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100 Eleventh Avenue @ 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
212 247 0082
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is recognized for modern & contemporary art. Established in 1989 by Michael Rosenfeld, the gallery was born to promote the breadth & depth of American artists who contributed to the establishment of surrealism, social realism, modernism, abstract expressionism, figurative expressionism, and geometric abstraction. In 1992, Halley k Harrisburg joined the gallery and together they have worked to expand the canon of American art. Over the last nearly thirty years the gallery has organized over two hundred exhibitions accompanied by more than one hundred thirty exhibition catalogs with new scholarship by leading scholars

Landmark exhibitions have included African American Art: 20th Century Masterworks (a series for ten consecutive years 1994-2003), uncommon threads (2008), Romare Bearden: A Centennial Celebration (2011), Nancy Grossman: Constructions from the 1960s (2014), Alma Thomas: Moving Heaven & Earth (2015), Alfonso Ossorio: Congregations (2016), Norman Lewis: Looking East (2019) and Benny Andrews: Portraits, A Real Person Before the Eyes (2020).

Vital to the shaping of private and public collections across the United States and beyond, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became a member of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) in 2000. Over the decades, the gallery has expanded its audience by participating in international art fairs including The Armory Show, The Art Show (ADAA), Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze New York, Frieze Masters, and Seattle Art Fair. After twenty-three years on West 57 Street, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery relocated in 2012 to its current home in Chelsea on West 19 Street.
Artists Represented:
Benny Andrews
Hannelore Baron
Mary Bauermeister
John Biggers
Federico Castellon
Harold Cousins
Beauford Delaney
Claire Falkenstein
Michael Goldberg
Morris Graves
Nancy Grossman
Norman Lewis
Seymour Lipton
Boris Margo
Alfonso Ossorio
Theodore Roszak
Louis Stone
Bob Thompson
Charmion von Wiegand
William T. Williams
Works Available By:
Charles Alston
Leo Amino
Robert Arneson
William Artis
Ruth Asawa
John Atherton
George C. Ault
Milton Avery
Edward Mitchell Bannister
Richmond Barthé
William Baziotes
Romare Bearden
Eugene Berman
Harry Bertoia
Charles Biederman
Isabel Bishop
Emil Bisttram
Oscar Bluemner
Norman Bluhm
Ilya Bolotowsky
Lee Bontecou
James Brooks
Charles Burchfield
Paul Cadmus
Elizabeth Catlett
Barbara Chase-Riboud
Robert Colescott
Joseph Cornell
Eldzier Cortor
Manierre Dawson
Jay DeFeo
Dorothy Dehner
Joseph Delaney
Burgoyne Diller
Aaron Douglas
Arthur Dove
Werner Drewes
Robert S. Duncanson
William Edmondson
Louis Eilshemius
Jimmy Ernst
Minnie Evans
Philip Evergood
Herbert Ferber
John Ferren
John Flannagan
Suzy Frelinghuysen
Jared French
Albert E. Gallatin
Ed Garman
Sam Gilliam
Fritz Glarner
Arshile Gorky
Adolph Gottlieb
John Graham
Robert Gwathmey
David Hare
Lawren Harris
Marsden Hartley
Palmer Hayden
Sheila Hicks
Hans Hofmann
Charles Howard
Alfred J. Jensen
Malvin Gray Johnson
William H. Johnson
Joshua Johnson
Lester Johnson
Sargent Johnson
Raymond Jonson
Gerome Kamrowski
Frederick Kann
Leon Kelly
Paul Kelpe
Willem de Kooning
Lee Krasner
Walt Kuhn
Yayoi Kusama
Gaston Lachaise
Ibram Lassaw
Jacob Lawrence
Blanche Lazzell
Hughie Lee-Smith
Alfred Leslie
Lee Lozano
Martha Madigan
Conrad Marca-Relli
John Marin
Reginald Marsh
Jan Matulka
Alfred Maurer
Joan Mitchell
Robert Motherwell
Archibald J. Motley, Jr.
Jan Muller
Walter Tandy Murch
Elie Nadelman
Alice Neel
Louise Nevelson
Irving Norman
Agnes Pelton
Irene Rice Pereira
Marion Perkins
Horace Pippin
Charles Ethan Porter
Fairfield Porter
Richard Pousette-Dart
Milton Resnick
Mark Rothko
Anne Ryan
Betye Saar
Kay Sage
Augusta Savage
Rolph Scarlett
William Edouard Scott
Charles Seliger
Ben Shahn
Charles G. Shaw
Albert Alexander Smith
Raphael Soyer
Theodoros Stamos
Richard Stankiewicz
Joseph Stella
Toshiko Takaezu
Henry Ossawa Tanner
Dorothea Tanning
Lenore Tawney
Pavel Tchelitchew
Alma Thomas
Mark Tobey
George Tooker
Bill Traylor
Jack Tworkov
Laurence Vail
James VanDerZee
Robert Vickrey
Peter Voulkos
Laura Wheeler Waring
Max Weber
Charles White
John Wilde
Ellis Wilson
Beatrice Wood
Hale Woodruff
Jean Xceron
Claire Zeisler
William Zorach


Installation view of “Hannelore Baron,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, January 27–March 23, 2024
Installation view of “Hannelore Baron,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, January 27–March 23, 2024
Installation view of “Hannelore Baron,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, January 27–March 23, 2024
Installation view of “Hannelore Baron,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, January 27–March 23, 2024
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Current Exhibitions

Hannelore Baron, Mary Bauermeister, John Chamberlain, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Arthur Dove, Melvin Edwards, Claire Falkenstein, Ilse Getz, Nancy Grossman, Edward Kienholz, Yayoi Kusama, Conrad Marca-Relli, Louise Nevelson, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Betye Saar, Lucas Samaras, Richard Stankiewicz, Lenore Tawney, Laurence Vail, Vaclav Vytlacil

