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Robert Therrien

Wednesday, July 3–Sunday, October 27, 2013

Robert Therrien (American, born 1947). No title (snowman), 1989. Silver on bronze, 34 x 16 x 16 inches (86.3 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The Panza Collection and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund and Charles Clifton Fund, by exchange, 2008. © 2013 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

On View in the 1905 Albright Building

In summer 2013, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery will present a concise survey of work by the Los Angeles–based artist Robert Therrien. Since the 1970s, Therrien (born 1947) has created work sourced from memory and the everyday—a snowman, a chapel, a coffin, a keyhole, a stack of plates—coaxing humble elements into surreal configurations through abstraction, repetition, color, and scale. In his practice, household shapes become unfamiliar, colors appear simple yet indistinguishably enigmatic, and references to known things are evoked and then deliberately blurred. His modestly sized, exquisitely hand-wrought early sculptures are minimal, simplified shapes abstracted from reality, and his later works, despite their industrialized and imposing presence, can also be readily identified as having a basis in real life. Large in scale, highly fabricated, and often distorted, they become less real even as they are more recognizable.

Reflecting the Gallery’s mission to acquire the work of contemporary artists in depth, this exhibition began with eight objects drawn from the Albright-Knox’s Collection, including pivotal early works from the 1980s, along with works on paper and an iconic large-scale folding table and chair set completed in 2006. From this core of works, which was acquired in recent years from the renowned Panza Collection, the exhibition evolved to encompass highlights from the artist’s nearly forty-year career, including key examples from the 1970s to the present day. While primarily focusing on Therrien’s sculptural output, the exhibition also contains mixed-media works, a collection of exquisite works on paper, and a gallery dedicated to the collaboration between Therrien, the Buffalo-based poet Robert Creeley (1926–2005), and the writer Michel Butor (French, born 1926).

This exhibition is organized by guest curator Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator, The Contemporary Austin.

This exhibition has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of Gagosian Gallery.

Additional support for the exhibition catalogue has been provided by Linda Brown, MaddocksBrown Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Gallery admission is required to view this special exhibition on M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY

Related Events

Educators’ Workshop: Robert Therrien
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 4–7 pm

FREE for Educators

After Hours @ AK: Through the Looking Glass: Robert Therrien
Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 5:30–8 pm 
FREE for After Hours @ AK Partners and Members at the $300 level and above

Members' Receptions
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 5–7 pm
Thursday, October 24, 2013, 5–7 pm

Related Lesson Plans

Robert Therrien: Tall Tales (For Grades K–12)
Featuring Robert Therrien's No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006

Robert Therrien: Poetry in 3D (For Grades 5–12)
Featuring Robert Therrien's No title (snowman), 1989; No title (red chapel), 1985; and No title (yellow hat), 1986; as well as the book 7 & 6: Robert Creeley, Robert Therrien, Michel Butor, 1988