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Kelly’s Green

In 1992 I had an Ellsworth Kelly eureka! experience in Kassel, Germany, in a room, off discreetly to the side, in almost all senses apart from the rest of Documenta IX. Kelly has a reputation for being extremely exacting when it comes to the physical placement of his work—for the unimpeachable reason that walls are in essence the grounds of his paintings. Here, in his chambre à part at the Freidricianum, the dynamically curved, eccentrically positioned, single-color canvases instantly produced what can only be described as a “ping” effect: the sensation that would ensue if one suddenly came upon an alpine meadow, bright green and full of wildflowers, after wandering for hours through grand allées dripping with Spanish moss. Viewing Kelly’s work at the time, I was reminded of Ruskin’s pre-Raphaelite encomium: that artists endeavor to look at nature as if without eyelids. Since then, I have

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