The Art of Assemblage

January 27, 2024 - March 23, 2024
“The assembler is especially akin to the modern poet…in using elements which (unlike ‘pure’ colors, lines, planes, or musical tones) retain marks of their previous form and history. Like words, they are associationally alive.” —William C. Seitz 1 Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce The Art of Assemblage, a group exhibition organized in homage to The Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking 1961 exhibition of the same name curated by William C. Seitz. Presenting a selection of works that mirror and expound upon Seitz’s medium-defining exhibition, the gallery’s iteration of The Art of Assemblage demonstrates the incisiveness and prescience of his thesis. Featured artists include Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Arthur Dove, Melvin Edwards, Claire Falkenstein, Ilse Getz, Nancy Grossman, Edward Kienholz, Yayoi Kusama, Conrad Marca-Relli, Louise Nevelson, Alfonso Ossorio, Betye Saar, Lucas Samaras, Richard Stankiewicz, Lenore Tawney, Laurence Vail, and Vaclav Vytlacil. The Art of Assemblage is on view concurrently with the solo exhibition Hannelore Baron. In Seitz’s lengthy catalogue essay chronicling the evolution of modern assemblage practices, the curator identifies Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist “collages, objects, environments, and activities” as an inciting development in the medium’s history, explaining that his works embody “an impatience with the line that separated art from life”2 that is characteristic of assemblage’s leading practitioners. Seitz emphasizes the importance of the inter- and postwar impulse to create art from the materials of daily life using English critic Lawrence Alloway’s essay on “junk art”—published in the same year that The Art of Assemblage opened—which situates the assemblage aesthetic within the context of modern commodity culture: “Junk culture is city art. Its source is obsolescence, the throwaway material of cities, as it collects in drawers, cupboards, attics, dustbins, gutters, waste lots, and city dumps. Objects have a history: first they are brand new goods; then they are possessions, accessible to few, subjected, often, to intimate and repeated use, then, as waste, they are scarred by use but available again. …Assemblages of such material come at the spectator as bits of life, bits of the environment. The urban environment is present…as the source of objects, whether transfigured or left alone.”3 Several works in Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s exhibition constitute prime examples of the “junk art” aesthetic pioneered by the postwar avant-gardes on both coasts. Works such as Bruce Conner’s Buffalo Bag (1959) and Edward Kienholz’s America My Hometown (1963) arrange symbolically loaded detritus into sculptures that evoke themes of a decaying empire. Also dating to 1963 is Lee Bontecou’s wall-mounted sculpture of welded and painted steel, soot, and velvet; baring her signature bandsaw “teeth” through a barred window, Untitled reflects the prevailing anxieties of the Cold War era as well as the feelings of containment and despair inspired by her Wooster Street studio’s proximity to the Women’s House of Detention. Abstracted anatomical references likewise structure Nancy Grossman’s My Terrible Stomach (1964/2015), an agglomeration of castoff materials originally created for her 1964 exhibition at Krasner Gallery. After the show closed, the work—then titled Black Knight—was kept in an unsafe location and many of its parts were torn off by vandals. Grossman revisited the sculpture in 2015, adding several new parts, endowing the work with “a cornucopia of mementos for an insatiable appetite,” as she put it, and retitling it after a 1961 poem by artist Walasse Ting. Richard Stankiewicz’s Double Booger for a Little John (1961) is an exceptional example of his double-faced “head” sculptures composed of found and welded metal objects. Stankiewicz worked in an improvisational, process-based method, experimenting with various arrangements according to the forms of his materials in a process mirroring that of Melvin Edwards, whose freestanding Monochromo (1964) embeds a single, shining piece of chrome in an otherwise rust-brown metal composition, establishing a play on the word of the title. Notably, The Art of Assemblage includes one of the artworks featured by Seitz in MoMA’s exhibition, Laurence Vail’s Out of My Window (c.1945). Active in the Parisian intellectual circles of the 1920s, Vail was associated with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, and married to Peggy Guggenheim. Out of My Window is exemplary of Vail’s rococo and often humorous aesthetic, infusing the accretive process of assemblage with a Surrealist bent. The exhibition also features an influential American counterpart to the European Surrealists, Joseph Cornell, who was an important presence in Seitz’s exhibition. Cornell’s iconic Taglioni’s Jewel Casket (1941) is a counterpart to the 1940 version of the same title in MoMA’s collection that was also included in The Art of Assemblage. An homage to the Romantic era ballerina Marie Taglioni, Taglioni’s Jewel Casket is perhaps best described by Kynaston McShine (another important MoMA curator), who understood Cornell’s boxes as “journeys into an enchanted universe that also has the reality of this world.”4 Similarly, the gallery’s exhibition features Arthur Dove’s George Gershwin-“Rhapsody in Blue,” Part I (1927), a work closely related to Dove’s Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz (1925), also in MoMA’s collection and included in the 1961 Art of Assemblage. A dynamic homage to Gershwin’s masterpiece, Dove’s painting assemblage embodies the composer’s description of his iconic jazz composition as “as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America—of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness.”5 Demonstrating the impact Cornell’s box assemblages had on the generations of American artists that followed him is Lucas Samaras’ Box #63 (1967). Resembling a devotional container in the vein of the medieval European reliquaries he studied as a student of art history, Samaras’ Box #63 is animated by the psychedelic palette of the 1960s, comprising an elaborately adorned box containing an enigmatic assortment of objects including animal bones, a fork, and a glass orb. Alfonso Ossorio’s Helix (1968) was executed in the following year with a similarly overwhelming admixture of brightly colored components. The work is an outstanding example of his “Congregations”—the term he preferred visionary body of assemblages, which he understood as a multiplicity of unique entities coming together to form a spiritually charged whole. Though the focus of The Art of Assemblage is the middle decades of the twentieth century, a small selection of works from the 1970s and 1980s offers a glimpse into the evolution of the medium as it was adopted and reinvented by artists from a widening variety of backgrounds and circles. Lenore Tawney’s Thesaurum (1970) places an ostrich egg atop a wooden gear fragment and a stack of found papers; enshrined in a box lined with vertically inserted feathers, Tawney’s assemblage invokes a host of associations pertaining to the cycle of life and death and the soul’s transitive journey within it. Conversely, Louise Nevelson’s Untitled (c.1973) is a towering, densely packed assortment of found wood objects all painted in the artist’s signature matte black. Providing a relief-like quality to her architecturally enclosed constructions, Nevelson’s uniform, monochromatic treatment of each individual part frees them of their histories as utilitarian objects, allowing their incorporation into a new, unified object. Finally, an important assemblage by Betye Saar, Red Table (1983), takes an altar-like format, alluding to the ancestral rituals she was exploring at the time. The work exists as both a freestanding sculpture and a component of a few of Saar’s larger installations, manifesting the thematic undercurrent of her works from this period articulated by Jane H. Carpenter in a statement that mirrors Seitz’s own observation about the earliest Dada assemblagists: “for Saar,” Carpenter writes, “understanding blackness as an ancestral relationship to Africa was not just suggested through a set of visual signs: it became an artistic process that wedded art to life.”6 The Art of Assemblage features works by gallery artists Mary Bauermeister, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Grossman, and Alfonso Ossorio, as well as works by artists for whom the gallery has mounted solo exhibitions, namely Betye Saar and Lenore Tawney. 1 William C. Seitz, The Art of Assemblage, exh. cat. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1961) p.17 2 Seitz, The Art of Assemblage, 87 3 Lawrence Alloway, “Junk culture,” Architectural Design 31 no. 3 (March 1961) 122 4 K.L. McShine in William Seitz, The Art of Assemblage (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1961), p.68 5 George Gershwin, quoted in I. Goldberg, George Gershwin: A Study in American Music (New York: Ungar, 1961), 139. 6 Jane Carpenter, Betye Saar: The David C. Driskell Series of African American Art: Volume II (Petaluma, CA: Pomegranate Communications, Inc., 2003), 30

