Paul Kasmin's Robert Motherwell Show Highlights the Artist's Influence on a Younger Generation
by M.H. Miller
Paul Kasmin, the Chelsea gallery that represents contemporary artists such as Walton Ford, Nir Hod, and James Nares, will open an extensive survey of Robert Motherwell’s works on paper on October 30. In addition, a show of young artists responding to Motherwell’s work has been organized by Kasmin and curator Alex Bacon at Middlemarch Gallery in Brussels.
“One of the things we wanted to focus on is contextualizing him in a contemporary sense,” said Eric Gleason, a director at Paul Kasmin. “Motherwell was at his most free working on paper. You can see all his developmental ideas there.”
The Kasmin show spans the years 1951 to 1991, the year of the artist’s death. Gleason and Bacon commissioned an “interactive catalogue” that features younger artists like Will Boone, Graham Collins, Dean Levin, and Ethan Cooke “making work in response to Motherwell’s artistic legacy,” Gleason said. The work from that catalogue will be on view at Middlemarch until December 6.
“I’ve always been interested in seeing the reaction of another generation to Motherwell’s work,” said Morgan Spangle, the executive director of the Dedalus Foundation, which was founded by the artist in 1981 to preserve his estate. “And to present the work in a gallery that has a younger audience, too.”
Spangle said Kasmin’s historical exhibitions—including a survey of work from the Iolas Gallery and a collection of Andy Warhol’s ballpoint pen drawings—made it “apparent that the gallery was as interested in the earlier generations that preceded Paul coming on the scene. It just made sense.”
Gleason wouldn’t comment on whether the gallery would be representing Motherwell’s estate going forward, but he said there will likely be two more satellite shows of younger artists responding to Motherwell at different venues in the coming months.
“Part of our mission is to expose his work to a new audience,” Spangle said. “We want to get his ideas out there. We want to keep his legacy alive.”