The Phillips was so honored to have worked with Ellsworth in 2013 presenting an exhibition of panel paintings from 2004 through 2009. It was wonderful to have had the opportunity to hear his ideas, have his guidance, to share time with him and Jack in DC and in Spencertown. I was re-reading curator Vesela Sretenović’s interview with him for the exhibition catalogue. One phrase captures my attention especially:
Vesela Sretenović: In my first visit to your studio you said “ Freedom and democracy—that is what my work is about.” Can you elaborate on this passionate statement?
Ellsworth Kelly: I have always felt I wanted to create work that celebrates freedom and one’s own space.
He and his work embody a sheer joy in life.
The decision to give Kelly the medal was made before the artist’s death, said James Cuno, president and chief executive of the Getty Trust.