The Long Run at MoMA Includes Works by Joan Mitchell
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

On view at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Long Run focuses on works in the museum’s collection that date from the latter part of the featured artists’ careers. The show includes a room of five works by Joan Mitchell—three large paintings titled No Rain (1976), Wood, Wind, No Tuba (1980), and Taillade (1990), an etching called Sunflower IV (1972), and an untitled pastel work from 1992, the year of the artist’s death. Over the course of her more than four-decade career, Mitchell established a singular visual vocabulary rooted in the conventions of abstraction, yet with an inventive reinterpretation of the traditional figure-ground relationship and synesthetic use of color that set her apart from her peers. The artist’s intuitively constructed and emotionally charged compositions alternately conjure individuals, observations, places, and points in time.

A review by Thomas Micchelli in Hyperallergic praises this reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection to include more works by women and artists of color, "proving once again that once museums cease reflexively returning to an established canon and approach their collections with a broader worldview, the results, more often than not, replace the so-so with the superb."

"It’s not that Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Willem de Kooning, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly are missing," he continues, noting that some of the most compelling rooms were those dedicated to a single artist, "but that their late works are met and matched by those of Agnes Martin, Melvin Edwards, Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Murray, Ed Clark, Joan Mitchell, and Joan Jonas, to name a few, who infiltrate the familiar halls of modernism with an unexpected aggregate of the ecstatic."

Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) have announced a major retrospective of Mitchell’s work in 2020 which will also travel to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York the following year. Curated by BMA’s Katy Siegel and SFMOMA’s Sarah Roberts, the exhibition will trace Mitchell’s career from its New York beginnings to later large-scale abstract works made in France, where she lived from 1959 until 1992. The show will be twice as large as the Whitney Museum of American Art’s retrospective in 2002, which presented some sixty works by Mitchell.

Images: Installation view, The Long Run, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017. © 2017 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Martin Seck

 Cover Image: Joan Mitchell, No Rain, 1976 (detail), oil on canvas, two panels, 9' 2" x 13' 1 /58" (279.5 x 400.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of The Estate of Joan Mitchell. © Estate of Joan Mitchell.