Tate Modern talks_lectures

Helen Frankenthaler: A Celebration

photograph of painting by Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler Vessel 1961, oil paint on canvas, 2540 x 2390 mm, Collection Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York
© 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photograph by Jordan Tinker, courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives

Join a discussion exploring the life and work of a vital American painter

Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was one of the most significant American artists of the twentieth century. A key member of the second generation of abstract expressionist painters, she made a major contribution to the subsequent development of abstract painting with works acclaimed for their bold forms and colours.

As a new year-long display of her work opens at Tate Modern, this is a unique opportunity to hear a panel discussion exploring Frankenthaler’s life, work and legacy. Contributors include the art historian Briony Fer, the artist and Chairman of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Clifford Ross, and the curator and Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Elizabeth Smith. The discussion will be chaired by Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

A display of Helen Frankenthaler’s work opens at Tate Modern on 15 November 2019. Works lent by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York.


Briony Fer

Briony Fer is an art historian who has written extensively on modern and contemporary art. Her research interests have consistently moved between the history of the avant-gardes and the work of contemporary artists, including Gabriel Orozco, Roni Horn, David Batchelor and Tacita Dean. She is Professor of History of Art at University College London and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Clifford Ross

Clifford Ross, Chairman of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, is a widely exhibited multi-media artist whose work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is currently working on an updated edition of his anthology Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics. He is the nephew of Helen Frankenthaler.​

Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith joined the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation as its first Executive Director in 2013. Previously she was Executive Director, Curatorial Affairs, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art; and Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She has curated exhibitions on the work of artists including Lee Bontecou, Jenny Holzer, Toba Khedoori, Catherine Opie, and Helen Frankenthaler.

Tate Modern

East Room

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

25 November 2019 at 18.30–20.00