Leslie Rankow Fine Arts


Airport, please! heading to Tokyo to Fergus McCaffrey’s exhibition Seven/Seven The Fraught Landscape

Fergus Mc Caffrey Gallery
Tokyo, Japan

This exhibition serves as a conceptual sequel to Fergus McCaffrey’s historic 2019 New York exhibition, Japan Is America. Continuing Japan Is America’s exploration of the Japanese-American creative exchange, Seven/Seven furthers this transatlantic narrative, applying a cinematic lens to the joint cultural landscape, taking its title from Akira Kurasawa’s Japanese epic Seven Samurai (1954), and the iconic Western film by John Sturges The Magnificent Seven (1960) that followed suit.


Seven Samurai

Focusing on a selection of works made by artists predominantly from 1985 to 2021, Seven/Seven considers the ways in which conscience and self-assertion manifests core concerns for both Eastern and Western contemporary artists. Departing from the archetypes of the epic and the Western, Seven/Seven contemplates the transformative process by which a sequence of static images becomes a moving film; presenting works that engage with the dynamism, drama, and individualistic nature of these genres by artists whose committed path to their craft and vision is the stuff of which epics are made.The dozen or more artists whose work is presented throughout Seven/Seven represent widely aesthetically varied perspectives on the social, political and artistic milieus of both Japan and the United States. Seven/Seven is both historical and contemporary, while remaining rooted in filmic concepts—drawing important, urgent connections between today’s most compelling Japanese and American artists.

Ed Ruscha
Japan is America, 2020


In this  post-pandemic era of social distancing and divisive cultural distinctions, Seven/Seven reflects the similarities and differences between the two cultures.

Artists include: Cecily Brown, Anna Conway, Milford Graves, David Hammons, Tatsuo Ikeda, Tomoke Konoike, Shigeko Kubota, Hiroshi Nakamura, Richard Nonas, Ed Ruscha, Shoji Ueda, Joseph Olisaemeka Wilson, with special screenings of Francesca Gabbiani and MAGO (screening dates to be announced)

Tokyo Gallery
Installation of exhibit


Founded in 2006, Fergus McCaffrey is internationally recognized for its groundbreaking role in promoting the work of post-war Japanese artists, as well as a quality roster of select contemporary European and American artists. Fergus McCaffrey has been instrumental in introducing post-war Japanese art to a Western market: Gutai artists Sadamasa Motonaga, Kazuo Shiraga and Toshio Yoshida; Hi-Red-Center members Jiro Takamatsu and Natsuyuki Nakanishi; and Noriyuki Haraguchi and Hitoshi Nomura from the Mono-Ha era. The gallery also exhibits the work of emerging and seminal Western artists, including Anna Conway, Jack Early, Marcia Hafif, Birgit Jürgenssen, Richard Nonas, Sigmar Polke, Carol Rama, William Scott, and Andy Warhol. Fergus McCaffrey, Tokyo opened in May of 2018.

Fergus McCaffrey
St. Bart’s

Located in New York on West 26th Street, Tokyo  in Minato-Ku, and St. Bart’s, the gallery offers impeccable examples of works that support his knowledge and depth of interest in select European and American artists.


Several of Seven/Seven’s artists explicitly comment on the historical— political—relationship between Japan and the United States in their work. To contextualize this contemporary framework—embedded in the historical, social DNA of both countries—outlined in this decades-spanning cross-cultural presentation, the exhibition begins with the politically engaged work of postwar Japanese artists, Tatsuo Ikeda and Hiroshi Nakamura.

Anne Conway
Mrs. Lance Cpl. shane too and Mrs. Staff sgt

Tatsuo Ikeda’s Untitled, 1957, comes out of a body of work— showing swollen, mutated animal and human figures—that the artist created in response to U.S. nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific, as well as the rapid reindustrialization of Japan in the post-nuclear era. His painting Toy World, 1967, part of a series of the same name created between 1966 and 1970, mounts a surrealist critique of changes in Japanese society following the signing of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which occurred in 1960, despite widespread protests. Likewise, Japanese artist Hiroshi Nakamura’s work is also deeply politically involved. Although Nakamura was trained in social realism techniques as a “reportage” painter, the paintings included in Seven/Seven, such as Drip, 1974, and Cyclope girls orgy, 1969, represent much more surrealist and pop culture-inspired interpretations of the fraught climate of postwar Japan.

David Hammons


Airport, please! the LRFA blog heads to London for Pace’s exhibition Creating Abstraction of seven international sculptors

Pace Gallery
Hanover Square


Creating Abstraction, a group exhibition that brings together seven female artists whose experimental approach to material and engagement with Modernism has pushed the boundaries of abstraction opens on February 3rd. Airport, please! the LRFA blog is looking forward to visiting Pace’s new gallery in Hanover Square and seeing this thought provoking exhibit co-curated with Carla Chammas, that centers on the idea of multi-disciplinarity as a means of exploring abstraction. In a time of Covid, complicating  travel, communication and personal connecting, the LRFA  blog applauds Pace Gallery for assembling such a diverse and intellectual survey show very much worth a visit.

In bringing together an array of work by these seven artists, Creating Abstraction offers a window into each individual’s complex, layered, radical work as well as the broader context of their practice.



Carla Accardi

On view from 3 February through

12 March, across the full expanse of Pace’s recently opened Hanover Square gallery, Creating Abstraction looks at the ways in which various Modernist movements were disseminated across the world and interpreted by artists from Britain, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. This exhibition creates dialogues between the sculptures, paintings, textiles, works on paper, video, photography, and installations of Carla Accardi (1924-2014), Leonor Antunes (b. 1972), Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916-2017), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Kim Lim (1936-1997) and Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). Despite vastly disparate nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, there is a shared sensibility between these artists who each found inspiration in Modernism’s non-hierarchical approach to material, and abstraction’s rich capacity for multi-disciplinary experimentation.

