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SPECIAL TICKETED EXHIBITION
Two and two do not make four. Only accountants think that. But that is not enough: a painting must make this clear; it must fertilize the imaginationJoan Miró
The Nasher Museum presented Miró: The Experience of Seeing, a special ticketed exhibition featuring more than 50 masterpieces by Spanish-born artist Joan Miró (1893-1983). The exhibition was a rare glimpse at the later works of Miró, one of the greatest innovators of 20th-century art in Europe.
Duke was the only East Coast venue for Miró: The Experience of Seeing, a presentation of the final 20 years of Miró’s career. The exhibition included 27 sculptures, 18 paintings and six drawings, some of them more than 6 feet tall. All works were on loan from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain.
“We can’t wait for visitors to discover this joyous and inspirational exhibition,” said Sarah Schroth, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum. “Miró is one of the great masters of 20th century art, and this show reveals the tireless creativity he experienced in the last 20 years of his life. His large, gorgeous paintings are filled with unexpected energy of line and color. And you have never seen sculpture like this by Miró.”
A contemporary of Picasso, Miró was briefly aligned with the Surrealists in the late 1920s in Paris and went on to create a phenomenal pictorial and sculptural universe throughout his six-decade career. Miró: The Experience of Seeing was comprised entirely of works created between 1963 and the artist’s death in 1983, all of which came from the collection of the Museo Reina Sofía. These later works distill the styles, subjects and motifs of Miró’s work into their most essential and universal forms, as the artist sought to create an experience that would transcend the physical object.
Miró lived in Paris from 1920 until 1932, regularly traveling back to Spain until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 prevented his return home. He had become known for his dream-like paintings with a personal system of signs and symbols; once war broke out he introduced overtly political commentary into his work. Miró consistently exercised his personal freedom in his work, which in the face of political turmoil is infused with irony and anger as much as joy and tenderness. In 1940, after the war ended, Miró returned to Spain. Brilliantly inventive, the artist continually pushed the boundaries of art and had a surge of creative ideas in the decades following World War II, when he embraced entirely new techniques and media. In 1956 Miró moved to a new studio on Mallorca, where for the first time he could gather together the entirety of his production. This gave him direct access to all of his works and allowed him to take stock of the artistic achievements of four decades. He was particularly engaged by the relationship between painting and sculpture, which had not been at the center of his earliest work.
The Nasher Museum presented a detailed Miró Timeline on a large wall outside of the exhibition for visitors to enjoy. The timeline began with the artist’s birth in 1893 in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, a region near the northeastern coast of Spain, and ended with his death in 1983. One highlight: the 8-year-old Miró vacationed with his family on the island Mallorca, Spain, where he made drawings inspired by the landscape, which informed his work for the rest of his life.
The timeline was written by Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, who coordinated the exhibition at the Nasher Museum. It was designed by Rachel Goodwin, the museum’s graphic designer.
UNC-TV, in partnership with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, produced a 30-minute documentary on Miró: The Experience of Seeing that aired on public television many times throughout the exhibition. This original documentary provided an artistic and historical context to Miró’s works through stunning high-definition video, historical footage and photographs of the artist at work in his studio, and in-depth interviews with the Marshall Price, the Nasher Museum’s Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; Nasher Museum Director Sarah Schroth and Miró scholar Robert Lubar.
Miró: The Experience of Seeing was organized by the Seattle Art Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
At the Nasher Museum, Miró: The Experience of Seeing was made possible by Marilyn M. Arthur, the Estate of Dorothy Lander, Trent Carmichael, Drs. Victor and Lenore Behar, Deborah DeMott, Nancy A. Nasher and David Haemisegger, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Parker and Otis, Lisa Lowenthal Pruzan and Jonathan Pruzan, Mindy and Guy Solie, Richard Tigner, Carolyn Aaronson, Eunice and Herman Grossman, and Caroline and Arthur Rogers.
This exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.