Joan Mitchell: I carry my landscapes around with me
Texts by Suzanne Hudson and Robert Slifkin
I carry my landscapes around with me focuses on American abstract artist Joan Mitchell’s large-scale multipanel works from the 1960s through the 1990s.
Mitchell’s exploration of the possibilities afforded by combining two to five large canvases allowed her to simultaneously create continuity and rupture, while opening up a panoramic expanse referencing landscapes or the memory of landscapes.
Mitchell established a singular approach to abstraction over the course of her career. Her inventive reinterpretation of the traditional figure- ground relationship and synesthetic use of color set her apart from her peers, resulting in intuitively constructed and emotionally charged compositions that alternately evoke individuals, observations, places, and points in time. Art critic John Yau lauded her paintings as “one of the towering achievements of the postwar period.”
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner New York in 2019, this book offers a unique opportunity to explore the range of scale and formal experimentation of this innovative area of Mitchell’s extensive body of work. It not only features reproductions of each painting in this selection as a whole, but also numerous details that allow an intimate understanding of the surface texture and brushwork. In the complementing essays, Suzanne Hudson examines boundaries, borders, and edges in Mitchell’s multipanel paintings, beginning with her first work of this kind, The Bridge (1956), considering them as both physical and conceptual objects; Robert Slifkin discusses the dynamics of repetition and energy in the artist’s paintings, in relation to works by Monet and Willem de Kooning, among others.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Artists: Joan Mitchell
Contributors: Suzanne Hudson, Robert Slifkin
Designer: Mike Dyer, Remake Design
Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona
Publication Date: March 2020
Dimensions: 10 × 14 in | 25.4 × 35.6 cm
Reproductions: 57 color
Retail: $60 | £50
Born in Chicago and educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, from which she received a BFA (1947) and an MFA (1950), Joan Mitchell moved in 1949 to New York, where she was an active participant in the downtown arts scene. She began splitting her time between Paris and New York in 1955, before moving permanently to France in 1959. In 1968, Mitchell settled in Vétheuil, a small village northwest of Paris, while continuing to exhibit her work throughout the United States and Europe. It was in Vétheuil that she began regularly hosting artists at various stages of their careers, providing space and support to develop their art. When Mitchell passed away in 1992, her will specified that a portion of her estate should be used to establish a foundation to directly support visual artists.
Suzanne Hudson is professor of art history and fine arts at the University of Southern California.
Robert Slifkin is an associate professor of fine arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He is the author of The New Monuments and the End of Man: U.S. Sculpture between War and Peace, 1945–1975 (2019) and Out of Time: Philip Guston and the Refiguration of Postwar American Art (2013), which was awarded the Phillips Book Prize. His essays and reviews have appeared in such magazines and journals as Artforum, Art in America, Art Bulletin, Art Journal, October, Oxford Art Journal, and Racquet.