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April 25. 2013 12:57PM

Currier Museum acquires works by pop artist Robert Indiana, abstract artists Frank Stella, Sam Gilliam

MANCHESTER - The Currier Museum of Art has acquired major works by Pop artist Robert Indiana and abstract artists Frank Stella and Sam Gilliam.

"These paintings build the Currier's collection of post-World War II American art and provide our community with major examples by artists who were instrumental in the development of American painting in the second half of the 20th century," said Andrew Spahr, director of collections and exhibitions.

The title of "Singerli, Variation I, 1968," which belongs to Stella's "Protractor series," refers to an ancient city in the Near East whose exterior wall formed an almost perfect circle. The monumental paintings in this series are composed of carefully delineated bands of overlapping color created using protractors and rulers, which help define very specific geometric areas.

Stella first emerged on the national scene in the late 1950s as an artist affiliated with Minimalism. He responded to the painterly qualities of the Abstract Expressionists with works composed of bold, geometric shapes that reinforce the flatness of the canvas and reveal almost no brushwork.

"Decade Autoportrait 1963," is one of 10 paintings that Indiana created in 1971 that reflect on his life in New York City in the 1960s. The painting typifies how Indiana created bold, graphic images using words, numbers and the names of people and places that held special meaning for him during his years living in lower Manhattan.

This painting will be featured in a focus exhibition opening Nov. 27. Also on view will be the recently acquired "Decade Portfolio." This collection is comprised of 10 prints Indiana made in 1971 representing flagship works he previously developed. The range of subjects documents influences and national events that shaped Indiana's art of the 1960s; from art history and literature to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. In the 1960s, Indiana achieved worldwide acclaim for his iconic image of the word "LOVE," which he incorporated in many of his paintings, sculptures and silk screen prints, and which later became a best-selling U.S. postage stamp. His name remains indelible tied to the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

In Gilliam's "Rotunda Unwound (2005)," muslin decorated in the bold "color field" style of painting hangs in folds from the gallery wall. One of Gilliam's "Drape" paintings, its title refers to its original installation, suspended from the ceiling of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's rotunda in Washington, D.C, where Gilliam, known for had a major retrospective in 2005.

It has a flexible, rather than fixed, form, and will sometimes hang from two fixed points on the gallery wall as it is now, or from one wall anchor, or the ceiling. Gilliam began his series of Drape paintings in the late 1960s, creating works that are equal parts painting and sculpture.



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