Saloua Rouada Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair is widely considered the first abstract artist in Lebanon. Inspired by mathematics, architecture and Islamic design and poetry, her pioneering practice encompassed sculpture, painting, drawing, jewellery, and textile. The modular structure of her sculptures, such as Poem (1972-74) or Poem (Ramlet el Beida) (1966/2013), which, like the stanzas of Arabic poetry can stand alone or be presented as a whole, have a particular resonance with the sculptures of Singaporean-British artist, Kim Lim. Lim’s practice, which traversed wood, bronze, marble, stone, fibreglass, aluminium, slate, and ink primarily took the form of sculpture and printmaking. Like Choucair, Lim took immense inspiration from the aesthetics of ancient Eastern art, travelling extensively across the Middle East and Asia throughout her life. In sculptures such as Caryatid (1961) Lim’s elegant fusion of historical sculptural forms with a distinctly Modernist aesthetic is particularly apparent.

Kim Lim

Lim and Choucair’s prints, works on paper and paintings have a shared sensibility with the work of Italian artist Carla Accardi, who’s avant-garde practice paved the way for many twentieth century movements in Italy. Best known for her experiments in sicofoil, a transparent plastic material, Accardi’s sculptures and paintings investigate both the formal and spatial effect of line, shape and gesture. The graphic quality of Accardi’s work such as Fondo Rosso (1959) or Segni Grigi (1986), resonates strongly with Choucair’s dynamic gouache paintings on paper.

Barbara Hepworth

An innovator of the Direct Carving technique and the first sculptor to pierce their forms, Barbara Hepworth is recognized as a master of British Modernism. Though most commonly recognised for her groundbreaking sculptures, which included bronze, stone, wood and string, her practice also encompassed painting, lithograph, collage, and drawing. Three Forms (1971) and Stringed Figure (Curlew) (Maquette) (1956) creates an enchanting dialogue with Louise Nevelson’s sculptures and collages. Unlike Hepworth, Nevelson’s artistic practice was additive, assembling materials found in the streets surrounding her studio to construct sculpture, collage, and installation. By painting the elements of her sculptures entirely black, white, or gold, Nevelson erased their former functions, focusing attention on their form. In Untitled (1971), a monumental monochromatic black sculpture, Nevelson nestles forms within a larger structure akin to a cabinet of curiosities.

Louise Nevelson

By including both twentieth century artists who were instrumental in the development of abstraction, and contemporary artists – Yto Barrada and Leonor Antunes – Creating Abstraction considers the legacy of Modernism today. Barrada’s work in textile, photography and video speaks at once to the multifaceted, multidisciplinary histories of Modernism and to her own personal landscape. In Velvet collage #6 (2021) Barrada references the hard-edge abstraction and Modernist history of the ‘grid’ while also drawing from her own daily life – the velvet is dyed using homemade pigments forged from the plants in her Tangier studio garden. Similarly, Antunes’s research-based practice actively responds to the histories of overlooked female Modernists, anni #26 I (2020) is a reimagining of Anni Albers’s abstract weavings in glittering brass. Antunes’s installation, indirect lighting (group 2) (2021), which extends from floor to ceiling with ceramic sculptural pieces spiralling in space, echoes the modular sculpture of Choucair, Lim, and Nevelson.

Yto Barrada
Marian Goodman Gallery
New York



Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko. Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.

Leonor Antunes

Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy as an artist-first gallery that mounts seminal historical and contemporary exhibitions. Under the current leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace continues to support its artists and share their visionary work with audiences worldwide by remaining at the forefront of innovation. Now in its seventh decade, the gallery advances its mission through a robust global program—comprising exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, performances, and interdisciplinary projects. Pace has a legacy in art bookmaking and has published over five hundred titles in close collaboration with artists, with a focus on original scholarship and on introducing new voices to the art historical canon. The gallery has also spearheaded exploration into the intersection of art and technology through new business models, exhibition interpretation tools, and representation of artists engaging with technology.

Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide including London, Geneva, a strong foothold in Palo Alto, and two galleries in New York—its headquarters at 540 West 25th Street, which welcomed almost 120,000 visitors and programmed 20 shows in its first six months and an adjacent 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition space at 510 West 25th Street. Pace was one of the first international galleries to establish outposts in Asia, where it operates permanent galleries in Asia and the first to Seoul.

Saloua Raouda Choucair,
Trajectory of a Line, 1957-59,


Despite vastly disparate nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, there is a shared sensibility between these artists who each found inspiration in Modernism’s non-hierarchical approach to material, and abstraction’s rich capacity for multi-disciplinary experimentation.

On view from 3 February – 12 March, across the full expanse of Pace’s recently opened Hanover Square gallery, Creating Abstraction looks at the ways in which various Modernist movements were disseminated across the world and interpreted by artists from Britain, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. This exhibition creates dialogues between the sculptures, paintings, textiles, works on paper, video, photography, and installations of Carla Accardi (1924-2014), Leonor Antunes (b. 1972), Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916-2017), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Kim Lim (1936-1997) and Louise Nevelson (1899-1988).

During a time of intense personal concerns, it is refreshing to see women artists exploring the legacy of Modernism and abstraction in this beautiful exhibition.



Airport, please! to see Jenny Saville’s multi-institutional exhibit Florence, Italy

Through February 20, 2022
Various venues in Florence, Italy

Jenny Saville is the subject of an exhibition project conceived and curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, in collaboration with four other major museums in Florence: the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo degli Innocenti, and the Museo di Casa Buonarroti. The multipart exhibition places Saville’s paintings and drawings in dialogue with masterworks of the Italian Renaissance, including some of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces, offering a revealing encounter between the contemporary and the historical. Correspondences include the monumentality of Saville’s paintings—a distinctive feature of her figurative language since her early career—as well as her research focused on the body and flesh of her naked subjects.

Jenny Saville has invaded Florence with a sprawling multi-institutional survey, curated by Sergio Risaliti, that places her work in dialogue with the masters of the Italian Renaissance. At the Palazzo Vecchio, for example, the bombastic vortex of armored men and pawing horses in Vasari’s frescoes looks down on her celebrated painting Fulcrum, 1999, here serving as a reminder of the fragility of the body as laid siege to by Covid-19.

