Ellsworth Kelly: Small Sculpture 1958-87

ShowingDecember 19, 1987 - March 27, 1988

This exhibition is the sixth in an exhibition series designed to investigate the formal vocabularies of major 20th-century sculptors who are represented by major works on the MIT campus.


The exhibition focuses on two periods of Kelly’s sculptural investigation: the decade in New York beginning in 1954, following his return from six years of study and work in Paris; and the last fifteen years since he relocated his home and studio from New York City to upstate New York. Curator and Acting Director Katy Kline wrote in the exhibition brochure, “Works have been selected to represent his deft touch with both straight and curved edges (both mathematically plotted and drawn free-hand) and to include his two time-honored materials, wood and metal, with the many different finishes which inflect their austerity and give them such individual voices.”


Since 1980 MIT has displayed Kelly’s large Curve XII in the Hayden Library Building on Memorial Drive. The delicate tension of the arc pushing against the straight right angles of the sculpture’s architectural background illustrates Kelly’s ability to exploit the tension between a rigidly ordered geometry and the looser organic tendencies.


During the time of this exhibition, Kelly’s works on paper and seven major paintings are on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, December 6 – January 31, 1988.


There is a public preview of this exhibition and for LA Hot and Cool on December 18, 5 to 7pm.


Catalogue with essay by Katy Kline.