Two exhibitions opened this past weekend at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and while they’re quite distinct, they share some common elements. Both respond to the Pulitzer’s Tadao Ando-designed space, and both highlight materials that are particular to specific geographies.
Sarah Crowner: Around Orange is a collection of three commissioned pieces in conversation with the Pulitzer building itself and works by artist Ellsworth Kelly, while Urban Archaeology: Lost Buildings of St. Louis displays salvaged St. Louis architectural elements from between 1840 and 1950, chosen from the collection of Sauget’s National Building Arts Center.
Crowner’s installation “Untitled (Around Orange)” along the main gallery’s east wall is in dialogue with “Blue Black,” Kelly’s painting that hangs permanently above the stairway at the end of the gallery. The 77-foot-long work comprises ten large canvases that react to the shifting light in the gallery and call attention to its scale. The machine-stitched canvas fragments, with unprimed and orange-painted cut sections, recall Matisse’s floral collages, while their dimensions echo “Blue Black.”
“For [Crowner], it was really important to see those works in natural light because they are very dynamic,” says Pulitzer curator Stephanie Weissberg. “She’s very interested in the physical movement of bodies throughout space. The light conditions are so dynamic in the Pulitzer.”
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