Jenny Saville
Fulcrum, 1999

Then there are Saville’s encounters with Michelangelo, one of her most significant influences, at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the Casa Buonarroti. The spirited chisel marks of the unfinished Pietà Bandini, ca. 1547–55, and the tender strokes of the Madonna col Bambino, ca. 1525, seem to come alive in Saville’s drawings, transported across the centuries by a female hand. Her thunderous studies of pregnant women and children are informed by the her intimate physical, psychological, and emotional experience of motherhood, while her modern-day pietàs, inspired by war photographs, insert the bodies of refugee children in place of the deposed of Christ.

At the Museo del Novecento, there is a focus on Saville’s most recent series of paintings, in which we see her fleshy palette refreshed with bursts of Pop and acidic color. In the portraits of her young subjects, peers of Greta Thunberg or X González, perhaps, gestural skeins of paint dramatize the innocence, dreams, and existential dramas of adolescence. The brushstroke is loose and expressive save for the sitters’ eyes, rendered so exactingly that, in some of the pupils, we glimpse the artist’s reflection, captured in the photographs she shot and used as source material. In these canvases, Saville pays tribute to a new generation coming to consciousness; their inclusion in an exhibition otherwise concerned with her rapport with the past lends them a particular poignancy, especially in this time of creeping nihilism and despair. Some faces are crossed by rainbows, some gaze into the distance, and some look into the camera—suggesting both real people in the here and now and mythic allegories of the future.

Opened on 24 June 2014, the Museo Novecento is dedicated to 20th-century art, presenting a selection of works from the civic collections which focuses on Italian art of the first half of the 20th century.­ Of great value is the Alberto Della Ragione collection, donated to the city of Florence in the aftermath of the 1966 flood, with artworks by Giorgio De Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Gino Severini, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Mafai, Renato Guttuso, Felice Casorati among others. The museum is completed with the exhibition of the legacy of Ottone Rosai, donated by his widow Francesca Fei and his brother Oreste to the Municipality of Florence. In addition to the permanent collection, the temporary exhibitions and the programme of the Cinema and Conferences Room enrich the activity of the museum with a thematic and multidisciplinary approach. Through its art mediation department the Museum daily arranges educational activities like workshops, guided tours for families, children, teenagers, adults and special audiences.

Jenny Saville
Museo Novecento

Jenny Saville was born on May 7, 1970, in Cambridge. Her parents, both educators, moved Jenny and her brothers and sister frequently from school to school as her father pursued a career as a school administrator. After attending several schools, she finished secondary school at Newark, Nottinghamshire. As a child, Saville’s parents encouraged her to think and work independently. She was first attracted to painting at the age of eight. Her mother recognized her talents early and cleared out a broom closet for Saville to use as her first studio. She cites her uncle, Paul Saville, an artist, art historian, and former head of Liberal Arts at Clare College, as an early influence. He took her to museums, but also to Holland and Italy, in order to expose her to Old Masters as well as modern artists. It was her uncle that encouraged her to pursue an art degree at the Glasgow School of Art.

Early Training
Saville studied at the Glasgow School of Art in the late 1980s, graduating in 1992 with a BFA. She attended the school because of its reputation as a painting school, saying, “Every day you walk up those steps it makes you become an artist.” Without a grant or funding, she worked as a waitress in order to support herself and pay for a studio where she could paint. During her time at Glasgow School of Art, she received a six-month travel scholarship to study in the United States at the University of Cincinnati. Saville recalls seeing “big women and big white bodies in shorts and T-shirts,” an experience that influenced her to take on the un-idealised female nude as the primary focus of her early works. She enjoyed success during her last year at Glasgow School of Art and was selected twice by the National Portrait Gallery before her final graduate exhibition in the summer of 1992. In a rare feat, she sold most of the paintings from the show and an example from the exhibition subsequently appeared on the cover of the Times Saturday Review in September 1992. The cover came to the attention of art collector and advertising executive Charles Saatchi, who sought her out and offered her a contract to paint over the next eighteen months, with a promise to purchase and exhibit any paintings she produced during that time. With little money and a propensity for making large-scale paintings in oil, the contract from Saatchi allowed her to produce work without financial constraints.
Saville was offered an opportunity to return to the USA in 1994. Intrigued by the nature of plastic surgery, a phenomenon that was on the rise in the mid-1990s, she began observing surgeries in the office of a New York plastic surgeon.

Alongside contemporaries such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Lucas, Jenny Saville’s work was included in the 1994 Young British Artists III exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, and in the 1997 Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London, which was taken from Saatchi’s collection. Much lauded in the UK, Sensation sparked controversy when it traveled in 1999 to the Brooklyn Museum. Although she was included in these important exhibitions, Saville never considered herself part of the Young British Artists, most of whom worked in mediums other than painting, which she had devoted herself to since an early age.
Mature Period
Despite living and working in the UK, Jenny Saville has shown her work most frequently in New York. She has said that she feels a greater affinity to American painters like Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly, than she does to the more conceptually driven work of her British contemporaries like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, or Rachel Whiteread. “There’s less guilt about being a painter over there [in the USA].”

In 2003 Saville was returning to London from a trip to Sicily and stopped off in Palermo, Italy. She fell in love with the city and subsequently moved there. She was drawn to the city’s layering of civilizations because it does not belong to any particular moment or individual. She purchased an apartment in a dilapidated 18th-century palazzo that served as a studio and living space. This complexity and layering of history has made its way into her work, particularly in her drawings, where memory, time, and experience overlap and seep into each other.

Current Work
In 2014, Saville moved from Sicily to Oxford, where she currently lives with her partner, Paul McPhail, and their two children. Having children changed the way she works, and Saville speaks of the profound influence her children have had on her painting. Their uninhibited approach to painting and drawing opened up new possibilities for her, allowing her to be freer in her choice of subjects and methods. Although the interest in the representation of bodies has continued, it has expanded to include new references to motherhood, art history, and ancient myth. While she continues to paint with oil, she has also incorporated drawing in charcoal and pastel in order to create layered compositions that would be impossible with the thickly applied oil paint she used in earlier works.

