Apollo Magazine

Gallery: ‘Make It New’ at the Clark

The Clark Institute is putting its new building to good use with an exhibition of abstract painting

Tiger Ellsworth Kelly (American, born 1923), Tiger, 1953. Oil on canvas (five joined panels), 80 3/4 x 85 1/2 in. (205.1 x 217.2 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Artist, 1992.85.1
© Ellsworth Kelly National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Artist © Ellsworth Kelly

Ezra Pound’s aphoristic call to ‘Make it New’ has become a mantra of modernism, encapsulating the spirit of innovation that seems to characterise so much of 20th-century art. The Clark is making good use of its new Tadao Ando-designed gallery to celebrate some of those artists, with an exhibition of abstract modernist paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock (whose Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) is a highlight), Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler.

The works on display do away with, or subvert, painterly traditions to explore more fundamental means of visual expression: colour, texture, pattern, shape. It is these visual categories that dictate the arrangement of the works on the walls, but the spacious new gallery also allows for a more open view, encouraging visitors to make connections across the room, too. Organised by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the exhibition draws on that museum’s extensive holdings of modern and contemporary art. Click on any image to open the slideshow.

More on the Clark’s new building…

‘Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950–1975’ is at the Clark until 13 October.

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