Hannelore Baron

January 27, 2024 - March 23, 2024
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present Hannelore Baron, a solo exhibition of collages, box assemblages, and monoprints dating from 1970 to 1986. Focusing on the artist’s singular visual language of signs, symbols, and ciphers, Hannelore Baron will provide an in-depth look at her personal iconography and material sensibility. A dedicated display featuring a selection of the unique cutouts the artist used to make the monoprints integral to her compositional approach will provide a special insight into her technical processes. Presenting thirty-eight collages, fifteen box assemblages, and three monoprints, Hannelore Baron will be accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue publishing new scholarship by art historian, professor, and curator Anne Koval. Evocative of the textual remnants of an ancient, lost language, urban graffiti, or children’s drawings, Baron’s poetic vocabulary of formal motifs and inscriptions imbue her collages and assemblages with a sense of enigma. As Ingrid Schaffner, curator of Baron’s 2002 retrospective organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), observed, “Each of her intimately scaled works appears vast, filled with the quiet energy and visionary power of medieval manuscript illuminations. Indeed, Baron’s art might be considered a form of illumination for modern times, aptly rendered in the language of abstraction.”[1] Many of Baron’s repeated symbols—such as stars, flowers, birds, windows, and bound figures—resemble a form of pictographic writing, a quality that is complicated by her frequent application of linework that possesses the qualities of script but denies any attempt to decipher it. This ambiguity, she explained, was intentional: “The writing that covers much of the surface is deliberately illegible because it represents all the words that have been written to tell the unimaginable and explain the unexplainable.”[2] Composed of weathered and worn found materials, Baron’s box assemblages may be understood as personal shrines or theaters of emotion, serving, as critic Lyle Rexer wrote “as reliquaries for this secret language, surrounding it with the dark tones of the personal history she sought to play down.”[3] The earliest boxes date to 1968, when she began making assemblages from discarded wood, driftwood, and wire while working as a volunteer teacher at the Yonkers Jewish Community Center, which provided her access to woodworking tools. Produced alongside her collages, the boxes soon came to reflect the refinement of her formal strategies and compositional acumen, arraying a wide range of materials, including her own collages and monoprints, within a variety of box formats. Often reflecting her concerns with secrecy, privacy, and containment, Baron’s boxes constitute receptacles of the “fragments and splinters of civilization, remnants that testify to significance for memory and the creativity of that which is left behind,”[4] as critic Fredric Koeppel writes. The cryptic language that imbues the surfaces of Baron’s boxes with “meanings never fully disclosed,” as Lyle Rexer put it, likewise illuminates the carefully arranged elements of her collage works. Baron’s collages often incorporate fragments of threadbare fabric, which invite the viewer to consider the subtle textural variations that lend each composition a sense of tactility and intimacy. “The materials I use in the box constructions and cloth collages are gathered with great care,” Baron explained in a 1981 interview. “The reason I use old cloth…is that the new materials lack the sentiment of the old and seem too dry in an emotional sense.”[5] Most of the works on view in Hannelore Baron combine collage with delicate ink linework and expressive monoprint processes. Elements resembling doors and windows often suggest the presence of miniature rooms or chambers populated by her careful arrangement of symbolic motifs. Meticulously layered to bring out certain qualities of her materials and foreground the mystic formal language that unites them, Baron’s collages, as Koval writes, “read like ancient palimpsests,”—the term for a manuscript wherein writing has been erased to make room for a new passage, but still retains traces of the original text. “Palimpsest texts are often made unreadable with the most recent writing obscuring its precursor, to further embed narratives from the past,”[6] Koval observes. In addition to an exemplary selection of collages and box assemblages, Hannelore Baron will offer a special insight into one of Baron’s technical processes with three vitrines dedicated to the metal and paper cutouts the artist used to print many of the enigmatic symbols found in each body of work. The origins of this unique approach date to the mid-1970s, when Baron read an article in National Geographic describing an archaeological dig that unearthed “very thin pieces of copper in the shapes of people… they were eroded and broken up into parts.”[7] This inspired her to develop her own printing process: after cutting a desired shape from paper or a thin sheet of copper, which she sometimes wrapped with string or cloth, Baron would ink the cutout and then create a print with a handpress that she kept in the basement of her home in the Bronx. After the prints were finished, she would incorporate them into her collages and assemblages with glue and an iron. Over the course of her career, Baron created nearly ninety cutouts that she used repeatedly in a variety of configurations. Typically taking the form of humanoid and avian figures bound by ropes, these printed forms often elicit themes of imprisonment and restraint. The avian imagery that began to appear in Baron’s work starting in the early 1980s was also brought about by a piece of reportage: after a major oil spill off the coast of Brittany, images of struggling, oil-covered birds proliferated throughout the media, becoming a devastating emblem of environmental crisis as well as, for Baron, “the small and defenseless that will be crushed in the rush toward ever greater material comfort and deadlier wars.”[8] The compassion, fear, anger, and meditative contemplation embodied in Baron’s work often hints at the anxieties she carried with her throughout her life as a result of the traumas she endured as a Jewish child in Nazi Germany; however, she was often reluctant to discuss these experiences, as she felt this would limit interpretations of her artwork. Replete with nuanced material juxtapositions that augment her complex symbolic language, Baron’s works constitute “an art of concealment and protection,” as she put it, and an extended study of their component parts reveals the thoroughly cosmopolitan range of influences that continually informed her practice. Fascinated by Tantric art, illuminated pages of the Koran, Coptic textiles, Persian miniatures, botanical prints, Native American burial garments, Asian philosophies, abstract expressionism, the early drawings of Joseph Beuys, and more, Baron nurtured a keen understanding of these far-flung interests through a voracious reading habit and frequent visits to New York City’s museums. The works on view in Hannelore Baron represent the most productive period of her career. A largely self-taught artist who began making work in the 1950s, Baron’s foray into collage and assemblage occurred in the late 1960s. Baron lived a quiet life as a homemaker, carving out a space for her art practice within her daily routine and executing the vast majority of her works at her kitchen table in the solitude of night. By the late 1970s, she had attracted critical acclaim and gallery representation, and her work began to make its way into public collections. Emblematic of the thematic continuity of Baron’s oeuvre, nearly all of her works are untitled, emphasizing her preoccupation with an illegible language that, despite its unreadability, elicits its own meaning and mood. Ultimately, Baron’s work communicates, as Anne Koval writes, “in a private visual language that spoke beyond the ordinary, to reach those who would pause, look, and listen.[9] Michael Rosenfeld Gallery has been exhibiting the work of Hannelore Baron (1926–1987) since its founding. The gallery became the exclusive representative of the Baron estate in 2016, mounting Hannelore Baron: Collages in 2021. [1] Ingrid Schaffner, Hannelore Baron: Works from 1969 to 1987, exh. cat. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibition Service, 2001) p. 1. [2] Hannelore Baron, undated Artist’s Statement, Gallery Schlesinger. [3] Lyle Rexer, “In a Small and Dark Art, A World of Grief,” The New York Times, January 19, 2003 (section 2, 38) [4] Fredric Koeppel, “Hannelore Baron: Fragments Shored Against Ruins,” Hannelore Baron: Fragments Shored Against Ruins, exh. cat. (Memphis, TN: Art Museum of the University of Memphis, 2002) p.8-9 [5] Hannelore Baron in a 1981 interview with her son, Mark Baron (Michael Rosenfeld Gallery Archive on behalf of Mark Baron) [6] Anne Koval, “all the words that have been written,” in Hannelore Baron, exh. cat. (New York: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2024) (forthcoming). [7] Hannelore Baron, undated typed Artist’s Statement, Gallery Schlesinger Limited, Estate of Hannelore Baron. [8] Hannelore Baron, undated typed Artist’s Statement, Gallery Schlesinger Limited, Estate of Hannelore Baron [9] Anne Koval, “all the words that have been written,” in Hannelore Baron, exh. cat. (New York: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2024) (forthcoming).

