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Arlington Museum Offers A Fun Walk Through Legendary Artist’s Career

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Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips on art in the time of social distancing.  Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to hear Lily Williams with the Arlington Museum of Art share her tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

The Arlington Museum of Art has a fun summer exhibition right now with work by acclaimed painter, sculptor and muralist Knox Martin.  The pieces are large scale, bright, bold, and colorful. It’s all very up and peppy and happy, just what many of us need. That’s according to Lily Williams, marketing coordinator for the museum.

Knox Martin: Living Legend is on view through October 11, 20202.

At 98, Martin is still working and living in New York.  He served during World War II and with the help of the G.I. bill, Martin went to art school in New York and has been a working artist ever since.

Knox Martin: Living Legend is a very special curated show for the AMA. The museum had a connection with the artist and so they were able to work closely with Martin to select which pieces to show.

“He tends to say he exists between genres,” said Williams. “I think part of it is he has been witness to the literal birth of so many artistic genres that he does kind of seem to float on the edge of several. So from an art historian’s perspective, I would categorize him as somewhere between abstract expressionism, sometimes some influences of pop art. I think abstract expressionism is probably the best way to describe him.”

The AMA will be showing pieces from three series of works by Knox Martin.

The She series, as the title suggests, is inspired by the female form. They are large scale works in a variety of color palettes ranging from vibrant saturated reds, greens, blues to metallics to pastels.

Photo courtesy of the AMA.

“You really get a mix of colors and I think you’ll see more of a tangible figure within She rather than the abstraction you can see in Woman,” said Williams.

Photo courtesy of the AMA.

The museum will show nine works from Martin’s Woman series. The works in this series are smaller that those of the She series, and they are black-and-white pieces.  The inspiration still stems from the female form.

The museum will also be showing a never-before-seen collection of watercolors from the artist. The Tomato Watercolors are in stark contrast to Martin’s larger acrylic abstract paintings. The works in this series are smaller, more literal, and in a medium the artist generally does not work in.

“It’s called the Tomato Watercolors for reason. They are these beautiful sorts of really gorgeous movements within these tomato vines, but you can actually see tomato and vine in every piece, which is something that you may not see in his more abstract work.”

Visitors to the museum will be able to see the Tomato Watercolors in the rooftop gallery starting this weekend.

When you visit the museum don’t forget your phone. There won’t be any paper brochures or docent-led tours. Instead, the museum will be debuting a digital platform accessed with your phone. It’s called Guide by Cell. No need to download an app. Just scan the QR code with your phone and you have the tour right on your phone.

Got a tip? Email Gila Espinoza at gespinoza@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @espinoza_kera.

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