A solo retrospective of the American pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. On display until January 2021
On view at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao until January 10, 2021, is Lee Krasner: Living Color, a solo retrospective of the American pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. Introduced to the press via a virtual tour on YouTube for the very first time, the exhibition brings together a wide range of works, some of which are being shown for the very first time in Europe after their debut in the UK.
Curated by Barbican Art Gallery’s Eleanor Nairne for the London space, and then by Guggenheim Bilbao Curator Lucía Agirre for the Basque space, the traveling show spans fifty years of Krasner’s career and includes self-portraits, collages, and large-scale abstract paintings.
Krasner, who had been married to Jackson Pollock (who many believe had overshadowed her), had «continually sought out new means for authentic expression, even during the most tumultuous of times» — including Pollock’s unexpected death in a car crash in 1956. In 1976, Pace Gallery chose to represent Krasner — who became the third woman they represent. «I happened to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock and that’s a mouthful. I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter, thank you, and a little too independent». Earlier in 1972, American author and art critic BH Friedman coined the term Action Widow referring to Krasner’s — as well as other female abstract expressionist painters — tendency to leech off of their husbands’ work.
The show also includes Prophecy — painted through a complicated time with Pollock (potentially during his alcoholism or affair with artist Ruth Kligman) — «a work that looks like none other before it. It is dominated by undulating, fleshy shapes outlined in black with touches of pink that underscore the bodily iconography. The artist herself said that the painting ‘disturbed me enormously’».
Lee Krasner: Living Color was organized by the Barbican Centre in collaboration with the Guggenheim Bilbao along with the support of the Terra Foundation for American Art. Also ongoing simultaneously at the Guggenheim Bilbao is Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, on view until April 2021.
Avenida Abandoibarra, 2