Past Exhibitions

FOG Design+Art 2024, Booth 211

January 17, 2024 - January 21, 2024
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to participate in FOG Design+Art 2024 with a group exhibition celebrating the generative influence Eastern thought and aesthetics had on American art of the last hundred years. Featured artists include Leo Amino, Ruth Asawa, Mary Bauermeister, William Baziotes, Harry Bertoia, Lee Bontecou, Joseph Cornell, Harold Cousins, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Morris Graves, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Ibram Lassaw, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Alfonso Ossorio, Agnes Pelton, Richard Pousette-Dart, Betye Saar, Sonja Sekula, Toshiko Takaezu, Lenore Tawney, Alma Thomas, Mark Tobey, Charmion von Wiegand, and William T. Williams. In complement to a rich selection of painting, sculpture, collage, ceramics, and works on paper dating from 1938 to 2019, Booth 211 also features furniture by George Nakashima (1905–1990), one of the leading design innovators of the twentieth century and a father of the American craft movement. Over the last thirty-five years, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery has organized numerous group and solo exhibitions that have focused on the influence of Eastern thought and traditions on American artists. The gallery’s dedication to exposing audiences to this aspect of American modernism stems not only from its historical under-recognition, but also from the profundity of its effect, which is aptly summarized by Guggenheim curator Alexandra Munroe in her text for the landmark 2009 exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989: “What emerges [from studying the influence of Eastern thought in the U.S.] is a history of how artists working in America selectively adapted Eastern ideas and art forms to create not only new styles of art, but more importantly, a new theoretical definition of the contemplative experience and self-transformative role of art itself. The Asian dimension also gave a universalist logic to the modern and neo-avant-garde premise that art, life, and consciousness are interpenetrating realities unified by an existential concreteness.” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s FOG presentation will feature several standout sculptures from mid-century. S.391/50 (c.1958), a crocheted wire sculpture by Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), is exceptional for its golden patina—a rare quality in Asawa’s body of sculptures. S.391/50 takes the form of six double-sided, trumpet-like shapes that expand outward from a central void, embodying the tension between formal opposites that is at the heart of her practice: positive and negative space, lightness and weight, individual line and overall form. Evoking the impression of hay illuminated by sunlight, Untitled (c.1963–64) is an exceptional sculpture by Harry Bertoia (1915–1978); composed of bronze-coated steel wires that have been meticulously welded into a complex, freestanding sculpture, Untitled testifies to Bertoia’s refined metalworking abilities and his deep spiritual connection to the natural world. Finally, Untitled (Fusion) (c.1970) by Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) is a standout example of her iconic Fusion sculptures, wherein molten glass cascades through intricately composed, calligraphic copper structures. A selection of both two- and three-dimensional works on view in Booth 211 exemplifies the diverse approaches to spiritual abstraction taken by some of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Three noteworthy works include: Untitled (c.1942) by transcendentalist painter Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), whose metaphysical composition references the seed pods of a magnolia tree. Magnolia trees are frequently portrayed in the traditional art of China and Japan, where they symbolize purity, nobility, perseverance, feminine beauty, and gentleness. An untitled, minimalist, ink-on-paper brush composition by abstract expressionist painter Norman Lewis (1909–1979) reflects the artist’s interest in Chinese calligraphy—an influence that was nurtured by his gallerist, Marian Willard, a founding member of the Asia Society in New York. Further, three forms by master ceramicist and lifelong practitioner of Zen Buddhism Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) exhibit her signature glazing techniques, wherein the surfaces of her vessels and closed forms act as canvases for her grand gestural markings. Takaezu’s admiration of natural forms was borne of a deep reverence for the environment that was intimately connected to her spiritual beliefs. The spiritual aspect of Takaezu’s art practice is characteristic of many of the artists featured in Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s presentation, including Charmion von Wiegand (1896–1983), whose hard-edged geometric composition Gouache #175: The Second Chakra (1962) was inspired by diagrammatic renderings of the seven-chakra system central to the exercises of Hatha Yoga. Von Wiegand’s study of Tantra had intensified in the 1950s and 1960s after she began attending yoga classes led by Yogi Vithaldas, who advanced the notion that Indian philosophy could coexist with Western medicine. Similarly, the welded and brazed bronze sculpture Asparas (1959) by Ibram Lassaw (1913–2003) shares its name with deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology known for their superior dancing abilities, after which a traditional dance of Southeast Asia is modeled. Lassaw studied Zen Buddhism under the influential scholar D. T. Suzuki at Columbia University in New York from 1953 to 1955, and the religion became an important source of inspiration for his sculpture practice in the years following his studies. Finally, Untitled (c.1964) by Mark Tobey (1890–1976) exemplifies the calligraphic, all-over approach for which he is known, wherein a luminescent web of white ink or paint imbues the composition with a sense of mystical transcendence. Inspired by Arabic and the East Asian languages he studied, Tobey became a convert to the Bahá’í Faith in 1918; toward the end of his life, he explained that the “white writings” of his paintings “symbolize the light, the unifying thought which flows across the compartments of life, and these give strength to the spirit and are constantly renewing their energies so that there can be a greater understanding of life.”

