September 7, 2011— The Menil Collection, Houston, and Dia Art Foundation, New York, will present a public program in memory of Cy Twombly, who died in Rome on July 5.
The memorial will take place at the Menil – home of the Cy Twombly Gallery, which was conceived of and created by the Menil, Dia and the artist.
Josef Helfenstein and Philippe Vergne, directors of the Menil and Dia, respectively, will participate in the program.
Other speakers and attendees include the painter Alessandro Twombly, son of the artist and the late Tatiana Franchetti; Dia co-founders Fariah de Menil Friedrich and Heiner Friedrich; Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art; Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, former Menil chief conservator, a title she now holds at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Harvard Art Museums; the art dealer Larry Gagosian; and Houston artist and jazz historian Tierney Malone.
The Cy Twombly Gallery, which opened in Houston in 1995, was designed by Renzo Piano after a sketch by Twombly himself. The eight rooms contain a veritable retrospective of the artist’s work, with painting, sculpture and works on paper dating from the 1950s to the end of the century. It reflects the de Menils’ commitment to key contemporary artists, and Dia’s mission of enabling long-term, in-depth presentations of artworks by individual artists. The gallery will be open before and after the Memorial on September 22.
Edwin Parker Twombly, Jr. (known by his father’s nickname, Cy) was born April 25, 1928, in Lexington, Virginia. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Washington and Lee University in Lexington.
In 1950, at the Art Students League in New York, Twombly met Robert Rauschenberg with whom he attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There he was introduced to John Cage and studied with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Ben Shahn.
In 1952, with a scholarship provided by the Museum of Fine Arts at Richmond, Virginia, Twombly made his first trip to Europe and to North Africa, a visit that had a profound effect on the artist.
After serving in the army, Twombly returned to New York, where he shared a studio with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In 1957, Twombly settled permanently in Italy, although he maintained studios in the United States, where he would return to work for periods of time beginning in 1960.
In 1968 the Milwaukee Art Center mounted Cy Twombly’s first retrospective exhibition. Additional retrospectives were held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1979), Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris (1988), the Museum of Modern Art (1994), and at Tate, London (2008).
In 2000 the Menil presented “Cy Twombly: The Sculpture” and in 2003 “Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper”.
In 2010 Twombly was invited to paint the ceiling of the Salle des Bronzes at the Louvre, Paris, the first artist since Georges Braque commissioned to create a work of art for that museum. In May 2011 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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