Robert Indiana: Rare works from 1959 at Coenties Slip
Exhibition dates: June 12 – September 20, 2011
Galerie Gmurzynska is pleased to announce an exhibition of important early works by Robert Indiana, all executed in 1959. This series of work on plywood, homasote and a single canvas was made within the legendary artistic neighborhood on Coenties Slip, that included Indiana’s close friends Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin. These pieces, exhibited at Galerie Gmurzynska for the first time as a unified group, represent the first acheived body of work Robert Indiana created as a mature artist.
In 1959 Indiana used the plywood and homasote walls from his studio to create this formally impressive, spiritually referential and incredibly beautiful series of gold and silver paintings. This initial groundbreaking use of lowly materials, plywood and homasote, would lead to the use of wooden beams in his famous series of assembled wood sculptures that began soon after completing this series. Robert Indiana notes that the paintings are “pre-word“, referencing how the artist would begin his iconic usage of text after finishing this formal body of work. Some of his earliest and best known pieces, including the Museum of Modern Art’s “First American Dream“, began as works from this group. Together the series illustrates clearly the talent that Indiana has possessed for over six decades, informing and forming the backbone of his iconic Pop-Art works.
Every surviving piece from this body of work will be included in this exhibition and will mark the first time that many of them have been exhibited outside of the artist’s studio. Robert Indiana (b.1928) has been an important figure in art history for the past five decades. Central to the emmergence of pop art in the early 1960s, he is included in every major post-war museum collection in the world.
This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue written by Joachim Pissarro, director of the Hunter College Galleries and former curator of paintings and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.