Paul Klee builds himself a little house of art in a realm somewhere between childhood’s innocence and everyman’s prospect of infinity… [He] believes that art is nothing if it is not personal expression–that love must come back to its vacant dwelling. –Duncan Phillips, 1942
Ben Shahn‘s painting Still Music (1948) was created after he produced a series of drawings on commission for CBS radio network brochures in 1948. Shahn also printed a nearly identical serigraph (or screen print) called Silent Music in 1950. Discussing his thoughts on working in both fine art and commercial art, Shahn said in a 1965 television interview, “I never let out a thing until I’d be as happy with it hanging in a museum or reproduced in a daily newspaper. I don’t care where.”
Today is Ellsworth Kelly’s 90th birthday! In just three weeks, we open Ellsworth Kelly: Panel Paintings: 2004-2009, joining a host of sister institutions in celebrating the milestone birthday year of this acclaimed artist. Early this month, Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation opened Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall. Just last week MoMA put on view the artist’s Chatham Series, reunited for the first time since 1972. A few days later a retrospective of Kelly’s prints opened at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Here in town the National Gallery of Art is showing a series of luminous handmade paper images that the artist made in 1977. Happy birthday Mr. Kelly!