This comprehensive exhibition brings together six decades of Robert Ryman’s vital paintings, ranging in date from the 1950s through the 2000s. Since the 1950s, Ryman’s works have been both readily identified and identifiable by their achromatic surfaces. Viewers see and experience these painted frequencies of light as the color white, but Ryman’s radical exploration of the tonal values, light reflections, and spatial effects of white were never limited to paint. Very early on his experimentations with canvas, board, and paper expanded to include aluminum, fiberglass, and Plexiglas, before evolving into a material vocabulary that is as revolutionary as his use of various white hues. As such, Ryman’s works are often discussed in relation to Abstract Expressionism as well as Minimalism and Postminimalism.
Curated by Courtney J. Martin, Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Brown University, with Megan Witko, Assistant Curator at Dia, this exhibition builds on Dia’s deep relationship with the artist. Dia presented an exhibition of Ryman’s paintings at the former Dia Center for the Arts in New York City in 1988, and has maintained a long-term presentation of his work at Dia:Beacon since 2003.
Robert Ryman is made possible by major support from The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston and Fady Jameel. Generous support is provided by Frances Bowes, Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg, Karyn Kohl, Genny and Selmo Nissenbaum, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and Marissa Sackler. Additional support is provided by Christopher M. Bass, Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, Linda and Harry Macklowe, and Virginia Wright.
Generous funding for the symposium is provided by Pace Gallery.
Dia:Chelsea, New York City
December 9, 2015–July 30, 2016
Museo Jumex, Mexico City
March 4–April 30, 2017
Robert Ryman was born in Nashville in 1930. He died in New York City in 2019.