Image: Pat Steir. Photo by Grace Roselli for the Pandora's BoxX Project.

“Pat Steir’s signature, multilayered canvases have time and again redefined what it means to be a contemporary painter.”— Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in artnet News

Following the Hirshhorn’s tradition of inviting artists to respond to its cylindrical architecture Pat Steir drew inspiration from the Museum’s distinctive shape, which for her conjured one of the painter’s most essential tools: the color wheel. Steir has created thirty large-scale paintings that will transform the entire perimeter of the second-floor inner galleries into a vibrant spectrum of color, forming two overlapping but opposing color wheels that encompass visitors, inviting them to walk around the space to explore the cascading nuances of color. Typical of Steir’s decades-long abstract painting practice, these luminescent paintings commingle meticulously placed brushwork with the variable of chance, as Steir brushes and pours multiple layers of paint onto the canvas, allowing the pigments to cascade freely downward.

On the eve of the public opening of Pat Steir: Color Wheel, join Steir and Hirshhorn senior curator Evelyn Hankins for a discussion on her long career and the making of her monumental installation.


Pat Steir: Color Wheel is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and has been made possible with generous support from Agnes Gund, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and Mihael, Mahy, and Christos Polymeropoulos. The Museum is also grateful for additional funding provided by Locks Gallery, the Hirshhorn International Council, and the Hirshhorn Collectors’ Council.

Special thanks to Lévy Gorvy.