ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Helen Frankenthaler Virtual Reality
Originally presented February 11, 2021, through May 23, 2021, Helen Frankenthaler: Late Works, 1990–2003 was the first museum presentation dedicated to the exploration of works from Helen Frankenthaler’s late life, featuring approximately 22 works on paper dating from 1990 to 2003—some measuring over 6 feet. This virtual reality experience allows the show to live on beyond its time at the NBMAA and enables a larger audience to explore Frankenthaler’s later works.
This virtual exhibition was created by IKD, an award-winning architectural MBE design firm based in Boston and San Francisco operating at the intersection of art, architecture, culture, and community.
How to Navigate the Virtual Exhibition Space
When the user first enters the virtual reality exhibition space, they find themselves directed toward the title wall, which provides an overview of the exhibition. With their volume on, the user can listen to an introductory voiceover by curator Douglas Dreishpoon as they explore the works in the exhibition. To navigate the space, the user clicks on the circle icons on the floor or on one of the eight white dots in the miniature gallery plan located in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Each of Frankenthaler’s works in the show can be seen close-up by clicking on any of the objects throughout the galleries.
Additional information about the exhibition can be found in the menu along the bottom of the screen. To learn more about Frankenthaler’s life and work, users can experience many educational offerings, including a digital brochure, as well as recordings of the Virtual Opening Remarks and a Gallery Talk led by curator Douglas Dreishpoon.
A highlight is the opportunity to watch a series of videos related to ColorFields—a program interpreting visual image and spoken word through the vocabulary of dance and movement. Presented in partnership with the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP) and the Frankenthaler Foundation, ColorFields was a deep exploration into Helen Frankenthaler’s work and process to bring her inspirations and creative choices to life for audiences to ponder. Under the COLORFIELDS tab on the menu, users can watch the filmed performances, interviews with the dancers, and a Virtual Gallery Talk with JDPP’s founder and artistic director Judy Dworin.
About Helen Frankenthaler: Late Works, 1990–2003
The exhibition was curated by Douglas Dreishpoon, Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Catalogue Raisonné and Chief Curator Emeritus of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, with loans from the collection of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.
Frankenthaler (1928–2011), whose career spanned six decades, has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the 20th century. She was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters and is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting while referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. In later years, her practice continued to evolve through her use of diverse media and processes, as she shifted from painting canvas on the floor to using larger sheets of paper that were laid out on the floor or on tabletops for easier accessibility. The continuity between the late work and what came before is striking, as Frankenthaler continued to move in intuitive directions that were inspired by her mood and imagination.
About the Curator
Douglas Dreishpoon is currently Director of the Catalogue Raisonné project at the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York City, and Chief Curator Emeritus at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. His writing has been published in numerous catalogues, magazines, and journals. Recent publications include ROBERT MANGOLD: Beyond the Line | Paintings and Project 2000–2008 (Abrams, 2009); The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Skira, 2011); Giving Up One’s Mark: Helen Frankenthaler in the 1960s and 1970s (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2014); Nothing and Everything: Seven Artists, 1947–1962 (Hauser & Wirth, 2017), and What is Modern Sculpture? (University of California Press, forthcoming). He holds a PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
About the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational, and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, and advancing educational initiatives in partnership with arts organizations around the world. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.
Helen Frankenthaler Late Works, 1990–2003 was part of 2020/20+ Women @ NBMAA presented by Stanley Black and Decker with additional support provided by Bank of America.
This exhibition was made possible by the generosity of the Special Exhibition Fund donors, including John N. Howard, Sylvia Bonney, and The Aeroflex Foundation. We also gratefully acknowledge the funding of Marian and Russell Burke and Carolyn and Elliot Joseph.
This exhibition was also made possible by The Chase Family Foundations and the Bailey Fund for Special Exhibitions.