Living Colour: Lee Krasner, Barbican Art Gallery.

Joy, oh joy this exhibition is fabulous. An exhibition of the work of pioneering Abstract Expressionist artist Lee Krasner (1908-1984) and what a coup for the Barbican – the first European exhibition for over 50 years of her work. The exhibition will then tour to Frankfurt, Bern and Bilbao.

Living Colour features nearly 100 works-many on show, in the UK for the first time – across her 50 year career, and tells the story of a formidable artist whose importance has often been eclipsed by her marriage to Jackson Pollock.

Lee Krasner 1938 photographer unknown
Lee Krasner 1938 photographer unknown

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said ‘We are thrilled to be staging Lee Krasner: Living Colour. Despite featuring in museum collections around the world and being one of the few women to have a solo show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, in 1984, Krasner has not received the recognition she deserves in Europe, making this an exciting opportunity for visitors here to experience the sheer impact of her work.”

Lee Krasner Abstract No 2 1946
Lee Krasner Abstract No 2 1946

The exhibition celebrates Krasner’s spirit for invention –including striking early self portraits, a body of energetic charcoal life drawings; original photographs of her proposed department store window displays, designed during the war effort and her acclaimed ‘Little Image’ paintings form the 1940s with their tightly controlled geometrics. It also featured collages comprised of torn-up earlier work and a selection of her most impressive large scale abstract paintings.

Lee Krasner Icarus 1964
Lee Krasner Icarus 1964

  Krasner was determined to find new ways to capture inner experience. As playwright Edward Albee commented at her memorial at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in both her life and her work ‘ she looked you in the eye, and you dare not flinch’.

Lee Krasner painting Portrait in Green in her studio in Springs, NY,1969. Photograph by Mark Patiky
Lee Krasner painting Portrait in Green in her studio in Springs, NY,1969. Photograph by Mark Patiky

The work is accompanied by rare photography and film from the period, in an elegant exhibition design by David Copperfield Architects. There is a very nice fully illustrated Thames and Hudson book to accompany the exhibition £35 www.barbican.org/artgallery

Lee Krasner Desert Moon 1955. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Lee Krasner Desert Moon 1955. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The exhibition will run until the 1st of September at the Barbican Art Gallery and you can book tickets HERE

Review: Juliet Bawden

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