Provincetown Art Association and Museum Presents Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown

Arts and Entertainment

February 19, 2018

From: Provincetown Art Association And Museum

This summer, Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) presents Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown, an exhibition of paintings by one of the most influential abstract artists of her time. The focus of the exhibition—one of the largest in PAAM’s history—is the work Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) created in Provincetown between 1950 and 1969, offering a new perspective on this aspect of her oeuvre.

Curated by Lise Motherwell, a stepdaughter of the artist and PAAM Board President, and Elizabeth Smith, Founding Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation (HFF), the exhibition is on view from July 6 through September 2, 2018.

PAAM Executive Director Christine McCarthy states, “A major part of PAAM’s mission is to bring works created in Provincetown back to where they were made, and to identify the threads that link the artists who made them with America’s oldest continuous art colony. This significant body of Frankenthaler’s work represents an important period in American art history, and we are thrilled to be working with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and museum collections from around the country to make the exhibition a reality.”

In 1950, at the encouragement of art critic Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler studied briefly in Provincetown with Hans Hofmann. Following her marriage to Robert Motherwell in 1958, she spent more than a decade of summers living and working there. Abstract Climates: Helen Frankenthaler in Provincetown presents key examples of Frankenthaler’s work, beginning with those made in that first summer at Hofmann’s studio school, but focusing on the period from the late 1950s through 1969, shortly before her marriage to Motherwell ended.

The exhibition includes intimately scaled works Frankenthaler made while studying with Hofmann and large canvases that reference the sea and landscape of Provincetown, painted in her various studios there. It also features photographs, letters, and memorabilia that shed light on the artist’s process, with an emphasis on the meaning of the place and its impact on her development as a painter.

Slated for July and August, PAAM will present a series of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition. These will include gallery talks and lectures by scholars of Frankenthaler’s work and others who knew her. The series will be launched on July 7, at 2 pm, with a lecture titled Helen and High Water, by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Distinguished Curator and Lecturer at the Princeton University Art Museum; and Consultant for Special Exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery.

Other speakers will include Phyllis Tuchman, independent curator, scholar, and art critic: Helen Frankenthaler: From the Heart, July 14, 2 pm; and Avis Berman, writer, curator, and historian of American art, architecture, and culture: Helen Frankenthaler: Voices from the Archives, August 11, 2pm.

Also featured will be a screening of the 1978 Perry Miller Adato film, Toward a New Climate, first broadcast as part of the WNET Channel Thirteen series, The Originals: Women in Art (date to be determined); and a free opening reception on Friday, July 6, at 8pm.

October–May, 12 to 5pm, Thursday–Sunday, and also by appointment; and daily at 11am, June 1–September 30. General admission, $10.

Cost: Free to members and children 12 and under.

Date: July 6 through September 2, 2018

Location: Provincetown Art Association and Museum