In Conversation

All The Chaos I Could Stand: Katy Rogers on Robert Motherwell’s Lyric Suite

Presenting more than sixty works on paper and staged in partnership with The Dedalus Foundation, Robert Motherwell’s Lyric Suite went on view at 297 Tenth Avenue from April 28 to June 4, 2022, marking the fifth solo presentation of work by the artist at the gallery. This talk, held in the exhibition space, features Katy Rogers (Programs Director, The Dedalus Foundation) and Eric Gleason (Senior Director, Kasmin) discussing this unique series of work.

Conceived by Motherwell as an enterprise of free and vigorous drawing, the Lyric Suite series was executed over the course of a few short weeks and consists of identically scaled compositions analogous to an extended series of musical variations. A virtuosic display of Motherwell’s graphic invention, the works possess a significant emotive power and represent a profound meditation on the history of drawing and of mark making itself.

The Lyric Suite drawings owe their distinctive sense of materiality in part to the delicate, translucent qualities of the unryu paper on which they’re rendered, purchased impulsively by the artist in a Japanese store in New York. At 9 x 11 inches, their tightness of scale presented a novel challenge for the artist whose monumental Elegies and Open paintings helped define the heroic visual language of Abstract Expressionism. Embodying Motherwell’s instinctive mastery of color and form, they were accomplished in a manner verging on automatism, fed by a complex interaction of the artist’s recent ideas and experiences.

Katy Rogers is Programs Director of the Dedalus Foundation and Director of the Robert Motherwell catalogue raisonné project. She is co-author of the catalogue raisonné of Robert Motherwell’s paintings and collages and her catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s drawings will be published by Yale University Press in November 2022.

Eric Gleason is a Senior Director at Kasmin where he is the primary representative for several of the artist’s estates, notably Constantin Brancusi, Barry Flanagan, Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell and George Rickey. Gleason also works closely with a number of the prominent contemporary artists at the gallery, specifically Diana Al-Hadid, Theodora Allen, Judith Bernstein, Roxy Paine, and Jan-Ole Schiemann.

Videography by Zack Shorrosh

To visit the exhibition’s Online Viewing Room, click here.