JUNE 21 – SEPTEMBER 22, 2013

On June 20, the Des Moines Art Center will open the exhibition Phyllida Barlow: Scree, which runs through September 22, 2013 in the Upper I. M. Pei and Anna K. Meredith galleries. Organized by Senior Curator Gilbert Vicario, Scree will include six large-scale sculptural installations, more than 60 works on paper, and a group of work from the Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections selected by the artist. Since the 1960s, Phyllida Barlow (born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1944) has produced a unique and dynamic body of work focused on the investigation into materiality, form, and process in the wake of the Minimalist and Post-minimalist art movements of the 60s and 70s. Counter to the reductive, hard-edged, and industrially-manufactured works of artists such as Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, and Dan Flavin, Barlow works with diverse materials on a size and scale that creates massive organic shapes and accumulations that directly relate to the urban environment. 

Phyllida Barlow’s exhibition for the Des Moines Art Center will both respond to and reside within the architecture of the I. M. Pei wing of the museum. Built in 1968, this classically Brutalist architecture with its poured concrete structure, rigid geometry, and expansive windows forms the perfect backdrop to the artist’s continual investigation of and response to the Minimalist legacy. A current preoccupation for Barlow centers on the notion of gravity and verticality. The Pei wing will provide ample opportunity to explore these aspects given its 15-foot ceiling height. The works chosen from the Art Center’s Permanent Collections will occupy the Anna K. Meredith gallery, and will comprise objects in dialogue with a selection of her drawings produced between 1965 and 2013. These include works of art by Gustave Courbet, Henri Matisse, Magdalena Abakanawicz, Louise Bourgeois, and Lee Bontecou, among others. This two-pronged exhibition model will expose North American audiences to the immensely creative practice of an under-recognized artist, while providing a new perspective and engaging analysis of key works in the Art Center’s Permanent Collections. Phyllida Barlow: Scree will be accompanied by a forthcoming fully illustrated catalog documenting the exhibition installation, along with contributions by Vicario, Barlow, and Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha.

Phyllida Barlow: Scree is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Substance Architecture.

phyllida barlow: scree
Installation view, Des Moines Art Center, I. M. Pei building
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photography © Paul Crosby

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