Judy Ledgerwood: Chromatic Patterns for the Smart Museum

December 26, 2013–June 21, 2015

Detail of Chromatic Patterns

Judy Ledgerwood, detail of Chromatic Patterns for the Smart Museum, 2013, Tempera. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.

Chicago-based artist Judy Ledgerwood’s immense, site-specific wall painting for the Smart Museum is part of an ongoing series inspired by the energetic, asymmetrical rhythms of composer Morton Feldman’s Patterns in a Chromatic Field (1981).

The painting is comprised of horizontal bands of boldly colored patterns—blue with bronze, fluorescent red with mint green, spring green with copper—that run across the large central wall in the Smart’s lobby. The work responds to both the soaring, symmetrical architecture of the space and, in its repeating patterns, the design of Louis Sullivan’s elevator screens for the Chicago Stock Exchange building (two of which are on view in the lobby).

The artist (with the help of an assistant) painted Chromatic Patterns by hand directly on the wall. The work, in the artist’s words, is made to "hang tapestry-like" with drooping and irregular edges that contrast with the clean lines of the Museum’s modernist architecture.


The Threshold series brings a major installation of contemporary art to the Smart Museum’s reception hall and sculpture garden each year, ensuring that all visitors—whether they have come to the building for a class, an exhibition, or a cup of coffee—will instantly encounter new art.

Free Public Programs

February 2, 2014, 2 pm
Artist Talk
with Judy Ledgerwood and Christine Mehring


January 23 to April 5, 2014
Judy Ledgerwood
Chromatic Patterns for the Graham Foundation

February 6, 2014, 6 pm
Talk: Judy Ledgerwood
the artist discusses her work at the Graham Foundation

April 3, 2014, 6 pm
Talk: John Yau
poet and critic John Yau will discuss Ledgerwood's work at the Graham Foundation