On Thursday, October 9, Gagosian Gallery held a special event to fete the catalogue for their current exhibition of abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, titled “Composing with Color, Paintings 1962–1963.” In their ground-floor Gagosian Shop uptown, the gallery hosted a presentation and book-signing by Elizabeth Smith, executive director of the newly established Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, who also penned the catalogue’s introductory essay.
“What this book focuses on is a period in her work that hasn’t really been looked at deeply yet,” Smith told ARTINFO. Though Frankenthaler was only in her mid-thirties during the two years in question, Smith explained, she had already been painting for a decade — her most famous work debuted in 1952, and she had a survey at the Jewish Museum in 1960. “She had a body of work behind her, and she had a lot of exposure, but it was a time when she was looking to make a change in her painting practice,” Smith said, citing also the seismic shifts in the art world at the time, including the introduction of pop and neo-Dada. For Frankenthaler, this meant transitioning from line-based compositions to brighter, bolder color-based compositions — what would go on to become her signature in the years to come.
“There hasn’t been a lot of conversation about her work in the past decade or two — it’s fallen off the radar a bit,” Smith said. “I think it’s a really important time to look at her work with fresh eyes.”
“Composing with Color, Paintings 1962–1963” will be on view at Gagosian Gallery through October 18. The catalogue is available for purchase at the Gagosian Shop for $60.
— Anneliese Cooper (@DawnDavenport)
(Photo: Anneliese Cooper)