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Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000–2007

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Cy_twombly
Untitled, 2007 Acrylic On Wood 99 3/16 X 217 5/16 Inches © Private Collection, © Cy Twombly. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000–2007
Curated by: James Rondeau

111 South Michigan Avenue
60603 Chicago
IL
US
May 16th, 2009 - September 13th, 2009
Opening: May 16th, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://www.artic.edu
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Michigan Ave/Downtown
EMAIL:  
ckrause@artic.edu
PHONE:  
312-443-3600
OPEN HOURS:  
Mon-We, Fri-Sun 10:30-5; Thu 10:30-8;
TAGS:  
modern, wing, mixed-media, photography, landscape, sculpture

DESCRIPTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAY 13, 2009

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Erin Hogan Chai Lee

(312) 443-3664 (312) 443-3625

ehogan@artic.edu clee4@artic.edu

CY TWOMBLY'S MASTERPIECES INAUGURATE ABBOTT GALLERIES FOR SPECIAL

EXHIBITIONS IN ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO'S NEW MODERN WING

The Art Institute is Sole Venue for

Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007

The Art Institute of Chicago will

inaugurate the Abbott Galleries in

the Renzo Piano-designed Modernwith a selection of recent work

Wing

by Cy Twombly. Cy Twombly: The-on view from May 16-celebrates the artist's abiding concern with the natural world,

Natural World, Selected Works

2000-2007

through September 13, 2009

specifically landscape, seascape, and flora. The exhibition is devoted to a full range of media,

including bold and monumental multipanel paintings, wood and plaster sculptures, dry print

photographs, and works on paper. Many of the more than 30 works in this exhibition have never

before been seen in an American museum.

"There could not be a more fitting artist to showcase for the opening of the Modern Wing," said

James Rondeau, curator of the exhibition and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair of the

Department of Contemporary Art. "Cy Twombly's decades of pushing the limits of gesture-

through inscriptions and marks, the inclusion of language, and bold, immediate color-bring us

from the expressionism of mid-century to its present-day manifestation. The evolution of his style

mirrors the evolution of painting itself over the past fifty years. And the Modern Wing is the perfect

setting for his works based in and about nature. Visibility, light, and the consciousness of one's

surroundings are both the lessons of Twombly's mature work and the experience we hope to

create in the Modern Wing galleries."

Exclusive corporate support for the exhibition has been provided by UBS, the global financial

services firm. "UBS has a longstanding relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago," said Robert

Wolf, Chairman and CEO, UBS Americas. "We are pleased to sponsor the exhibition Cyas well as provide support for

Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007

educational events surrounding the opening of the new Modern Wing and the museum's Building

of the Century campaign. Supporting the arts is ingrained in our corporate culture, and through

these cultural partnerships we are committed to making the arts accessible to our clients, our

employees, and the broader community."

Cy Twombly: The Natural World

investigates the 82-year-old artist's current production, the result

of a period of remarkable resurgence. The 31 works in the exhibition include works on paper,

sculptures, photographs, and monumental paintings, all rooted in evocations and expressions of

landscape, flora, and materiality. While Twombly's work over the course of his career has always

been rooted in place-his move to Rome, for example, in the late 1950s mirrored his immersion

with classical referents and a profound sense of history-rarely has landscape and its

components been expressed with such viscerality. In Cy Twombly: The Natural World the artist

offers bold, energetic images of peonies, the turquoise sea of the Caribbean, the sensations of

dirt and earth, the romantic (and unseen by the artist) lushness of Yemen, all rendered with an

immediacy and palpable pleasure in materiality.

The exhibition begins with Twombly's works on paper, sculptures, and photographs. While

Twombly's sculptures refer, in their white-washed and distressed surfaces, to the classical past,

their materials-boxes, fabric, plaster, and cloth-are transformed from the quotidian and

inorganic (paint-soaked rags) to the decayed and organic (wilted flowers). The paintings that

surround them, from 2001, are rich and gestural, filled with explosions of color and based in

sensation rather than inscription. Included here are also seven rarely exhibited photographs by

Twombly himself of his sculpture Untitled (Lexington), featured in the opening gallery.

