PRINT November 2011

Jeffrey Weiss

View of “Cy Twombly: The Sculpture,” 2001, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Foreground: Thermopylae, 1991. Background, from left: Untitled, 1984; Thermopylae, 1992; Untitled, 1987.

I WORKED BRIEFLY BUT CLOSELY with Cy Twombly in 2001, during the installation of his exhibition of sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The show (originally organized by Katharina Schmidt and Paul Winkler for the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Menil Collection, Houston) was a leap for the NGA, a largely conservative institution. Initially intended for the East Building, it was ultimately installed in the Mellon galleries of the old West Building, a series of elegant Beaux-Arts rooms that were whitewashed for the occasion. Skylights that are normally covered or strongly filtered were exposed, flooding the space with sunlight. The sculptures, themselves whitewashed, were luminous in this setting. When we finished the installation, Cy said they looked as though they had always been there.

I had spent some time visiting him at his studio in Lexington, Virginia, and

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