In recent years, her work has taken from earlier precedents in new ways, leading to a series of large-scale drawings in charcoal that make direct references to art history. She was asked by the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford to contribute a series of drawings in response to their 2015 exhibition Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice, which allowed her to use drawing to convey movement and time (rather than the static poses of her earlier paintings). The same year, 2015, she was asked to curate a room for the Royal Academy’s blockbuster exhibition, Rubens and his Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne. With works by other British artists, Cecily Brown and Sarah Lucas, the room also included artists she cites as influences, including Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, and Francis Bacon, along with her monumental work titled Voice of the Shuttle (Philomela).

Jenny Saville
Voice of the Shuttle

The Legacy of Jenny Saville
Saville has demonstrated that figure painting continues to have resonance in contemporary art. Drawing on issues around the body and its representation, Saville has shied away from idealized images of the body. Saville’s paintings have also left their mark on popular culture. In 1994 and 2009, the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers included her 2005 painting Stare, an image of a seemingly beaten and bloody face, on the cover of Journal for Plague Lovers. Upon release, the cover sparked controversy and was deemed “inappropriate” by UK retailers, who refused to display it, opting instead for a plain paper slipcover.

Linda Nochlin has called her work “post ‘post-painterly’,” referring to Clement Greenberg’s term. The work pushes painterliness “so far over the top that it signifies a kind of disease of the pictorial, a symptom of some deep disturbance in the relation of pigment to canvas.” Saville refers often to the famous quote by Willem de Kooning, “Flesh was the reason oil paint was created.” Her visceral approach – using thick paint on large canvasses – comes from her desire to use paint in a sculptural way. Saville can be credited with updating figurative painting for contemporary art and her unidealized paintings of predominately women’s bodies can also be related to Feminist art and Performance art by innovators such as Mary Kelly, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, and Carolee Schneemann . Drawing on the history of art in intriguing ways and making use of photography as source material, but not in the way we have come to understand it (such as in the form of photorealism or portraiture), Saville’s paintings and drawings challenge us to think anew about the relevance of painting and what it can and should represent in our contemporary age.


Head to the beautiful city of Florence, for a total submersion in the compelling, challenging vision of Jenny Saville, airport, please!


Airport, please! heading to Tadao Ando’s Lee Ufan museum at the Benesse Art Site, Naoshima

Lee Ufan Museum


A museum resulting from the collaboration between internationally acclaimed artist Lee Ufan, presently based mainly in Europe, and architect Tadao Ando. The Ando-designed semi-underground structure houses paintings and sculptures by Lee spanning a period from the 1970s to the present day. Lee’s works resonate with Ando’s architecture, giving visitors an impression of both stillness and dynamism. Located in a gentle valley surrounded by hills and the ocean, the museum offers a tranquil space where nature, architecture and art come in resonance with each other, inviting to peaceful and quiet contemplation, in a society overflowing with material goods.

Lee Ufan

Artist Lee Ufan

Located in a gentle valley surrounded by hills and the ocean, the architecture designed by Tadao Ando to conform to the landform and the pole created by Lee in front of the entrance create a tension between the horizontal and the vertical. The floor plan with rectangular and triangular spaces are ranged across this valley which leads to the sea brings a rhythm to the architecture.

The museum offers the official catalog of the Lee Ufan Museum. It contains dialogues between Lee Ufan and Tadao Ando, the works collected by the museum, and more.


Lee Ufan was one of the leading figures of the Mono-ha school (School of Things), a contemporary art movement emerging in the late 1960s. Ufan’s works in the museum include two- dimensional paintings featuring repetitive brushstrokes laid down with the rhythm of quiet breathing and sculptures that organically combine stones and steel plates, in which the artist’s interventions are reduced to the bare minimum.

lee Ufan

Lee Ufan was born in Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea, in 1936, while the country was under Japanese occupation. Following training in traditional inkbrush techniques at Seoul National University High School, in 1956 he moved to Tokyo, where he studied philosophy at Nihon University. In 1967 he had his first solo show at Sato Gallery, Tokyo, and in 1968 his work was included in Contemporary Korean Painting at Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. In 1969 Lee staged an ephemeral happening and made contingent structures for the 9th Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, which signaled a departure from his earlier optical, discrete paintings. This show brought together Japanese artists identified with Mono-ha (School of Things).

Lee Ufan Museum
Benisee Art Site

Throughout the 1970s, the artist participated in several exhibitions that juxtaposed North American, East Asian, and European artists to highlight their shared concern with material, process, and site. A dedicated teacher and prolific cultural critic, Lee published seventeen books. In recent years, acclaim for his work has brought him exhibitions worldwide. In 2010 the Lee Ufan Museum, designed by Tadao Ando, opened in Naoshima, Japan. Increasingly distilled and monumental, the artist’s sculptures continue to juxtapose natural and industrial materials, in keeping with his relational philosophy. Lee lives and works in Kamakura, Japan, and Paris.


PACE Gallery, East Hampton

A recent exhibit at the newly established post-pandemic gallery Pace opened in East Hampton gave us all the opportunity to see the artist’s new paintings and his distinct approach to color and space.

There is a spontaneity to his process allowing the brush to move across his canvas and positioning the lozenge like areas of color within the space and an unconscious spontaneous intuitive sense of timeless placement.

Lee Ufan is recognized for his unconventional artistic processes which underscore the relationship between the viewer, the artwork, and the spaces they inhabit and for philosophical writings that challenge prevailing notions of artmaking with attention on spatial and temporal conditions.

Lee’s first one-artist exhibition occurred at Sato Gallery, Tokyo, in 1967, and coincided with the publication of The Aesthetics of Self-Contradiction, his critical examination of aesthetics, cultural production, and national identity. His drawings and paintings in the mid-1960s expressed this critique in visual form and were precursors to his From Point and From Line series, which concluded in 1984. Exhibiting a distilled visual language based on an amalgamation of Eastern and Western aesthetics and philosophy, these works emphasize system, structure, and process through fields of dots or lines to create tension between his gestures and the picture plane, while marking the passage of time.

Dialogue 2020
acrylic on canvas


http://lee fan 8 page pdf

These covid times of fear and unpredictability, the unknown and unexpected, find comfort in the calm serenity and all-knowing quality  of Lee Ufan’s paintings and sculpture. Naoshima, here we come!

Airport, please! heading to Paris for the Anselm Kiefer exhibit Pour Paul Celan

Grand Palais Éphémère Paris,France


« Celan does not merely contemplate nothingness, he has experienced it, lived through it. ».

