The Menil Collection in Houston and the Dia Art Foundation in New York have announced that next year they will host the first major exhibition of Greek-born artist Chryssa’s work in the U.S. since 1982.
Chryssa & New York will feature work the artist made while she lived in the city from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. The focal point of the exhibition will be the 10-foot-tall by 10-foot-wide by 10-foot-deep sculptural work The Gates to Times Square. Made in the mid 1960s with neon, plexiglass, and metal, the piece was recently restored for the upcoming exhibition. Alongside this large-scale work, transitional pieces that served as studies will also be on view. Dozens of other pieces on loan from museums across the U.S. and Europe will be displayed, including the Cycladic Books, a series of plaster and clay reliefs.
Accompanying the exhibition will be the first major publication about Chryssa in three decades. Edited by Sophia Larigakis and co-curators Megan Holly Witko and the Menil’s Michelle White, the book will include text by the following contributors: Ms. Holly Witko; Ms. White; Joy Bloser, Assistant Objects Conservator at the Menil Collection; Lisa Cohen, Associate Professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; Matt Dilling, Creative Director and Partner at Lite Brite Neon; Jonathan D. Katz, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden; independent scholar Kalliopi Minioudaki; and Tina Rivers Ryan, Assistant Curator at Buffalo AKG Art Museum.
In a press release announcing the exhibitions, Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie De Gunzburg Director, stated, “Though celebrated in her time, Chryssa’s work is now rarely seen. The art on view will represent her prescient use of neon and industrial processes in sculpture and demonstrate some of her key concerns: abstraction, language, and technical innovation. I am delighted that Dia and the Menil Collection, institutions with a rich history of collaboration, are mounting this important exhibition for audiences across the United States.”
Rebecca Rabinow, Director of the Menil Collection provided context for the collaboration, explaining that Dia and the Menil were both established by the de Menil family. Dia was founded in 1974 by Heiner Friedrich, Helen Winkler, and Phillippa de Menil, the daughter of Menil Collection founders Dominique and John de Menil. The two organizations have partnered on exhibitions of work by Joseph Beuys, Brice Marden, and Blinky Palermo.
Ms. White, Senior Curator of the Menil Collection, added, “Chryssa was a leader within avant-garde circles while she lived in New York. Her fascination with the sparkling and text-filled urban space of Times Square led to work that not only addresses but also radically deploys the phenomena of this commercial environment. It therefore constitutes some of the earliest art that critically incorporated these then-new material forms of communication.”
Chryssa & New York will debut at Dia Chelsea in March 2023 and will then open at the Menil Collection in September 2023. In 2024, the exhibition will travel to Wrightwood 659, an exhibition space in Chicago housed in a 1920s building transformed by architect Tadao Ando.