PROVINCETOWN, Mass. – Provincetown Art Association and Museum will present an exhibition of work by Robert Motherwell, July 20-Sept. 30. “Robert Motherwell: Beside the Sea,” curated by Lise Motherwell and Daniel Ranalli, will present rare work created by the artist in his Provincetown studio during the summer of 1942.
2012 is a milestone year as it marks the 70th anniversary of the artist’s first visit to Provincetown, Mass., and the 50th anniversary of the creation of his Beside the Sea series, based on his experiences living in the small outer Cape Cod town. This is the first major exhibition of Motherwell’s work on Cape Cod and provides a never before-seen look at many pieces held in private collections.
The art of Robert Motherwell has national and international significance and is included in the collections of numerous national and international institutions and numerous private collections.
Distinguished critic John Yau writes in his essay Beside the Sea: Robert Motherwell in Provincetown how Motherwell drew direct inspiration for this series from what he observed from his seaside studio on Commercial Street in Provincetown. To illustrate, he points to a conversation Motherwell had with art historian H. H. Arnason:
“For years my summer studio has been directly on the bay in Provincetown on Cape Cod. There is a 900-foot tidal flat, and, just as one can play ball games at low tide, at high tide the sea in a high wind breaks against the bulkhead in violent spray. In the Beside the Sea Series, I made the painted spray with such physical force that the strong rag paper split, and it was only when I found rag paper laminated with glue in five layers that the surface could take the full force of my shoulder, arm, hand and brush without splitting. One might say that the true way to ‘imitate’ nature is to employ its own processes.”
Provincetown Art Association and Museum will be offering several public programs to accompany this exhibition with lectures by Jack Flam, president of the Dedalus Foundation which was founded by Robert Motherwell to foster public understanding of modern art and Modernism; John Yau, art critic and author of the Beside the Sea: Robert Motherwell in Provincetown; and Catherine Mosley, artist and Motherwell’s master printmaker from 1978-1991.
Exhibiting concurrently with the Motherwell show is “Long Point: An Artists’ Place,” curated by Mary E. Abell and featuring the work of numerous artists from the legendary co-op gallery, including Motherwell himself who was one of the founders in 1977.
The opening reception for “Robert Motherwell: Beside the Sea” is Friday, July 20, from 8-10 p.m. and is free and open to the public. This exhibition is on display from July 20-Sept. 30.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum was established in 1914 by a group of artists and townspeople to build a permanent collection of works by artists of outer Cape Cod, and to exhibit art that would allow for unification within the community. PAAM, located at 460 Commercial St., is open (October-May) noon to 5 p.m., Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, also open by appointment; (Memorial Day-September) 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. General admission $7; free to members and children 12 and under. For more information, call 508-487-1750 or visit www.paam.org.
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