Claire Falkenstein

Kabinett Sector, Art Basel Miami Beach | Claire Falkenstein: Fusions

December 6, 2023 - December 10, 2023
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is proud to participate in the Kabinett sector of Art Basel Miami Beach with an installation of twenty-four small-scale sculptures by Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) from her celebrated "Fusion" series. Drawn from the holdings of the artist’s Foundation, the vast majority of the intimately sized works on view have never been publicly exhibited. An interdisciplinary artist whose career spanned seven decades, Claire Falkenstein does not fit easily into any school or movement. Comprising a wide variety of mediums—wood, ceramic, and metal sculpting, painting, prints, jewelry, and more—the "Fusions" are perhaps the greatest testament to her artistic ingenuity, as they encompass a seemingly infinite array of shapes, scales, and palettes. Composed of welded metal and melted glass, the "Fusions" embody the dichotomies that exemplify the artist’s practice as a whole: solid and fluid, opaque and translucent, durable and fragile. Falkenstein developed the "Fusions" after a trip to Venice, Italy inspired her to incorporate Murano glass into her sculpture. Material experimentation was a cornerstone of Falkenstein’s artistic practice throughout her career, and the "Fusions" came about through a methodical process of trial and error. After determining the precise temperature required to securely bond the glass and metal, Falkenstein developed the technique through which all Fusions were made: She first created a welded metal armature into which she placed pieces of glass in specific joints, “as a jeweler sets a jewel.” The object was then fired in a kiln until the two materials “fused,” allowing the final form to be determined by the uncontrolled interaction between the glass and metal. Scholar Maren Henderson writes of the "Fusions": “[Experiment], especially with an element of risk, was now a fully realized sculptural method. Process itself was an authentic aesthetic expression, as were chance and anti-form. The 'Fusions' carried materials to the breaking point, testing their essential character to the degree of altering or even destroying them. Glass was heated well beyond becoming malleable to the point where it collapsed or even burned. Sheet metal surfaces were heated until they warped. Edges were torn, scarred or burned. Accidents were welcomed. And chance became a significant component of the process and the result.”[1] Falkenstein’s prolific experimentation with the "Fusion" sculptures resulted in a diverse body of work. "Fusions" exist in a wide range of configurations, with some embodying a minimalist approach while others are densely complex; likewise, some examples exhibit a kaleidoscopic array of colors, while others contain only one or two. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Falkenstein felt a deep appreciation of the region’s natural beauty, and the visual contrast between the dense woodlands set against the flowing sea became a major trope in her art. Concentrating in art, philosophy, and anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, Falkenstein was awarded her first solo exhibition by the East-West Gallery in San Francisco in 1930, the same year she graduated—a rare achievement for such a young artist. In 1933, Falkenstein received a grant to study at Mills College in Oakland under Cubist sculptor Alexander Archipenko. Her sculptures of the 1930s and 1940s comprise biomorphic abstractions rendered in wood and ceramic. Her work was first shown in New York City in 1944, when the Bonestell Gallery mounted a solo exhibition. In the late 1940s, she began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where she met abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still, who became a lifelong friend and encouraged her to take a more open-ended approach to composition. In 1950, Falkenstein moved to Paris, settling into the growing scene of American abstract artists there and soon befriending Sam Francis, Paul Jenkins, and Mark Tobey. A thoroughly individual artist who never sought association with a particular school or movement, Falkenstein attributes her confidence in her unique sensibility partly to her time in Paris, explaining, “the French allowed a kind of individual action. …I felt it so strongly that right away my so-called ‘looking within’ really worked. That's when I developed my own vocabulary.’”[2] Feeling a new sense of freedom, she began working in metal and soon developed the artistic vocabulary that became the bedrock of her mature style. Her work was supported by the influential critic Michel Tapié, who defined “art autre” as a European parallel to American abstract expressionism. Writing in the catalogue for her 1958 exhibition at Il Segno Gallery in Rome, Tapié lauded, “Claire Falkenstein is probably the artist who has most brought Sculpture to the heart of what the artistic epopee of today must be.” Falkenstein returned to the United States in 1963, settling in Venice, California, where she would remain for the rest of her life. She continued to produce a wide variety of Fusions through the mid-1980s. Represented by Galerie Stadler in Paris and Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, Falkenstein completed numerous public commissions while continuing to evolve her studio practice until her death. Her first public commission in Los Angeles was a welded copper tube and glass fountain for the California Federal Savings and Loan Association. Completed in 1965, the "Cal Fed Fountain" was specially designed by Falkenstein to emphasize that the water that flowed through the construction was as integral to the sculpture’s composition as the complexly intertwined copper and glass elements, resulting in the impression of an endless, dynamic formal continuity. After regularly exhibiting her work for fifteen years, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became the exclusive representative of The Falkenstein Foundation in 2014. The gallery has since mounted two solo exhibitions, "Claire Falkenstein: A Selection of Works" from 1955–1975 (2016) and "Claire Falkenstein: Matter in Motion" (2018), the latter of which was accompanied by a catalogue featuring an interview by Paul J. Karlstrom, former director of the Archives of American Art, and a tribute by Lynda Benglis.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2023, Booth A17