Anselm Kiefer, June 2021

Fifteen years after inaugurating the Monumenta series at the Grand Palais in 2007, Anselm Kiefer is the first artist to realize a new project that involves the entire space of the Grand Palais Éphémère, at the invitation of the Rmn – Grand Palais. With Pour Paul Celan, Anselm Kiefer continues his work on European memory, in which both France and Germany are key players. In this exhibition, sculptures, installations and 19 large-scale canvases by Anselm Kiefer interact with the elusive poetry of the great German-language poet Paul Celan. Paul Celan’s work has been a constant presence in Anselm Kiefer’s paintings since his adolescence, when he discovered the poem ‘‘Todesfuge’’ (‘‘Death Fugue’’). It continues to still be so with this group of recent paintings. This dialogue has intensified in recent years, and particularly in 2020 during the time of lockdown.

Paul Celan


In the age of the pandemic, the work of Romanian poet Paul Celan takes on special meaning. A prisoner in the concentration camps during the war, his life of solitary confinement and isolation echoes those suffering under the strictures of Covid-19.  Paul Celan was born Paul Antschel in Czernovitz, Romania, to a German-speaking Jewish family. His surname was later spelled Ancel, and he eventually adopted the anagram Celan as his pen name. In 1938 Celan went to Paris to study medicine, but returned to Romania before the outbreak of World War II.

Grand Palais Éphémère

During the war Celan worked in a forced labor camp for 18 months; his parents were deported to a Nazi concentration camp. His father most likely died of typhus and his mother was shot after being unable to work. After escaping the labor camp, Celan lived in Bucharest and Vienna before settling in Paris. Celan was familiar with at least six languages, and fluent in Russian, French, and Romanian. In Paris, he taught German language and literature at L’École Normale Supérieure and earned a significant portion of his income as a translator, translating a wide range of work, from Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Emily Dickinson to Arthur Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud and Charles Baudelaire.

Though he lived in France and was influenced by the French surrealists, he wrote his own poetry in German. His first collection of poems, Sand from the Urns, was published in Vienna in 1948; his second collection, Poppy and Memory (Mohn und Gedaechtnis, 1952), brought him critical acclaim. Katherine Washburn, his translator, noted in her introduction to his Last Poems (1986): “The title of this book [Poppy and Memory] pointed with a fine vividness to the central predicament of Celan’s poetry—the unstable and dangerous union between Paul Celan, caught early in that sensual music of the Surrealists, pure poet of the intoxicating line, and Paul Ancel, heir and hostage to the most lacerating of human memories.”

While Celan is perhaps best known for his poem “Death Fugue” (or “Todesfuge”), although  it is not necessarily representative of his later work. Reviewing the 1981 publication Paul Celan: Poems in the New York Times, Rika Lesser said the poem’s “richly sonic, dactylic lines (spoken by the inmates of a camp), while typical of Celan’s mastery of form, content, texture and sound, are hardly indicative of the direction his composition would later take.” As his career continued, Celan worked to “purge his poems of readymade contexts – whether historical, traditional or explicitly religious. The late poems still abound in allusions – private, hermeneutic, esoteric – but increasingly each poem becomes and creates its own context and the context within which Celan’s other poems must be read.”

Celan received the Bremen Prize for German Literature in 1958 and the Georg Buchner Prize in 1960. He suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1970.


Anselm Kiefer


Celan’s history and his life overlap with that of Anselm Kiefer and the connection between the two is palpable.

Anselm Kiefer’s monumental body of work represents a microcosm of collective memory, visually encapsulating a broad range of cultural, literary, and philosophical allusions—from the Old and New Testaments, Kabbalah mysticism, Norse mythology and Wagner’s Ring Cycle to the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan.

Born during the closing months of World War II, Kiefer reflects upon Germany’s post-war identity and history, grappling with the national mythology of the Third Reich. Fusing art and literature, painting and sculpture, Kiefer engages the complex events of history and the ancestral epics of life, death, and the cosmos. His boundless repertoire of imagery is paralleled only by the breadth of media palpable in his work.

Kiefer’s oeuvre encompasses paintings, vitrines, installations, artist books, and an array of works on paper such as drawings, watercolors, collages, and altered photographs. The physical elements of his practice—from lead, concrete, and glass to textiles, tree roots, and burned books—are as symbolically resonant as they are vast-ranging. By integrating, expanding, and regenerating imagery and techniques, he brings to light the importance of the sacred and spiritual, myth and memory.

Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany. After studying law and Romance languages, he attended the School of Fine Arts at Freiburg im Breisgau and the Art Academy in Karlsruhe while maintaining a contact with Joseph Beuys.

Kiefer’s work has been shown and collected by major museums worldwide, including the following: “Bilder und Bücher,” Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1978); “Verbrennen, verholzen, versenken, versanden,” West German Pavilion, 39th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (1980); “Margarete—Sulamith,” Museum Folkwang, Germany (1981); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (1984, traveled to ARC Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; and Israel Museum, Jerusalem); “Peintures 1983–1984,” Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux (1984); and Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois (1987, traveled to Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Modern Art, New York, through 1989).



Designed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the Grand Palais Éphémère is a temporary building located on the Champ-de-Mars. Its wooden frame and its ecological virtues make it a remarkable building, firmly anchored in our time. A real architectural feat that fits into a site whose history is, like that of the Grand Palais, intimately linked to the Universal Exhibitions of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Airport, please! LRFA heads to Oudolf Field at Hauser & Wirth Somerset


Hauser & Wirth Somerset

‘For me, garden design isn’t just about plants, it is about emotion, atmosphere, a sense of contemplation. You try to move people with what you do. You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.’ s—Piet Oudolf –

Installation view
Wilder than wildness itself
Hauser & Wirth, Somerset

Five acclaimed artist-makers have originated new multidisciplinary works in response to Oudolf Field, a 1.5-acre perennial meadow designed by Piet Oudolf at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. During a time of claustrophic social distancing and staying at home, visions of Somerset danced in our heads The fresh air to breathe, the green rolling hills, and now the LRFA blog is thrilled to have an opportunity to visit the extraordinary space created and developed by Hauser and Wirth in Somerset, England.

