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Authors

Brian Soucek

Abstract

Ellsworth Kelly's Boston Panels - a series of twenty-one large rectangles, each a single vibrant color-is one of the most important and valuable works by a living artist in the city of Boston. The Moakley United States Courthouse, where the Kelly panels hang, is itself an important model of architectural planning for the more than ten billion dollars worth of federal buildings constructed in its wake.

But despite the prominence of both artwork and building, no one has yet given a convincing answer to a simple question: Why is the former located in the latter? What do large rectangles of brute color have to do with justice - or the courts, or the federal government, or democracy? How do they-in the words of the General Services Administration (GSA), their owner - "facilitate a meaningful cultural dialogue between the American people and their government"?

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