At 90, Still Riveting the Mind’s Eye


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Ellsworth Kelly has been on earth for 90 years — his birthday was Friday — and he has been making abstract art for over 60 of them. Now the New York art world is treating him, and us, to a big party. His boldly colored, emblematic paintings and reliefs can be seen in five exhibitions around town. In unusually gorgeous terms, they attest to a lifelong fusion of austerity and high spirits, and a narrow yet deep exploration of pure colors and simple shapes.

The shows range from a mini-survey at the Mnuchin Gallery on East 78th Street, to an array of brand-new work at the Matthew Marks Gallery‘s three locations in Chelsea, to a radiant exhibition of Mr. Kelly’s 1971 “Chatham Series” at the Museum of Modern Art. The 14 paintings in the series have not been exhibited together since they made their public debut in 1972 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

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