Although many of the exhibitions on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center are often loaned to the museum through external galleries and collections, XL, the Loeb’s exhibit beginning on January 30th, will feature works from the Loeb’s Permanent Collection.
Mary-Kay Lombino, the Emily Hargroves Fisher ‘57 and Richard B. Fisher Curator and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning, wrote in an emailed statement about this event, “There are 19 works in the exhibition but there are many more large-scale works in the collection. There were are least another 10 works that could have qualified to be in the exhibition.”
While the works featured in the exhibit may be familiar to those well acquainted with the Loeb, the pieces on display will be re-contextualized by being grouped together in one display. Lombino wrote, “Because of the limitations of our galleries, its very rare that the Art Center has a chance to show a large number of large-scale paintings. Some of these paintings have not been shown in years, some are new acquisitions, some have been moved from the 20th-century galleries to be seen in a new context, and never have they been shown all together.”
The idea for the exhibit came from the desire to group works together based solely on a purely physical component: their scale. “A few years ago, I organized an [exhibition] from the permanent collection on abstraction called Pictures of Nothing. I included a number of paintings and works on paper from the Art Center’s collection that fit within three major themes. At that time, I wanted to show more of the large-scale work, but it just wasn’t possible to fit very many in and still highlight the best abstract works that related to the themes,” said Lombino.
She continued, “When it came time to organize another exhibition entirely from the permanent collection, I decided it would be great to only focus on scale, which allowed me to include all large works.”
XL: Large-Scale Modern Paintings from the Permanent Collection will be on display from January 30 through March 29. The show will display nineteen mural-sized works, ranging from 64-194 inches in width and 44-110 inches in height. The show will feature the works of artists Kevin Appel, Milton Avery, Ross Bleckner, Joan Brown, Roger Brown, Nancy Graves, Grace Hartigan, Joyce Kozloff, Alfred Leslie, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Lawrence Poons, Mark Rothko, Hedda Sterne, Neil Welliver and Christopher Winter, all created from 1948 through 2005.
Apart from the novel arrangement and wide variety of works, the creators of the exhibition also aim to make it be a more active relationship with the viewers. Lombino commented on this relationship, “Well, the first thing viewers will notice is that the galleries are very full and seem smaller than usual. The work dominates the space. Many of the works give one impression from a distance and a completely different one at close range. So, viewers might find themselves backing away and stepping close to the work, moving around to get another sense of the work. Viewing the work becomes less passive and more of an dynamic experience.”