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Rapt sight

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“Memorial” by Ellsworth Kelly at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC (Photo: Edward Owen) paired with a vintage Celine angular cuff.


Ellsworth Kelly, a solitary visionary of 20th century abstract art, died on Sunday at the age of 92. Here, his installation for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which NY Times art critic Holland Cotter described as “one of his most moving installations, though, of his quietest.” All white, “Memorial” centers on a fan-shaped form facing a triptych of rectangular panels – a dynamic suggesting a dove rising above closed windows. A perfectly concise visual memorial to so many lives lost – and now his.

We are left with his wonders – including the yet-to-be-built Austin structure – and his words. “I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity, a sense of opposing the chaos of daily living,” he told The Times in 1996. “This is an illusion, of course. What I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture of seeing.” The rapture of seeing through his eyes will live on in his art.


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