December 10, 2018

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Sean Scully’s Venice Biennale “Landline” Paintings

Sean Scully’s Venice Biennale “Landline” Paintings

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present the museum premiere of Sean Scully‘s (b. 1945) acclaimed “Landline” series Sept. 13-Jan. 6, 2019. One of the major highlights of the 56th Venice Biennale, the abstract paintings represent a dramatic and seminal shift in the work of one of today’s most important abstract artists, and the exhibition marks the first chance for audiences to experience the full range of Scully’s latest evolution, including nearly two dozen works never before seen by the public. Following its Hirshhorn debut, “Landline” will travel to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, in spring 2019.

Sean Scully: Landline” traces the series’ expression through a variety of media, with nearly 40 oil paintings, pastels, watercolors and photographs (1999-2017), and layered aluminum Stacksculptures, iconic forms that reflect in three dimensions the horizontal movement of his paintings. Vibrating with urgency and beauty, together these works form a continuous current of color that will pulsate through the Hirshhorn’s circular second-floor gallery.

“Landline” debuts more than 20 years after the Hirshhorn opened Scully’s first mid-career retrospective in 1995, a pivotal exhibition that illuminated Scully’s own artistic transformation and cemented his status at the center of contemporary abstract painting.

Sean Scully continues to be one of the most influential painters working today,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “At the Hirshhorn, we are dedicated to examining and presenting the many different stages of an artist’s career, and in Sean’s case, we are honored to have the opportunity to build upon the narrative of his 1995 survey exhibition. Throughout the course of his career, Sean has revolutionized abstract painting, and we look forward to showcasing this full scope of this important body of work for the first time.”

Top Image: ‘Sean Scully: Land Sea’ at the Palazzo Falier, Venice, 2015. Photo by Claudio Abate.

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