Barnes brings Kelly's 'wall' piece back to visit
PHILADELPHIA — The Barnes Foundation is celebrating the first year in its new home by mounting its first solo artist exhibition: a group of five large wall sculptures by celebrated American artist Ellsworth Kelly.
The Barnes' first contemporary art exhibition in 90 years and one of more than a dozen exhibits worldwide celebrating Kelly's 90th birthday, it marks a homecoming of sorts for one of Kelly's earliest and most important works: “Sculpture for a Large Wall,” which was commissioned for a downtown Philadelphia building and displayed for four decades after its 1957 installation.
The 65-foot-long sculpture of 104 anodized aluminum panels was removed during renovations and sold, much to the dismay of the local arts community. It was purchased in 1998 by cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder and donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which has loaned the piece to the Barnes for the show. “Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall” will be on view from Saturday until Sept. 2.
Kelly said he is pleased that “Sculpture for a Large Wall” still looks fresh, more than 50 years after it was made.
“You don't have to ask what it means, you don't have to ask what it's for. It just looks right, and I think it glistens,” he said. “I'm surprised how new it looks.”
He said the work, comprised of four rows of syncopated panels in varying forms and colors, was inspired by his time in Paris.
“I was always struck by the lights on the bridges reflecting in the Seine,” he said.
The sculpture was meant to be viewed at eye level, but was installed above a bank of elevators; so from the start, “it didn't work with the architecture very well,” Kelly said.
He believed the work wasn't treated with due care while the building was shuttered and awaiting a new tenant — it became a law firm's headquarters several years after Conrail left in 1993 — and he noted that a group of brass screens he made for the same building vanished in the 1960s.
“I'm sorry that it had to be taken away from Philadelphia, but the building had changed,” he said.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Republican legislator estimates selling state liquor system could net $1B
- Poconos-area man who helped subdue gunman among Carnegie Heroes
- 1 dead in New Castle house fire deemed suspicious
- Philadelphia police commissioner urges caution after shootings of officers
- Pennsylvania Marine who killed family takes own life
- Reading deals with ‘ugly’ tree saga
- Licensing boards increase fees to cover costs that include investigations
- Greene County woman, 65, killed when crane truck hits SUV
- LCB ruling could mean home-delivered beer in Pa.
- Secret Santa saves the day for York County senior center residents
- PSU employee kicks cancer, picks up degree