Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry
Minnesota, 1980. Oil on canvas (four panels), 102 1/2 x 243 inches (260.4 x 617.2 cm). Collection of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York. © Estate of Joan Mitchell.
Press Release from the Poetry Foundation
CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, presents Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry, an exhibition featuring the large-scale quadriptych painting, Minnesota (1980), as well as photographs, letters, artists’ books, and print portfolios Mitchell created in collaboration with various poets. The exhibit opens February 4th, 2013 and will run through May 31st 2013. The Poetry Foundation gallery is open weekdays 11 AM – 4 PM, and admission is free.
Joan Mitchell (1925–1992), an abstract expressionist, was born and raised in Chicago, where her mother, Marion Strobel, was associate editor at Poetry magazine. Poetry was fundamental to Mitchell’s sensibility and influenced her artistic practice. Many of her closest personal and professional relationships throughout her life were with poets. This exhibition explores her connections and collaborations with poets including Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson, Charles Hine, Nathan Kernan, and her mother.
There are only two other paintings by Mitchell on public display in Chicago - City Landscape (1955) hangs in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute, and an untitled painting from 1961 hangs in the Landes Gallery for Modern Art and Design at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum. These earlier paintings display a different sensibility and palette than the painter’s later work, explains Laura Morris, Archivist at the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York. The Joan Mitchell Foundation is cosponsoring the exhibition appearing at the Poetry Foundation.
“This is the first-ever exhibition of this sort for Mitchell to be held in Chicago,” says Morris. “Although her paintings have been featured in shows in New York considering the relationships between poetry and painting, this collaboration with the Poetry Foundation is particularly significant because it connects Mitchell’s work to Chicago, to Poetry magazine, and to Marion Strobel, and is unique, in that it includes archival materials that illuminate these relationships.”
Full-color, glossy reproductions of Mitchell’s paintings and other visual work, reminiscences written by poets and writers who knew her personally or had a personal connection to her work, family photographs, as well as a poem by Mitchell herself, composed at age 10 - appears in the February 2013 issue of Poetry.
“This show offers a unique opportunity to spend time with Mitchell’s Minnesota in a beautifully lit and meditative space,” said Morris. “The Poetry Foundation is the ideal setting for the exhibition, because I believe the sort of intense and careful looking that can happen when a single painting is shown is very similar to the attention involved in reading a poem. If Mitchell were still alive, one hopes she would be thrilled to see her work in this luminous, poetic gallery – and even more so because of its connection to the magazine her mother held dear and its location in her home town.”
Tours and workshops will be available for groups, and a Symposium on Joan Mitchell exploring the intersections of visual art and poetry will be held later this spring.
Groups wishing to tour the exhibition or those wanting to learn more about the Symposium should contact [email protected] to schedule a visit.
Find information about other Poetry Foundation events at www.poetryfoundation.org/events.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.
About Poetry Magazine
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet. In 2011, the magazine was honored with two National Magazine Awards. It celebrated its centennial in 2012.
About the Joan Mitchell Foundation
The Joan Mitchell Foundation celebrates the legacy of Joan Mitchell and expands her vision to support the aspiration and development of diverse contemporary artists. Through art education programs, artist grants, exhibitions and publications, partnerships with arts organizations, and an artist-in-residence program at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, the Foundation works to broaden the recognition of artists and their essential contributions to communities and society.
POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070
Media contact: Stephanie Hlywak, 312.799.8016
Photos by Nathan Keay, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.
Downloads and Links
Joan Mitchell Foundation produced an educational poster to assist educators in engaging students with the exhibition. Download here: PDF download, 3 MB.