The Burt and Deedee McMurtry Lecture: Critic Roberta Smith and Curator Jason Andrew in conversation on Elizabeth Murray with an Eye on Art Today.
Credit: Roberta Smith by Marco Grob / Jason Andrew by Ross Collab
Roberta Smith is the co-chief art critic of The New York Times. She lives in New York with her husband, Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York Magazine. Since joining the Times 1991, she has written on Western and non-Western art from prehistoric to contemporary eras. Roberta sees her main responsibility as “getting people out of the house,” making them curious enough to go see the art she covers. Smith was the 2003 recipient of the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism, and was the 2014 Marina Kellen French Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin. This year she was the 2018 Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecturer at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
Roberta’s first review of Elizabeth Murray’s work appeared in the May 1975 issue of Artforum she has had a “deep interest” in Murray’s art and has written extensively about her work, including a major essay for Murray’s mid-career retrospective in 1987. Twenty years later, Roberta Smith would write Murray’s obituary calling her a “New York painter who reshaped Modernist abstraction.”
Jason Andrew is an independent curator and producer, archivist and writer. He is the founding partner at Artist Estate Studio, which manages the Estate of Elizabeth Murray among others. He first met Elizabeth Murray when she invited him to her studio for advice in organizing her studio archives. A decade later, he was asked to manage her Estate. Through research-heavy Instagram posts, edgy exhibitions, and provoking essays like how graffiti influenced Elizabeth Murray, he has re-introduced the artist to a new generation of artists, curators, and collectors. A prominent figure in the emerging Brooklyn art scene, he is the co-founder of Norte Maar whose mission is to promote collaborations among the visual, literary, and performing arts.
Smith and Andrew will discuss the work and life of Elizabeth Murray and the profound influence she continues to have on contemporary artists.
Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007) belonged to a generation of artists who emerged in the 1970s and whose exposure to Cubist-derived Minimalism and Surrealist-influenced Pop inspired her to push painting beyond all historical models of making. In this context, Murray produced a singularly innovative body of work. As she warped, twisted, and knotted her constructed three-dimensional canvases, she gave the elastic shapes of classic Surrealism a space in their own image. With a career that spanned over four decades, Murray was one of the most ambitious and revered artists of her time.
The McMurtry Lecture is presented this year in partnership with Stanford Live.
View video here. Captions included.