The second section of the exhibition juxtaposes the cool seascapes from A Gathering of Time

(2003) with the rough, nearly excremental Winter Pictures. The seascapes are gentle, ethereal

fields of light green punctuated by bursts of white, suggesting the reflective shimmering of the

sun. In counterpoint to the seascapes, the exhibition offers the dripping, running browns and

grays of the Winter Pictures, resonant of mud, dirt, and earth as well as the glorious mess of life,

waste, and decay.

The final galleries of The Natural World are filled with

Twombly's most recent works in the exhibition-six

monumental paintings. The Peony Blossom Paintings

(2007) are three 18-foot-long, multipanel, horizontal

paintings-two of explosive blood red blossoms on bright

yellow grounds and one of white blossoms dripping

through a nearly celadon ground. All of these works are

inscribed with translations of Japanese haiku on peonies,

a rare turn in Twombly's career from the classical past of

the West to the evocative meditations of the East that is

also echoed in the paintings' format, which follows the sixpanel

format of traditional Japanese folding screens. The

exhibition concludes with a series called III Notes From Salalah, (2005-07) which is a port city in

Yemen of great fantasy and romance in ancient Arabic literature. Twombly here returns to the

suggestion of written language in these paintings-the central elements being almost cursive

loops and whirls-but the deep, lush greens connect the paintings to the investigation of place

and nature that has so occupied him late in his career.

Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007

shows an artist of astonishing

creativity and productivity flowering, once again, in his later years. Drawing on the exploration of

visual idiom that has characterized his work throughout his career, Twombly here can be seen as

rooting that idiom now very distinctly in sensations of place and the sheer pleasure of materials-

paint, plaster, surface, color. The results are works that are hopeful, assertive, bold, powerful, and

contemporary in the truest sense.

Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007

is organized by the Art Institute and

curated by James Rondeau, Curator and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair, Department of

Contemporary Art. A 96-page full color catalogue, including an essay by Rondeau, accompanies

the exhibition. The catalogue, distributed by Yale University Press, is available in the Modern

Shop.

Major funding is generously provided by The Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette

and Neison Harris, and Caryn and King Harris. Exclusive corporate support has been

provided by UBS. Additional support has been provided by Lannan Foundation.

Headquartered in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, UBS is one of the world's leading financial firms.

It serves a discerning, international client base with its wealth management, investment banking,

and asset management businesses. In Switzerland, UBS is the market leader in retail and

commercial banking.

Image credits:

Untitled

, 2007. Acrylic on wood, 99 3/16 x 217 5/16 in. (252 x 552 cm) Private Collection, © Cy Twombly. Courtesy

Gagosian Gallery.

Note II (detail)

, 2005-2007. Acrylic on wood panel. 96 x 144 in. (243.8 x 365.8 cm). The Steven and Alexandra Cohen

Collection. © Cy Twombly. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

# # # #

FREE ADMISSION TO ENTIRE MUSEUM DURING OPENING WEEK MAY 16 through MAY 22

MUSEUM HOURS

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TARGET FREE SUMMER EVENINGS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AFTER 5:00 pm

FREE FEBRUARY 1 TO 28

Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Free Evenings are free to all. City of Chicago residents with Chicago Public Library cards can borrow a "Museum

Passport" card from any library branch for free general admission to the nine members of Museums in the Park,

including the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago is a museum in Chicago's Grant Park, located across from Millennium Park.

Visitors

can enter the museum via the Michigan Avenue entrance or the Millennium Park entrance on Monroe Street.

Please check www.artinstituteofchicago.org before your visit.

ADMISSION

Effective May 23, 2009

Adults $18.00 Includes all special exhibitions and coat check

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Chicago residents receive a $2.00 discount with proof of residency

Children under 12 always free

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