Lee Krasner’s Elegant Destructions


Lee Krasner, one of the most phenomenally gifted painters of the twentieth century, often would create through destruction. She had a habit of stripping previous works for materials—fractions of forgotten sketches, swaths of unused paper, scraps of canvas from her own paintings as well as those of her husband, Jackson Pollock—that she would then reconstitute as elements of her masterful, distinctive collages. A new show devoted to her endeavors in this mode, “Lee Krasner: Collage Paintings 1938–1981,” will be on view at Kasmin Gallery through April 24. A selection of images from the exhibition appears below.

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Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented…

untitled (Dada) by Hannah Höch
9.75″x13″; cut-and-pasted printed and colored paper on board; c. 1922. The Merrill C. Berman Collection. Acquired through the generosity of Alice and Tom Tisch, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, David Booth, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis, Jack Shear, the Patricia Bonfield Endowed Acquisition Fund for the Design Collection, Daniel and Jane Och, The Orentreich Family Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, The Modern Women’s Fund; and by exchange: Gift of Jean Dubuffet in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Colin, The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, and the Richard S. Zeisler Bequest.

at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York, USA
13 December 2020-10 April 2021

“Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented” presents the political engagement, fearless and groundbreaking visual experimentation, and utopian aspirations of artists in the early 20th century. The exhibition showcases the activities of historical avant-gardes, including galvanizing works of Dada, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Futurism, and Russian Constructivism, and highlights such figures as Aleksandr Rodchenko, Lyubov Popova, John Heartfield, and Hannah Höch. Drawn from the Museum’s holdings from this period, the exhibition marks a recent acquisition of more than 300 works from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, one of the most significant collections of early 20th-century works on paper in private hands. “Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented” is organized by Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, and Adrian Sudhalter, Consulting Curator, with Jane Cavalier, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA.

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3 Mixed-Media Artists Share the Secrets of Collage

“My Brother’s Keeper” by Tya Alisa Anthony. Courtesy of the MCA Denver

If you’re anything like me, you like to collect bright, shiny, evocative things like souvenirs from that vacation abroad (remember those?), nostalgic family photos, or scraps of cloth or patterned paper. And if you also live in a tiny apartment and want to avoid clutter, you might consider transforming those items into art—specifically, into a vibrant collage.

Colorado artists Tya Alisa Anthony, Mario Zoots, and Kelly Duffield are masters of that particular brand of art, and their polished creations grace the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, as well as numerous galleries and private collections. That’s why 5280 spoke with these three multimedia makers about their work, their processes, and what advice they’d give to someone who wants to try snipping and gluing their own creations.

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materialCollage with Jay Zerbe

This is an online video lesson course in using various materials to create physical collages. The basic tools used are scissors and staples. Jay uses his own materials (torn-up paintings on paper, bits of drawings, and pieces of his own printed material. He shows how he constructs his collages, and relates how he is making his aesthetic decisions.

Rachel Eulena Williams’s Threads of Abstraction

Rachel Eulena Williams, “Moon Marked” (2020), silkscreen on card, dye and acrylic paint on panel, canvas and cotton rope, 43 × 38 × 3 inches (courtesy the artist and Canada Gallery)

Over the past few years, Rachel Eulena Williams has honed a distinctive style of brightly colored, multi-dimensional abstract paintings. The artist reconfigures canvases that she removes from conventional supports, and collages a myriad of diverse materials onto them. While always interesting, recently the works have taken a decided turn for the better. The artist, who has been exhibiting since 2017, has developed a painting practice that eschews slick production. In her first solo show at Canada, she makes a case for the transgression of aesthetic conventions in abstraction, and the sociopolitical significance of such a transgression. 

The show is titled Tracing Memory. It signals Williams’s interest in painting as a medium capable of containing layered histories.

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The Power Of Love by Artist Pat Zalisko

The Power Of Love is a mixed media collage created in response to the posthumously published essay of Congressman John Lewis. In it, he reminds us that “democracy is not a state, but an act.” We are urged to “lay down the heavy burden of hate” and resort to love to foster good change in our society. While working, I was reminded of other icons from his generation, including Buddy Miles and Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics to Power Of Love and Lewis’ words played in my head as I create this collage.

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