A living canvas, the garden passes from the vigour of the growing season to the poignancy of decay. In summer Oudolf Field embraces movement and energy, each plant, grass and flowerhead alive with their own gravity and tension. In winter texture and tone form abstract compositions. The works presented evoke the immersive experience of the garden, drawing upon Oudolf’s philosophy that rather than copying nature, the intention is to create a feeling, deepening our connection with its seasons and cycles. ‘Wilder than Wildness itself’ explores the duality of the ephemeral and the permanent. Deeply personal works in resin, glass, textile and clay reflect a unique visual aesthetic, the progression of time, the passage of life and perceptions of beauty.

http://hauser and wirth somerset piet oudolf

installation view
Wilder than wildness itself
Hauser & Wirth, Somerset


Oudolf is a leading figure in the New Perennial movement; his projects are characterized by a strong pictorial relationship to a garden’s composition and layout. Inspired by art, nature and time, Oudolf’s gardens are achieved through areas of naturalistic planting, using swathes of perennials and grasses combined with structured pathways, shrubs and trees.
An internationally-renowned landscape designer, Oudolf was born in 1944 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Since 1982, he has lived and worked in Hummelo, a tiny village in east Netherlands, where he started a nursery with his wife Anja, to grow perennials. His garden has since become renowned for its radical approach and ideas about planting design. Oudolf has received many high profile commissions around the world, including for The High Line, New York, in a collaboration with landscape architect James Corner, and ‘Hortus Conclusus’ with Peter Zumthor at Serpentine Gallery, London.

Installation view
Wilder than Wildness itself
Hauser & Wirth, Somerset



Hauser & Wirth Somerset supports an immersive artist-in-residence program, encouraging artists to benefit from the idyllic surroundings and to integrate with the local community.

On-site restaurant, Roth Bar & Grill, serves seasonal, locally sourced produce, and is replete with works of art including a site-specific bar created by Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth.

The centre is located on the outskirts of Bruton, on Durslade Farm, which is a working free-range farm, providing produce for Roth Bar & Grill. The gallery opened in 2014 – prior to this the buildings had remained derelict for several decades, until they were sensitively restored and new buildings added by Paris based architectural firm Laplace. Durslade Farmhouse, the original six-bedroom farmhouse, also renovated by Laplace, is available to rent for short stays.

Hauser & Wirth Somerset has been awarded a RIBA South West Award 2015, a Civic Trust 2015 Award, and in 2014 it was the winner of the William Stansell Historic Buildings Award, for Durslade Farmhouse. In 2015 it ran its own competition for young architects, titled The Shed Project.

Installation view
Wilder than Wildness itself
Hauser & Wirth, Somerset

Airport, please! visiting James Turrell’s magical skyspaces, and the Roden Crater

Roden Crater

James Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. He studied experimental psychology and mathematics as an undergraduate at Pomona College, and the fine arts at Claremont Graduate University, where he earned an MFA (both schools are located in southern California). Turrell began working in the 1960s and, like many artists of the period, abandoned conventional painting and sculpture for new media and an expanded definition of art. In 1967, he had his first solo exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum. His installations are based on the pure experience of artificial and natural light. Ranging in scale from single rooms to the vast Roden Crater project in Arizona, this work has established him as an original and visionary artist. Turrell currently lives and works in Flagstaff, Arizona, and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

James Turrell
Rice University, Houston

And in that abandonment of conventional painting and sculpture, James Turrell opened up a way of seeing that proved to be unique and influential to a generation of architects and visionaries that followed. The LRFA blog was introduced to his work when a beloved, and challenging client worked with Gwathmey Siegel to commission Turrell to create a work for the Greenwich school library that his children attended. Thus began a long journey and familiarity with the work of James Turrell.

James Turrell
Rice University, Houston


Turrell’s life work, Roden Crater, located in the Painted Desert region of Northern Arizona, is an unprecedented large-scale artwork created within a volcanic cinder cone by light and space artist James Turrell. Representing the culmination of the artist’s lifelong research in the field of human visual and psychological perception, Roden Crater is a controlled environment for the experiencing and contemplation of light. It takes its place within the tradition of American landscape art that began in the 1960s, requiring a journey to visit the work in the remote desert with truly dark night skies. While minimally invasive to the external natural landscape, internally the red and black cinder has been transformed into special engineered spaces where the cycles of geologic and celestial time can be directly experienced. It  constitutes a truly culminating phenomenon in world art.

Turrell’s immersive work with how we see light in varying contexts, both natural and created, led him to conceive an artwork so remote from manmade distractions, and at a high altitude so naturally conducive to unlimited sightlines of the vast sky, that it could provide a singular experience. After an extensive search, he found his ideal conditions at Roden Crater. Since acquiring the dormant cinder cone in 1977, Turrell has fashioned Roden Crater into a site containing tunnels and apertures that open onto pristine skies, capturing light directly from the sun in daylight hours, and the planets and stars at night. Indeed it is more akin to the communally developed sites of ancient Incas, than to the conceptions of any individual one can think of in modern times.

Roden Crater

Roden Crater is a gateway to the contemplation of light, time and landscape. It is the magnum opus of James Turrell’s career, a work that, besides being a monument to land art, functions as a naked eye observatory of earthly and celestial events that are both predictable and continually in flux. Constructed to last for centuries to come, Roden Crater links the physical and the ephemeral, the objective with the subjective, in a transformative sensory experience.

Roden Crater

The first major phase of construction included the movement of over 1.3 million cubic yards of earth to shape the Crater Bowl and the construction of the 854′ East Tunnel. Six spaces were completed, including two of the most difficult, the shaping of the Crater Bowl and the Alpha (East) Tunnel. The Sun & Moon Chamber, East Portal, and the Crater’s Eye, are joined by the Alpha (East) Tunnel and a connecting tunnel to the Crater Bowl. When complete, the project will contain 24 viewing spaces and six tunnels.

Roden Crater


A Turrell Skyspace is a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky. Skyspaces can be autonomous structures or integrated into existing architecture. The aperture can be round, ovular or square. Recently, in the Financial Times, Skyspace Amarta in the Maldives was featured. airport, please!

