David Smith
Circle II

1962. Painted steel, 105 1/2 x 110 11/16 x 23 5/8 in. (268 x 281.1 x 60 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1977.60.2 © The Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, NY

Raw Color:

The Circles of David Smith

July 4–October 19, 2014
Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith, the first presentation to bring together all five of the central Circle sculptures since the National Gallery of Art’s David Smith exhibition more than thirty years ago, explores the crucial role that industrial color and its relationship to nature played in the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential and celebrated sculptors. Painted in hues contrary to those found in nature, Smith’s sculptures were constructed to stand in concert with the dramatic Adirondack landscape of the fields surrounding his home and studio in Bolton Landing, New York where he placed them.

The exhibition assembles nine sculptures and three paintings from, or related to, the artist’s Circle series (1962–63). Smith's boldly painted steel constructions will be on display both indoors and outdoors at the Tadao Ando-designed Stone Hill Center, resituating them against a Berkshires setting that is similar to (and less than one hundred miles away from) the Adirondack site where Smith created and installed them.

Described by art historian Rosalind Krauss as having made “the greatest body of work produced by any American sculptor,” David Smith (American, 1906–1965) is one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century and holds a singular place in the history of modern art. Though primarily regarded as a sculptor and frequently associated with Abstract Expressionism, the artist produced a diverse body of work that intentionally blurred media and rejected conventional boundaries between painting and sculpture. In addition to his signature work in stainless steel, Smith experimented with painting his sculptures in industrial, predominantly non-primary colors.

Raw Color is curated by David Breslin, associate director of the Research and Academic Program and associate curator of Contemporary Projects at the Clark. It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue published by the Clark and distributed by Yale University Press. The publication includes essays by the writer and critic Michael Brenson, sculptor Charles Ray, and Breslin, who is also editor of the catalogue. Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith has been published with support from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.