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Hedda Sterne

Krannert Art Museum

Throughout her long, distinguished career (now ninety-six, she only recently stopped making new work), painter Hedda Sterne has steadfastly refused to adopt a consistent style. That idiosyncratic approach might partially explain why Sterne has largely been excluded from the canon of postwar American art, despite her prominence in the 1940s and ’50s and her appearance as the only woman in a famous 1951 Life magazine group photograph of New York Abstract Expressionists tagged “The Irascibles.” A recent retrospective of her work, the first since the Queens Museum of Art’s in 1985, aimed to make the overlooked artist newly visible.

Organized by Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, “Uninterrupted Flux: Hedda Sterne, A Retrospective” presented more than one hundred drawings and paintings. Arranged (for the most part) chronologically, the exhibition opened with a selection of unsettling

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