Skyspace Amarta

Just as covid has transformed the way in which people interact, work, live together and connect, James Turrell changed our perception of time and space. Somehow, the changes he created in his Skyspaces and the legendary life work, the Roden Crater, seem to be a welcome lesson and not a destructive one.

Before travel is closed and we slink back into our solitary holes, the LRFA blog is determined to visit every one of his profound contributions to the world of art.



airport, please! heading to Shanghai, the heart of the new art world, to see Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg at Prada Ring Zhai

Prada Rong Zaai
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg

Prada presents “A Moon Wrapped in Brown Paper”, an exhibition by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, with the support of Fondazione Prada. Curated by Yang Beichen, the project will be on view from 11 November 2021 to 9 January 2022 at Prada Rong Zhai, a 1918 historic residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017.

Djurberg and Berg
Delights of an undirected mind


Prada Rong Zhai is the historic 1918 residence located in the heart of Shanghai, inaugurated on October 12, 2017, after a meticulous restoration subsidized by the Prada Group. The building is designed as a flexible space dedicated to various cultural activities organized by the Prada Group in China. Documenting Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli’s respect and admiration for Chinese cultural heritage, in 2011 Prada began the restoration project of the residence, which lasted 6 years and required the utmost care for details, superb craftsmanship and respect for architectural essence.

The operation combines and summarizes the capabilities developed by Prada in the revitalization of historic buildings around the world, including the restorations of parts of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Ca’ Corner della Regina, the magnificent baroque palace overlooking Venice Grand Canal converted into a space dedicated to art.




Through sculpture, stop-motion film, sound and immersive installations Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg develop surreal narratives that investigate themes of lust, greed, exploitation and fear with a hint of the absurd. Working in collaboration for over a decade, Djurberg and Berg create scenes that are simultaneously violent and erotic, enticing and whimsical.


Within these childlike fantasies, protagonists and antagonists are interchangeable and sociological foundations morph and dissolve. A range of surrogates – fairytale characters, animals, post-humans and stereotypes act out often violent or sexual offenses digging into the darker side of the human unconscious.

Working in an intuitive and curious mode, uninhibited by traditional methods of art making, Djurberg laboriously handcrafts elaborate environments and characters out of clay, plasticene, foam, wire, fabric and paint resulting in a gummy, flamboyant aesthetic. The visceral textures conveyed in Djurbergs’ figures further elaborate the emotions provoked by their misdemeanors.

Berg, a musician and composer, adds yet another layer of emotional depth through sound. With his compositions, drama is either reinforced or awkwardly highlighted by contrasting the portrayed scene.



Airport, please! Heading to the Tornabuoni Gallery to see Alighiero Boetti’s Thinking About Afghanistan


MAPPA, 1971
Alighiero Boetti

In the Spring of 1971 while in search of something distant, Alighiero Boetti discovered Afghanistan. It was the beginning of a relationship that tied the man and his work to the people of Afghan for 23 years until his death in 1994. Boetti maintained these ties during the period of exile following the Soviet invasion of 1979, even welcoming some of his assistants into his own household in Italy. Afghanistan is the scene of the production of many of Boetti’s best-known works including Mappa 1971-1994 ,made by female Afghan embroiderers. His artistic intention, his experience of the country and his intellectual curiosity gave rise to works that act as both cutural and geopolitical seismographs. Boetti’s work bears witness to the socio-politico transformations that affected the Middle East in the 70s and 80s, seeing, ,for example, the embroiderers flee to Peshawar in Pakistan where some of the last tapestries were produced.

Tornabuoni Art
Paris, France

During our recent pandemic, our time of claustrophia, social distancing and limited travel wore heavily on all of those who impulsively booked a flight at will, going to art fairs, to unexplored cities, to see a museum exhibit and coming home, freedom! to escape one’s quotidian life and relationships. The LRFA blog, as a matter of fact, was inspired by the need to travel the world if only in the imagination.


Alighiero Boettti- Thinking about Afghanistan presents a selection of work at the gallery’s 16, avenue Matignon, 7500 in Paris, a converted train station flooded with skylights and architectural elements, continued from October 18 through December 22nd, 2021.

The exhibit presented a selection of works typical of this period, The Lavori Postali (Postal Works) which are iconic tapestries and a series of works on paper conceived in Boetti’s Roman studio when he could not travel to Afghanistan. These include The First Work of the Year While Thinking about Afghanistan – and includes a rich selection of photographs and archival documents owned by the Boetti estate, which provides insight into the context in which Alighiero Boetti worked.

Alighiero Boetti

BIO ALIGHIERO BOETTI Turin 1940- Rome, 1994

Alighiero Boetti – or Alighiero e Boetti as he liked to sign his works from 1971 – was born in Turin, Italy. The son of lawyer Corrado Boetti and violinist Adelina Marchisio, he began his career as a self-taught artist, after having briefly studied Business and Economics at the University of Turin.

In 1967, the Christian Stein gallery in Turin offered Boetti his first solo show, within a context marked by the recent birth of Arte Povera. The young artist was subsequently invited to take part in all group exhibitions around this theme, that paved the way for total freedom of artistic expression, and in shows on Conceptual Art such as ‘When Attitudes become Form’ at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1969.

The latter marked Boetti’s detachment from Arte Povera in favor of conceptual experimentation through duplication, symmetry and multiplication. His works then focused on codes of classification and communication, working with numbers, maps and alphabets, playing with a variety of materials and techniques, reminiscent of ancient Asian craftsmanship.

Boetti’s passion for Afghanistan began in the early 1970s with a few trips that later turned into long stays, and in 1971 Boetti and his wife opened the ‘One Hotel’ in Kabul. During this time Boetti began working on the Mappe (Maps), entrusting the realization of his famous tapestries to Afghan female embroiderers. The colours and shapes of the flags changed according to the world’s geopolitical context at the time of the realisation (1971-1994). Kabul inspired another famous series entitled Frasi messe al quadrato (Squared Sentences). After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (December 1979 – February 1980), the discontinuation of the production of tapestries led him to work with Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan (as from 1986).

