanced Study professor Yve Alain-Bois, who wrote an important essay about Kelly’s Paris work for the 1992 exhibition “Ellsworth Kelly: The Years in France, 1948-1954.” Bois is also the author of “Ellsworth Kelly: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Reliefs, and Sculpture: Vol. 1, 1940-1953 (Vol. 1).” Among the exhibitions Bois references is “Ellsworth Kelly, Tablet: 1949-1973” at The Drawing Center;
  • Menil Collection curator Toby Kamps, who organized the 2003 exhibition “Ellsworth Kelly: Red Green Blue” for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The show traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and to the Whitney; and
  • New York Times co-chief art critic Roberta Smith. Green and Smith discuss Smith’s review of the 1996 Guggenheim retrospective and her review of several 2013 shows, including a mini Kelly survey at Mnuchin Gallery, three shows of new work spread across several Matthew Marks Gallery locations, and an exhibition of Kelly’s 1971 ‘Chatham Series’ at MoMA.

Visit Wikipaintings to see many more Kellys.

Air date: January 14, 2016.

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Black Blue I, 1959

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Black Blue I, 1959.

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Blue Green, 1963

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Blue Green, 1963.

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red, 1964-65

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red, 1964-65.

Ellsworth Kelly, Green, Red, 1965

Ellsworth Kelly, Green, Red, 1965.

Ellsworth Kelly, Memorial (detail), 1993.

Ellsworth Kelly, Memorial (detail), 1993.

Ellsworth Kelly, Memorial (detail), 1993.

Ellsworth Kelly, Memorial (detail), 1993.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Forms with Red, 1956.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Forms with Red, 1956.

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Curves, 2009.

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Curves, 2009.

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