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Sean Scully: Landline

Sean Scully: Landline
February 23–May 19, 2019

Irish-born, American artist Sean Scully’s acclaimed “Landline” series of abstract paintings represent a dramatic and seminal shift in the work of one of today’s most important abstract artists. Sean Scully: Landline is the first exhibition to feature the full range of work from the “Landline” series in the United States after its premiere at the 56th Venice Biennale. Landline will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden September 13, 2018–January 6, 2019 before traveling to the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Sean Scully: Landline traces the series’ expression through a variety of media, with nearly 50 oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, and photographs, and two layered aluminum Stack sculptures. A large-scale, 30 layer sculpture will be installed on the museum’s Main Street lawn in advance of the exhibition, in June 2018.

Known for combining the geometry of European concrete art with the ethereality of American abstraction, Scully’s thick, gestural brushstrokes evoke the energy and beauty of the natural world. His Landline works are largely inspired by his years in Ireland, particularly his time looking out to the sea. In these moments, Scully saw the layers of the world pressed into the space in front of him, forming the stacks that would come to characterize this series. The expressive and unconstrained bands of color reach beyond abstraction and into the sublime, where the contours of landscapes unfold to reveal the physical and emotional dimensions of experience, trauma, and memory.


Feb. 21 | Member Preview of Sean Scully: Landline
Feb. 24 | Gallery Talk: Sean Scully
Feb. 24 | Sunday Serenades Chamber Music Series: Land, Sea, Sky
Mar. 9 | Second Saturdays for Families: Layered Landscapes
Mar. 11 | Art Talk: Sean Scully and Patricia Hickson in Conversation
Mar. 16 | Landline Film Series: Brooklyn 
Mar. 20 | Art in Focus: Sean Scully, “Five Colors Horizon 6”
Mar. 23, 24 | Landline Film Series: The Charmer 
Mar. 30, 31 | Landline Film Series: Styx


March 2 – May 19 l Sean Scully: Landline and Landscapes from the Collection
Saturdays & Sundays at 2:30pm

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

Exhibition Venues
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, September 13, 2018–January 6, 2019
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, February 23–May 19, 2019

Sean Scully: Landline is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC in association with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Images © Sean Scully: Sean Scully, Landline Orient, 2016, Oil on aluminum, Photograph by Robert Bean; Sean Scully, Landline Landline, 2016, Oil on linen and aluminum; Sean Scully painting in his studio.