Lavori Postale
Alighiero Boetti

A great traveller, Boetti spent long periods in different continents. Countries like Ethiopia, Guatemala and Japan inspired him to create his Lavori postali (Postal Works) with local stamps. Evoking the passing of time, these pieces were based on the mathematical mutation of the stamps and on the unpredictable adventure of the world’s postal services.

The revolutionary aspect of Boetti’s work was the creation of a paradigm within which to act for the people involved in the creative process, thus radically questioning the role of the artist and the impact of chance, sequence, repetition and authorship in the creation of a work of art. His work and attitude have strongly influenced the next generation of artists in Italy and around the world.

Traveling to Afghanistan at the beginning of the 1970s, he was introduced to the traditional craft of embroidery, which marked a turning point in the artist’s career. In his consequent Territori Occupati series (1971-92) he commissioned Afghan embroiderers to create a maps of the world, with each country bearing the colors and pattern of its flag. The commission grew into a beautifully crafted, large-scale series of maps produced over a period of twenty years in Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. The land mass of each country is filled in with its flag.

We can now become more selective, targeting fairs and cities in which we intend to stay at least a few days. See you all at Miami Art Basel, in December?

Airport, please! heading to the eternal city, Rome, to view Cy Twombly at Gagosian

Cy Twombly in front of Lepanto


To my mind, one does not put oneself in place of the past; one only adds a new link.
—Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly (1928–2011) developed a gestural vocabulary in which each line and color is infused with energy, spirituality, and meaning. Emerging as a prominent figure in the mid-1950s following extensive travels throughout Europe and North Africa, he produced works that are simultaneously personal and mythological, allowing narrative, language, and inner visions to erupt from his intimate, abstract notations.

Twombly gallery
Menil Collection
Houston, Texas

Twombly was born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, and studied art in Boston and New York, then at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the early 1950s. Although he was a contemporary of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, his work soon digressed from the aims of American postwar abstraction. While prevailing tendencies of the period, such as Pop art, sought to abandon historical narratives altogether, Twombly directed his focus toward ancient, classical, and modern poetic traditions

Cy Twombly
Ode to Psyche, 1960

In the late 1950s he moved to Italy, where he produced colorful, diagrammatic works, such as Ode to Psyche (1960), that feature erotic allusions and sly jokes while maintaining an abstract charge. Shortly thereafter the sebaceous, bright colors of these works gave way to the more austere grays and blues of the “blackboard” paintings, in which terse, white scrawls and loops recall the powdery effects of chalk on a blackboard. As Twombly continued to work in various locations over the following decades—including Rome, Lexington, and his final residence, in Gaeta, Italy—places, landscapes, and natural forms came to figure prominently in his drawings, collages, photographs, and watercolors.

For Twombly, the poetic and the rational were not mutually exclusive. Collage, which engaged him briefly in 1959, then began to appear more regularly in 1971, allies Twombly to the Dadaists and their descendants, such as Rauschenberg and Johns. Visual information from everyday life—travel postcards, reproductions of paintings, scientific illustrations, personal drawings, and more—entered his work as a way to explore the potential of both structure and meaning.

Cy Twombly
Souveniers of Time
Gagosian Gallery, Rome

During these days where one folds into another, there is a timeless quality that reminds the LRFA blog of the often-called poet of the art world, Cy Twombly’s exhibit, Souvenirs of Time, at its beautiful two-story space on via Francesco Crispi , the street leading to the Hassler Hotel. Cy Twombly (1928–2011) developed a gestural vocabulary in which each line and color is infused with energy, spirituality, and meaning. Emerging as a prominent figure in the mid-1950s following extensive travels throughout Europe and North Africa, he produced works that are simultaneously personal and mythological, allowing narrative, language, and inner visions to erupt from his intimate, abstract notations.

Urs Fischer at Gagosian, Rome

An American expat, Twombly was born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, and studied art in Boston and New York, then at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the early 1950s. Although he was a contemporary of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, his work soon digressed from the aims of American postwar abstraction. While prevailing tendencies of the period, such as Pop art, sought to abandon historical narratives altogether, Twombly directed his focus toward ancient, classical, and modern poetic traditions.

Piero Golia at Gagosian, Rome

In the late 1950s he moved to Italy, where he produced colorful, diagrammatic works, such as Ode to Psyche (1960), that feature erotic allusions and sly jokes while maintaining an abstract charge. Shortly thereafter the sebaceous, bright colors of these works gave way to the more austere grays and blues of the “blackboard” paintings, in which terse, white scrawls and loops recall the powdery effects of chalk on a blackboard. As Twombly continued to work in various locations over the following decades—including Rome, Lexington, and his final residence, in Gaeta, Italy—places, landscapes, and natural forms came to figure prominently in his drawings, collages, photographs, and watercolors.

For Twombly, the poetic and the rational were not mutually exclusive. Collage, which engaged him briefly in 1959, then began to appear more regularly in 1971, allies Twombly to the Dadaists and their descendants, such as Rauschenberg and Johns. Visual information from everyday life—travel postcards, reproductions of paintings, scientific illustrations, personal drawings, and more—entered his work as a way to explore the potential of both structure and meaning.

From his student days on, Twombly also captured his daily life in photographs. He recorded the verdant landscapes of Virginia and the coasts of Italy; close-up details of ancient buildings and sculptures; studio interiors; and still lifes of objects and flowers. Beginning in the early 1990s, he used specialized copiers to enlarge his Polaroid images on matte paper, resulting in subtle distortions that approximate the timeless qualities of his paintings and sculptures.

In 1995 the Cy Twombly Gallery opened across the street from the Menil Collection in Houston. A collaboration between the Menil, Dia Foundation, and Twombly himself, the gallery serves as a permanent home for a number of important works made between 1953 and 2004. Included is the series of paintings Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair (1985), which features floral forms in deep reds, pinks, and purples, with quotations from Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, and Giacomo Leopardi. In 2010 Twombly was selected to install a permanent work at the Louvre: a painted ceiling for the Salle des Bronzes. The Ceiling spans 3,750 square feet and pays homage to the greatest Hellenic sculptors, from Phidias to Praxiteles, each of their names inscribed over an immense blue sky populated by floating, cosmic orbs.