December 6, 2023 - December 10, 2023
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of American masterworks representative of the gallery’s historically grounded and culturally diverse program. Spanning eight decades, the majority of works on view are standout examples of midcentury American painting, sculpture, and works on paper by the artists that have been the backbone of the gallery’s program since its founding in 1989. Featured artists include Charles Alston, Benny Andrews, Ruth Asawa, Milton Avery, Hannelore Baron, Richmond Barthé, Mary Bauermeister, Romare Bearden, Harry Bertoia, Joseph Cornell, Harold Cousins, Sam Gilliam, Michael Goldberg, Nancy Grossman, Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Alfred Leslie, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Alice Neel, Alfonso Ossorio, Irene Rice Pereira, Milton Resnick, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Mark Tobey, Charles White, Jack Whitten, Charmion von Wiegand, William T. Williams, and Hale Woodruff. Organized into sections exploring a range of disciplines and stylistic approaches, Booth A17 includes a Kabinett installation featuring a stunning selection of fifty small-scale works by Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997) from her celebrated "Fusion" series of abstract metal and glass sculptures. Drawn from the holdings of the artist’s Foundation, the vast majority of the delicate, intimately sized works on view in Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s presentation have never been publicly exhibited. Composed of welded metal and melted glass, Claire Falkenstein’s "Fusions" embody the dichotomies that exemplify the artist’s practice as a whole: solid and fluid, opaque and translucent, durable and fragile. Executed over a thirty-year period, from the mid-1950s through the mid-1980s, the "Fusions" constitute Falkenstein’s most sustained exploration of the possibilities inherent to a particular technical approach to sculpture. These works are perhaps the greatest testament to her artistic ingenuity, as they encompass a seemingly infinite array of shapes, scales, and palettes; some are quite minimalist, while others are a dense tangle of metal with many colors of glass. The small-scale "Fusions" on view at Booth A17 demonstrate the sculptor’s singular range; also a successful jewelry designer, Falkenstein is widely remembered for her large-scale public artworks and architectural installations, yet observers of her delicately diminutive works will see that the formal and material nuance for which her oeuvre is celebrated is consistent across her work of all scales. Testifying to her unique ability to execute minutely intricate works without losing any formal or conceptual power, the small-scale "Fusions" embody the fundamental concepts that shaped Falkenstein’s visual vocabulary throughout her career. In addition to the Kabinett installation, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s Art Basel Miami Beach presentation features key works shown in the gallery’s exhibition program of the past year, presenting highlights from the exhibitions "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space," "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy," and "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly." A major canvas by Thompson, "Untitled (The Proofing of the Cross)" (1963), exemplifies the painter’s prescient approach to figurative expressionism and his signature appropriative technique. Executed while he was living in Spain, Thompson’s painting riffs on the compositional structure of Piero della Francesca’s "Proofing of the Cross, the Legend of the True Cross" (1455–66) in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy, transmuting a Renaissance rendition of a Christian legend into a psychedelic tableaux of otherworldly, animalistic creatures engaged in an enigmatic ritual that evokes, as curator Slade Stumbo writes, “a sense of a dream state which is furthered by the fantastic setting that is absent of any reference to any actual place. Thompson’s overarching theme in this work becomes the movement between realms, metamorphosis.” Also on view at Booth A17 is a large-scale work featured in the gallery’s recent solo exhibition "William T. Williams: Tension to the Edge" (September 8–November 5, 2022) titled "Avon, Rainmakers Piss (1970)," an important canvas from the artist’s earliest mature body of work. A concise selection of works similar to those exhibited in the gallery’s current show, "Mary Bauermeister: Fuck the System"—recently deemed a “Must-See” by Artforum—will complete the overview. Augmenting the wall-sized paintings installed on the booth’s exterior is an alcove dedicated to figuration. A large collage painting by Benny Andrews, "Thanks" (1977), hangs adjacent to a quintessential portrait by one of Andrews’ good friends, Alice Neel, as well as one of Beauford Delaney’s most accomplished portraits depicting the influential journalist and critic Colin Gravois. Across the booth from this section is another alcove dedicated to material explorations of collage and assemblage, featuring an abstract painted canvas collage by Conrad Marca-Relli, a striking “Congregation” by Alfonso Ossorio from his celebrated series of intricate found-object assemblages, and a historic, large-scale paper collage by Romare Bearden from his "Of the Blues" series dedicated to the key players, composers, songs, and locales that were integral to the blues and jazz music that deeply informed the artist’s practice.

Mary Bauermeister

Mary Bauermeister: Fuck the System

November 11, 2023 - January 20, 2024
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present “Mary Bauermeister: Fuck the System,” a memorial exhibition organized in collaboration with the artist’s family. The first solo exhibition to open since her passing in March 2023, “Fuck the System” surveys the diverse, interdisciplinary oeuvre Bauermeister executed across seven decades. Taking its title from an assemblage executed at a key turning point in Bauermeister’s career, “Fuck the System” features works from each of her major series, including examples of rarely exhibited pastels, light boxes, and easel sculptures. A child of totalitarian Germany who rejected the Constructivist mandates of the country’s postwar schools of art and design, Bauermeister’s art and worldview were explicitly anti-tradition from the beginning of her career. The artist’s fascination with paradox and its potential to reveal fissures in the foundations of entrenched conventions is apparent throughout her work, which both embodies and challenges contradictory binaries, often vacillating between uncontrolled apostrophe and methodical structure, Zen-like serenity and impassioned rage, introversion and extroversion. This fluid approach to thinking about art manifests in a variety of ways; many of her works deal with the nature of optical and ideological perception while approaching the trappings of established hegemonies and contemporary trends with equal skepticism.

