Chryssa & New York

Sep 29, 2023 – Mar 10, 2024
Main Building

This exhibition presents the innovative art made by the Greek-born artist Chryssa (1933–2013) while she was living in New York City from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Renowned for her adoption of industrial process, found commercial materials and early work with neon light, she stands at the forefront of American art in the wake of World War II. Responding to her urban environment, she was particularly interested in the intersection of art and everyday life.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is The Gates to Times Square, 1966, on loan from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Restored for this show, the towering sculpture of neon and metal pays homage to the commercial signage and dazzling lights of New York City’s famous intersection, a space that inspired the artist throughout her career. The presentation will also include neon studies related to The Gates, large-scale text-based paintings, and sculptural works that harness natural light and were influenced by ancient Mediterranean art.

This exhibition, which brings together major loans from North American and European museums and collections, is co-organized by the Menil Collection, Houston, and Dia Art Foundation, New York. It is the first major survey of the artist’s work in the United States in more than fifty years and will be accompanied by a scholarly publication edited by exhibition cocurators Michelle White and Megan Witko.  Following its presentation in New York and Houston, the exhibition will travel to Wrightwood 659, Chicago.

Chryssa & New York is co-organized by the Menil Collection, Houston, and Dia Art Foundation. The exhibition is co-curated by Megan Holly Witko, external curator, Dia Art Foundation, and Michelle White, Senior Curator, the Menil Collection.

Chryssa & New York is made possible by lead support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by a gift in memory of Virginia P. Rorschach. Additional support comes from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

The publication is made possible by generous support from the Anthony E. Comninos Foundation, and additional support by Katherine Embiricos and Christos Papazis.

Major support for the exhibition catalogue is provided by the Menil Collection Publishing Fund.

About the Artist

Born in Athens, Chryssa studied art in Paris and briefly at the California School of Fine Art, San Francisco, before settling in New York City in the late 1950s.  In 1961, Chryssa’s first exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, was followed by a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. At the time, she was considered a leading artist of her generation and her early work with neon technology remains at the forefront of light art. Chryssa’s work has been exhibited at numerous Documentas, Kassel, Germany; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and the Tate Modern, London, among other institutions.