Sean Scully with Timothy Rub

During a career that spans nearly five decades, Sean Scully has both advanced and enriched the traditions of abstract painting. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas is the first retrospective of his work to be seen in the United States in more than 25 years. It surveys the development of his art since the early 1970s, when he emerged as a precocious talent and one of the most articulate advocates for the ongoing viability of geometric abstraction as a powerful form of artistic expression.

For this special Tuesday Evenings event, Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the organizer of this exhibition, is in conversation with the artist. Their discussion sets out to focus on the interrelated themes of continuity and changes in Scully’s art and to survey the evolution of his work from his student days at Newcastle University to the present.

Sean Scully works in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and photography. Born in Dublin, raised in London, and having moved to the United States at the age of 30, the artist has tested the possibilities of abstract art to develop a style that is uniquely his own. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Harkness Fellowship, and he is a two-time Turner Prize nominee. Scully’s works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. The catalogue raisonné of his paintings is currently being published by Dr. Marla Price, Director of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Scully divides his time living and working in New York and Bavaria.

Timothy Rub was appointed as the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009. Over the past several years, he has implemented a comprehensive strategic plan, reshaped the Museum’s exhibitions program, and overseen several major building projects such as the South Asian Art Galleries, the Chinese Galleries, and the 19th Century Galleries. Rub is also responsible for the realization of an ambitious Facilities Master Plan designed by the architect Frank Gehry to modernize and significantly expand the Museum’s landmark main building that was completed in May 2021.

Tuesday Evenings