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Elizabeth Murray

ROBERT STORR

SOME YEARS BACK, a student who had attended the summer program at Skowhegan in Maine told me about the powerful impression Elizabeth Murray had made on him. One thing he recounted stuck in my mind—that during a studio visit, Murray had said in passing, “For you to be right about what you’re doing, not everybody else has to be wrong.” Or is my memory playing tricks on me? Was it actually a woman who recalled this story for me? The matter of gender is significant when you talk about Murray, who died in August at age sixty-six. She was among a handful of woman painters of her generation—roughly that which emerged in the 1970s—who cracked the glass ceiling of the art hierarchy. And while cracking and shattering were not, and are still not, the same thing, Murray shared this hard-earned distinction with Jennifer Bartlett, Joan Brown, Vija Celmins, Mary Heilmann, Lois Lane, Ellen

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