Dreams in Dust: The Pastels of Lucas Samaras

May 6 through August 21, 2016

During the first three decades of his long career, American artist Lucas Samaras (b. 1936 in Greece) turned to pastel to produce small, intimate works that explored themes present in his better-known paintings, sculptures, and installations. He was attracted to pastel’s bright colors and shimmering surface, and also to the fact that it was an unfashionable medium in postwar American art.

Dreams in Dust: The Pastels of Lucas Samaras celebrates the gift of forty-eight works to the Morgan from the artist and his dealer Arne Glimcher. Dating to the years 1958–1983, they range in subject matter from dreamlike seascapes and interiors to self-portraits, nudes, and still life. The installation of the exhibition was conceived in collaboration with the artist, who designed a wallpaper for it. The works will be presented in chronological order highlighting four successive phases of production.

Dreams in Dust: The Pastels of Lucas Samaras is made possible with generous support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Pace Gallery, with assistance from Nancy Schwartz and the Charles E. Pierce, Jr. Fund for Exhibitions. The catalogue is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Research and Publications.

Lucas Samaras, Head #145, July 16, 1981, pastel on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Lucas Samaras and Arne Glimcher. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2015. © Lucas Samaras, courtesy Pace Gallery.