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Mary Heilmann’s Vibrant Paintings Come to Columbus for Only Midwest Stop

Mary Heilmann’s Vibrant Paintings Come to Columbus for Only Midwest Stop

Wed, Apr 30, 2008

" . . . often joy–inducing and sometimes breathtaking."—Artforum, on Heilmann’s work

Columbus, OH—Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone, the first retrospective of the work of influential New York–based painter Mary Heilmann, will be presented in the Wexner Center Galleries May 10–August 3, 2008 as part of a four–city travelling tour. A pioneer in abstract painting, Heilmann creates lush, evocative landscapes and cityscapes with colors that buzz with energy. The exhibition contains 56 paintings spanning the last four decades, as well as sculptures, handmade chairs, and a video presentation with recordings of her favorite music. One of the few female artists of her generation working in abstraction, Heilmann has been a pioneer of infusing abstraction with influences from craft traditions and popular culture, particularly rock music and the beach culture of Southern California. Her bright colors and laid–back, carefree attitude and brushstrokes have also exercised a strong influence on younger painters.

Notes Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin: “Mary Heilmann has been quietly and resolutely making exceptional paintings for decades, yet only recently has she received the attention she is due. At once rigorous and seductive, disciplined and playful, Heilmann has remained absolutely steadfast in her pursuit of the pleasures and perils of abstraction, and has mastered the manipulation of paint on canvas to an exquisite degree.”

Organized by the Orange County Museum of Art (where the tour began last May), this exhibition traveled to Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum November 2007–January 2008. After Columbus, the tour will proceed to the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York October 22, 2008–January 4, 2009 for its final stop. To Be Someone is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by organizing curator Elizabeth Armstrong, Johanna Burton, and Dave Hickey, and is the first comprehensive overview of Heilmann’s career (available in the Wexner Center Store for $60).

Artist’s Talk
Heilmann will give a free public talk about her painting and career Friday, May 9 at 5 pm as part of the Spring Exhibition Opening (which runs 6–9 pm).

Admission to this exhibition is free. Click here for more information on visiting the Wexner Center. Also on view in the galleries May 10–August 3: Jane Hammond: Fallen and Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond. Walk-in Tours for all exhibitions are offered Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm beginning May 15.

Heilmann was born in San Francisco in 1940 and grew up there and in southern California. She went on to study ceramics and poetry at San Francisco State College and UC Berkeley, where she finished an M.A. in 1968. After moving to New York in 1969, Heilmann switched from sculpture to painting; she joined the Pat Hearn Gallery in 1986, and exhibitions there increased her exposure. Since then, domestic and international interest has grown. Most recently, Heilmann was featured in the August 2007 issue of Vogue, and simultaneously on the covers of the November 2007 issues of Artforum and Art in America. Click here for a video of Mary Heilmann discussing her creative process.


Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone, a nationally touring, 30–year retrospective of the lush paintings of the influential abstractionist artist, will be on display May 10–August 3, 2008 in the Wexner Center, located at 1871 North High Street at 15th Avenue at the Ohio State University. The Galleries are open 11 am–6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, and 11 am–8 pm Thursday–Saturday. The galleries are closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission is free. Parking is available in the Ohio Union Parking Garage, just south of the Wexner Center on High Street. Parking also available in the South Campus Gateway garage, on High Street between 9th and 11th avenues. Group tours are available by calling 614 292–3535. Visit for more information.



This exhibition is organized by the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California.

It received major support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and Altria Group.

Significant funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

All Wexner Center exhibitions receive support from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.

The preferred airline for this exhibition is American Airlines/American Eagle.

Accommodations are provided by The Blackwell Inn.

PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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