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Joan Mitchell

Abstract Expressionism (group show)
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
3 February - 4 June 2017

In the “age of anxiety” surrounding the Second World War and the years of free jazz and Beat poetry, artists like Pollock, Rothko, and de Kooning broke from accepted conventions to unleash a new confidence in painting. Abstract Expressionism was born from the common experience of artists living in 1940s New York, although they were friends and colleagues, each of them had their own unique style. Unlike what came before with Cubism and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism did not appear to follow a set formula. This diversity is a celebration of the individual artists’ freedom to express themselves.

Abstract Expressionism meant a watershed moment in the evolution of 20th-century art, yet, remarkably, there has been no major survey in Europe of the movement since 1959. With over 130 paintings, sculptures, and photographs from public and private collections across the world, this ambitious exhibition encompasses masterpieces by the most acclaimed American artists associated with the movement–among them, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Phillip Guston, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, David Smith, and Clyfford Still, as well as lesser-known but no less vital artists.

The selection aims to re-evaluate Abstract Expressionism, recognizing that though the subject is often perceived to be unified, in reality it was a highly complex, fluid, and many-sided phenomenon. Likewise, it revises the notion of Abstract Expressionism as based solely in New York City by addressing such figures on the West Coast as Sam Francis, Mark Tobey and Minor White.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


Additional:

Joan Mitchell

Mitchell / Riopelle. Nothing in Moderation (group show)
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec City
12 October 2017 - 7 January 2018

This exhibition, which was unthinkable in the artists’ lifetimes, assembles nearly 60 works from public and private international collections. It is a major premiere and an outstanding opportunity to celebrate painting’s strength and magnificence.

The summer of 1955 witnessed the memorable encounter between two key figures of abstract painting in the second half of the 20th century: Joan Mitchell (Chicago, 1925 – Paris, 1992) and Jean-Paul Riopelle (Montréal, 1923 – L’Isle-aux-Grues, 2002). Joan Mitchell was a rising star in the abstract expressionist movement in New York. Jean-Paul Riopelle had achieved fame both in Europe and North America as a major practitioner of abstract art. An initially intense and increasingly tumultuous romantic relationship ensued for nearly 25 years (1955-1979). Following the example of several famous artist couples, Mitchell and Riopelle reflect the complexity of such a close emotional bond between two artists with distinct personalities and confirmed temperaments.

Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec City