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Jaume Plensa is back in his Barcelona studio, where he will take part in the inaugural “Galerie Lelong Conversation” (photo courtesy Galerie Lelong)

Who: Jaume Plensa, Mary Sabbatino
What: Artist talk inaugurating “Galerie Lelong Conversations”
Where: Galerie Lelong Zoom
When: Thursday, July 9, free with advance registration, 2:00
Why: “April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” So begins T. S. Eliot’s epic 1922 poem, “The Waste Land.” Spanish artist Jaume Plensa uses that quote for the title of his new online exhibition, “Jaume Plensa: April is the cruelest month,” which continues on Galerie Lelong’s website through July 10. The show consists of drawings on Super Alfa Guarro paper from his new “STILL” series, created during the month of April, when Plensa was sheltering in place at home, unable to get to his studio. Each of the works contains letters, either arranged randomly, in the shape of a heart, or forming such words as panic, dementia, suicide, insomnia, and anxiety on the fingers of a hand. In the exhibition text, gallery vice president and partner Mary Sabbatino explains, “Language is not the only means to communicate and can sometimes work against comprehension. ‘We are best when together,’ says Plensa. In the contemplation of these drawings, we see a world both intimate and expansive, expressive of shared human experience during a time when the world was ‘still.’”

On July 9 at 2:00, in conjunction with the closing of the exhibition the next day, Sabbatino will host a live Zoom “Galerie Lelong Conversation” with Plensa, who is back in his Barcelona studio. Plensa is best known in New York City for his large-scale works Echo in Madison Square Park and Behind the Walls at Rockefeller Center; for more on the artist, check out the trailer for Pedro Ballesteros’s new documentary, Jaume Plensa: Can You Hear Me? The next “Galerie Lelong Conversation” will take place in August with Brooklyn-based artist Leonardo Drew, who had a solo show at the gallery last year. And as Eliot also wrote in “The Waste Land”: “There is shadow under this red rock, / (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), / And I will show you something different from either / Your shadow at morning striding behind you / Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

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