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Memory Work | Alexandra Truitt, Miguel de Baca | An Art Book Series Event

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FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The exclusive monograph on pioneering Minimalist sculptor Anne Truitt, Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture demonstrates the evolution of an artist determined to make her way through a new aesthetic in the 1960s.

For the first time, the book’s author, Miguel de Baca, joins the artist’s daughter, Alexandra Truitt, in a conversation about the artist’s early ambitions as a writer and visual artist, her gravitation toward the theme of memory that ultimately transformed her practice, and the resonances that her extraordinary body of work has for us today.

Memory Work cover
Memory Work
(University of California Press, 2015)

Memory Work demonstrates the evolution of the pioneering minimalist sculptor Anne Truitt. She was tireless in her pursuit of a strong cultural voice. At the heart of her practice was the key theme of memory, which enabled her not only to express personal experience but also to address how perception was changing for a contemporary viewership. She gravitated toward the idea that an object in one’s focus could unleash a powerful return to the past through memory, which in turn brings a fresh, even critical, attention to the present moment.

In addition to the artist’s own popular published writings, which detail the unique challenges facing female artists, Memory Work draws on unpublished manuscripts, private recordings, and never-before-seen working drawings to validate Truitt’s original ideas about the link between perception and mnemonic reference in contemporary art. Miguel de Baca offers an insider’s view of the artist’s unstinting efforts to realize her artistic vision, as well as the cultural, political, and historical resonances her oeuvre has for us today.

Copies of Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture  (University of California Press, 2015) are available for purchase and signing at the end of event.

Anne Truitt, a major figure in American art for more than 40 years, abandoned work in psychology and nursing in the 1950s to concentrate on art. Truitt drew, painted, and wrote, but she is best known for her large, vertical, wooden sculptures meticulously covered in many coats of paint. "I've struggled all my life to get maximum meaning in the simplest possible form," she said in an interview with The Washington Post in 1987. Although she is often labeled a Minimalist, Truitt's integration of painting and sculpture, her use of color, and her dedication to the relationship between meaning and form differentiate her work from that movement. 

Anne Truitt  (born 1921) grew up in Easton, on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Her work has been shown in one-person exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum, also in Washington, D.C., which mounted a retrospective exhibition of her work in 2009. Most recently in 2012, the Delaware Art Museum organized an exhibition of her work exploring the subtleties of light and color through abstract two and three-dimensional forms and the artist’s desire to make light “visible for its own sake.” Truitt received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and five honorary doctorates, and was acting director of Yaddo, the artists' retreat in New York, in 1984. She is represented in the collections of many leading museums, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Truitt died in 2004.  The Estate of Anne Truitt is represented exclusively by Matthew Marks Gallery.

Anne Truitt exhibition

Miguel de Baca is an associate professor of art history and chair of the American Studies program at Lake Forest College. He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University, and has held research fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Dumbarton Oaks. Memory Work: Anne Truitt and Sculpture has been supported additionally by publication grants from the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. His scholarly interests include issues of memory, reference, and abstraction in modern and contemporary
American art.

Alexandra Truitt is the daughter of noted American journalist James Truitt and internationally celebrated artist Anne Truitt. She and her family moved to Tokyo in 1964, at the height of Japan’s postwar reemergence, returning 
to Washington, DC in 1967. In 1985 she began working as director of Sander Gallery, a position she held until 1988 when owner Gerd Sander returned to Germany to found the August Sander Archive. Since then Truitt has worked as an independent photo editor and picture researcher with major clients across the publishing industry. She manages the Estate of Anne Truitt, and currently divides her time between New York City and South Salem, New York.

In its eighth year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.

Events at The New York Public Library may be photographed or recorded. By attending these events, you consent to the use of your image and voice by the Library for all purposes.

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