Jasper Johns

1958. Oil and collage on canvas, 91.4 x 91.4 cm.Collection of the artist © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Make It New

Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950–1975

August 2–October 13, 2014

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Clark, Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950–1975 examines the different paths taken by abstract painting in the first quarter-century of the postwar period, cutting across geographies and narrow timeframes as it evocatively engages Tadao Ando’s architecture. The exhibition presents Abstract Expressionist and color field masterpieces alongside other canonical works organized by the formal categories of pattern, texture, and shape.

Featuring key works such as Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), Mark Rothko’s No. 1 (1961), and Lee Bontecou’s Untitled (1962), Make it New also includes paintings by Jean Dubuffet, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Ryman, and Cy Twombly. The exhibition traces how an array of artists in America and Europe responded to the challenges that Pollock’s mature style posed to prevailing notions of painting. Ranging from experiments with color and geometry to works in cloth, wax, and other materials, these works reveal how artists continued to expand the definition of painting during this time.

The installation in Ando’s expansive galleries makes it possible for visitors to see and consider multiple, contrasting works from a single vantage point, facilitating reflection on the unconventional arrangement of these works, and on the alternative narratives of postwar art.

The exhibition is curated by Harry Cooper, curator of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, and David Breslin, associate director of the Clark's Research and Academic Program and associate curator of Contemporary Projects.

Make It New is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the Clark and distributed by Yale University Press. The publication includes a major scholarly essay by exhibition curator Harry Cooper and entries by David Breslin and Matt Jolly, Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.