Friday, October 18, 2013

Words and color: Republished memoirs and art exhibition offer new opportunities to explore Anne Truitt's life and legacy

This month saw the re-release of Anne Truitt's memoir series, The Journey of an Artist!

Truitt, who was born in Baltimore, MD, in 1921 and passed away in 2004, became famous across the art world for her art that united shape and color to make statements about reality. Her art took the form of wooden constructions painted in subtle layers of color, fabricated in accordance with scale drawings.

During her lifetime, Truitt received fellowships from the Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work continues to be showcased in major museums throughout the U.S.--including The National Gallery of Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art—as well as throughout the world.

The Matthew Marks Gallery in New York City is the exclusive dealer of Truitt's works. When the gallery planned a new Truitt exhibition for September and October 2013, we at JVNLA knew Truitt's memoir series needed to be put back into publication!

Daybook was Truitt's first memoir exploring her life as an artist. Originally published by Pantheon in 1982, it was followed by Turn (Viking 1986) and Prospect (Scribner 1996). In each, Anne used journal entries to take readers through her world as her relationships to her family and art evolved.

Among other widespread praise Truitt's memoirs received after their publication, Art in America called her writing “unflinching and at every moment, possessed of the inevitable dignity that attends a genuine commitment to telling the truth about oneself.”

Last year, Scribner bought rights to the previously out-of-print series, and they brought Audrey Niffenegger on board to write an introduction.

Daybook was released in print paperback this month, with the full three books in the series released as an e-book omnibus at the same time. Audible also re-released each book in audio, with Daybook and Turn narrated by Truitt herself and Prospect narrated by Alice Rosengard.

Print re-release
E-book omnibus re-release

Truitt's art--and her life--have influenced many.  Several years ago, PBS NewsHour's Art Beat did a video about her lasting influence in the art world. Check it out below!

In the video, Project Runway's Tim Gunn speaks about how Truitt was a huge role model for him—both due to her artwork and her way of living. Filmmaker Jem Cohen notes how Truitt, in her own words, attempted to find “a way to set color free in three dimensions.” And Hirshhorn Museum curator Kristen Hileman speaks about a Truitt exhibition that was going on at the museum at the time of this video's creation.

The Matthew Marks Gallery will continue exhibiting Truitt's work until October 26--so if you're in the New York area, be sure to visit!

JVNLA went to the exhibition opening last month. The event was a roaring success, with many in attendance and much to admire about Truitt's stunning work! Some photos are below--but there's nothing like seeing Truitt's art work in person if you have the opportunity.

Below is a brief sampling of the stand-out reviews Truitt's The Journey of an Artist series has received over time:

“The clear as a mountain stream, often quite beautiful. Her artist's eye sees the meaning--and she then finds feeling--in ordinary stuff...Prospect is one of those books that reveal what is at total risk of imperceptibility in one's life, lying there, waiting to be discovered.” --The New York Times Book Review

“Each phrase is neatly turned, each idea crafted...You'll find much to ponder here, much to treasure.” --The Washington Post

“Polished...Moving.” --Library Journal

“Truitt's outlook...makes her an optimistic, even exemplary guide through this territory [of old age] that awaits us all.” --The Los Angeles Times

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