Charmion von Wiegand

The Art Show 2023, Booth A4

November 1, 2023 - November 5, 2023
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to participate in The Art Show 2023 with "Charmion von Wiegand," a solo exhibition of collages, paintings, and works on paper dating from 1945 to 1970, comprising a vibrant survey of the artist’s most productive years. The exhibition constitutes an abridged version of the Kunstmuseum Basel’s recent retrospective "Charmion von Wiegand" (March 24–August 8, 2023), to which the gallery loaned sixteen works. On view at Booth A4, "Charmion von Wiegand" charts the evolution of the artist’s mature style as she expanded her visual language to incorporate a thoroughly cosmopolitan range of influences. An important translator and protégé of Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), Charmion von Wiegand (1896–1983) developed her own approach to Neoplasticism that carried on the Dutch artist’s investigation of Theosophical principles while incorporating concepts, designs, and symbols from the Eastern religions she studied and eventually adopted as her personal spiritual guides. Also influenced by the automatist practices of the Surrealists and the densely urban environs of Manhattan, von Wiegand’s collages and biomorphic abstractions of the 1940s soon segued into a more overt embrace of Mondrian’s Neoplastic grid. She continued in this vein through the 1950s and gradually began to incorporate motifs and compositional processes drawn from Taoist doctrines. Throughout the 1960s, the artist’s intellectual interest and personal involvement in Eastern philosophies and religions, especially Tibetan Buddhism, inspired her to compose exacting amalgamations of stupas, mandalas, hexagrams, prismatic grids, and more. Throughout her career, von Wiegand drew inspiration from a diverse range of sources, including Theosophist color theory, the "I Ching," Egyptian cosmology, tantric yoga, and various branches of Buddhism, forging a singular language of geometric abstraction illuminated by her ardent pursuit of spiritual transcendence. From 1967 until her death in 1983, von Wiegand devoted her spiritual life to Mahayana Buddhism, and the art she produced in the years leading up to this conversion reflects her insatiable curiosity for non-Western systems of thought and spirituality. Scholar Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist of religion, posits that von Wiegand’s paintings of the 1960s “arguably represent the deepest Western visual representation of Tantrism: not a mere imitation of Eastern models, but a reinterpretation of the modern abstract art of the West through Tantric lenses.”[1] As art historians and curators continue to expand the history of spiritual abstraction in the 20th century to include such luminaries as Sonia Delaunay, Hilma af Klint, and Agnes Pelton, the work of Charmion von Wiegand has attracted greater institutional recognition and an international audience. Mondrian had been active in Theosophical circles while living in Europe, and, in von Wiegand’s view, internalized the Theosophical doctrine to the extent where its teachings not only informed his painting practice but became “implicit to his life.”[2] Though her first exposure to Theosophy was in childhood, when she attended Theosophical Society meetings with her parents, von Wiegand did not study the subject in earnest until she was an adult. In the 1920s, she studied the esoteric philosophy of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who she came to revere as a spiritual guide, and her later friendship with Mondrian inspired her to revisit Theosophist thought; in 1946 she read the religion’s foundational text, "The Secret Doctrine" by Helena Blavatsky as well as ancillary texts by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, sparking an extended study of Theosophist color theory in her art. Another important event in von Wiegand’s spiritual life occurred in 1967, when she met Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, a Gelugpa monk who had recently arrived in New York as a refugee from China’s invasion of Tibet. Rato would mentor her spiritual study in the tradition of Mahayana Buddhism until her death, and it was through him that she was given an audience with the Dalai Lama during her travels to India and Tibet. In 1975, Rato founded the Tibet Center in New York and invited von Wiegand to sit on its Board of Advisors. The daughter of a journalist for Hearst, von Wiegand had a culturally stimulating upbringing, living in Chicago, San Francisco, Arizona, and Berlin. After studying journalism and art history at Barnard College and Columbia University, she pursued a writing career that eventually led to her becoming a night correspondent for Hearst in Moscow, where she was the only woman at the desk, from 1929–32. After moving back to New York and marrying leftist writer Joseph Freeman, she continued to pursue a career in journalism and began writing art criticism. A breakthrough with her psychologist in 1927 had led to her realization that she wanted to be a painter, and she spent much of the 1930s cultivating an art practice in her spare time. After meeting Mondrian in 1941, von Wiegand was inspired to make painting her primary endeavor. One of the few women who achieved success in the field of American abstract art in the postwar years, von Wiegand’s social circle reflected her artistic interests and included such avant-garde luminaries as Hart Crane, Sonia Delaunay, John Graham, Jean Hélion, Carl Holty, Frederick Kiesler, Hans Richter, Joseph Stella, and Mark Tobey. Many of her peers shared her interest in Eastern religion and philosophy, and von Wiegand’s unique visual language embodies what curator Haema Sivanesan describes as a transcultural, “modern Buddhism”[3] that exemplifies the deep engagement with Eastern spiritual and aesthetic philosophies by the era’s artists and intellectuals. "Charmion von Wiegand" at the Kunstmuseum Basel was curated by the museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Maja Wismer, and was the artist’s first career retrospective at a European institution. In 2021, Prestel Verlag released a beautifully illustrated catalogue, "Charmion von Wiegand: Expanding Modernism," which includes a trove of primary document reproductions, a selected chronology, and contributions by Wismer as well as Martin Brauen, an anthropologist specializing in Himalayan culture; art historian Lori Cole, Associate Professor at New York University; Haema Sivanesan, Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Nancy J. Troy, Professor in Art at Stanford University; and art historian Felix Vogel, who currently teaches at the University of Basel. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s commitment to the art of Charmion von Wiegand is longstanding. Since taking on the artist’s representation in 1998, the gallery has worked closely with the estate to mount five solo exhibitions highlighting important facets of von Wiegand’s groundbreaking oeuvre: "Spirit & Form, Collages 1946–1963" (1998), "Spirituality in Abstraction" (2000), "Improvisations, 1945" (2003), "Offering of the Universe" (2007), and "Secret Doors" (2014), four of which were accompanied by fully-illustrated catalogues publishing new scholarship by leading art historians and curators. [1] Massimo Introvigne, “From Mondrian to Charmion von Wiegand: Neo-Plasticism, Theosophy, and Buddhism,” in Judith Noble, ed. "Black Mirror 0: territory" (Somerset, United Kingdom: Fulgur, 2019) p. 58 [2] Charmion von Wiegand, from Margit Rowell, “Interview with Charmion von Wiegand,” "Piet Mondrian 1872–1944: Centennial Exhibition," exh. cat. (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1971) p. 77 [3] Haema Sivanesan, “Charmion von Wiegand’s Vision of Modern Buddhism,” in Maja Wismer, ed. "Charmion von Wiegand: Expanding Modernism" (Basel: Kunstmuseum Basel, 2021) p. 91

Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly

September 7, 2023 - November 4, 2023
“[Norman Lewis’ works on paper] are visually unique, intellectually demanding, and extremely beautiful in the deliberateness of their hybridity and ambiguity. …The artist’s concern for his viewers, as well as himself, is profoundly embedded into the generosity by which Norman Lewis embraced, demanded, and believed in the power of art to alter the world intuitively and purposefully.” —Ruth Fine Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly," the gallery’s sixth solo exhibition dedicated to the artist. A vital member of the first generation of abstract expressionists, Norman Lewis (1909–1979) executed hundreds of works on paper throughout his career, considering the medium to be of equal importance to his pursuits on canvas or board. "Give Me Wings To Fly" features sixty works dating from 1935 through 1978 that collectively trace the major developments of the artist’s visual language and reveal his immense range in subject, technique, and style. The exhibition will be accompanied by an online catalogue publishing new scholarship by art historian and Norman Lewis expert Ruth Fine. Now an independent curator, Fine retired from her position as a curator at The National Gallery of Art in 2012, after four decades at the museum. In 2015, she curated the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis, organized for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Borrowing its title from a 1954 ink drawing included in the exhibition, "Give Me Wings To Fly" constitutes a succinct microcosm of Lewis’ body of works on paper, highlighting standout compositions from each phase of the artist’s career. The staggering range of Lewis’ technical and stylistic experimentation is perhaps most evident in his paper oeuvre, which ranges from elegantly spare explorations of calligraphic linework to densely atmospheric, allover compositions executed in oil, gouache, and pastel. Lewis often used his works on paper as arenas for the exploration of new compositional processes and formal vocabularies, rendering this expansive body of work a vital key to understanding his overarching artistic concerns. Organized according to the major stylistic turns in Lewis’ career, "Give Me Wings To Fly" attests to Lewis’ friend, the sociologist Julian Euell’s observation that he was “a master at working in several idioms at the same time.” The earliest works on view are a rare group of representational pastels dating to 1935 that portray a selection of the traditional West and Central African artifacts Lewis admired in the Museum of Modern Art’s "African Negro Art" exhibition of the same year. These drawings are installed alongside vitrines displaying a selection of Lewis’ sketchbooks on loan from the artist’s archive, allowing visitors to follow the evolution of his prevailing motifs from their nascent conception to their fully developed execution in the adjacent galleries. The artist’s gift for simultaneously investigating multiple formal and conceptual concerns within a single period of his career—and sometimes, within a single work—is demonstrated by a group of drawings representative of Lewis’ initial foray into abstraction. Disillusioned with the Social Realist mode that defined his early career and inspired by the European cubists and surrealists he had been studying, Lewis executed a series of drawings inspired by architectural designs specific to his Harlem surrounds. Doors, windows, fire escapes, stoops, gates, and other structures provided the formal basis for several compositions of varying levels of abstraction executed from 1945–46, and the kernels of what would become Lewis’ visual vocabulary are apparent in these pivotal drawings. Largely self-educated, Lewis was endlessly curious and maintained a large personal library of books on a wide variety of subjects ranging from Bauhaus architecture, English and French literature, Classical music, East Asian calligraphy, mystic ritual, and more. Like many of his New York School peers, jazz was also a constant source of inspiration for Lewis, who frequented jazz clubs and maintained an expansive collection of records. His spiritual and intellectual engagement with blues, bebop, and free jazz is evident in his approach to abstract expressionism, wherein specific themes are amplified, expanded upon, and embellished as a musician would riff on a melody—a tendency that lent itself to the immediacy inherent to the medium of drawing. The transcendent results of the artist’s diverse interests and methodical explorations of abstraction’s evocative power are perhaps most observable in the exacting, minimalist ink drawings from the late 1940s and 1950s on view. Lewis’ lyrical, spare compositions of this period reveal his burgeoning interest in Chinese calligraphy, which approximately coincided with his adoption into the Willard Gallery stable of artists in 1946. Known for its program of American abstractionists with an interest in the philosophies and aesthetics of East Asian cultural traditions, Willard Gallery brought together such luminaries as Mark Tobey and Morris Graves, whose travels to China and Japan deeply influenced their artistic sensibilities, and Japanese émigré painter Genichiro Inokuma, with whom Lewis developed a close friendship. As the 1950s and 1960s progressed, Lewis expounded on his major stylistic concerns, resulting in a proliferation of works that deeply investigate or inventively combine his distinct abstract vocabularies. "Give Me Wings to Fly" highlights quintessential examples of Lewis’ energetic “little people” compositions, wherein repeated linear motifs indicative of the figure are arranged in a variety of contexts. In his atmospheric compositions, ethereal swathes of pigment are often applied to indicate dimensional space such as land, city, or seascapes, conjuring images that simultaneously evoke cloud formations and a human torso, or the rise and fall of ocean waves and mountain ridgelines. Similarly, the artist’s stylized linework often indicates the presence of a figure, glyph, or audial event, such as the frenetic syncopations of bebop and the branches of a barren tree. Though he resided in Manhattan all his life, Lewis held a deep appreciation for the natural world, maintaining a lush indoor garden of potted plants in his studio and keeping pet birds. Arboreal and botanical motifs recur throughout his oeuvre, as do ornithological references often intended to be read as metaphors for sociopolitical struggle. Despite remaining dedicated to abstraction from the 1940s onward, Lewis’ activism and political views are apparent in numerous works, including the totem-themed line drawing "Too Much Aspiration" (c.1953), an untitled composition from 1968 centered on a semi-abstract linework indicative of a line of hands grappling in a game of tug-of-war, and an atmospheric work from 1974 featuring a sequence of ascending rectilinear edges executed in a palette of red, black, and green—the colors of the Pan-African flag. In the years 1929 to 1932, Lewis worked as a merchant sailor for a line of commercial freighters, and this experience sparked an enduring interest in nautical subjects. Thematic explorations of the sea extend across his entire career, eventually culminating in his final series of compositions, known as the "Seachange" works, several examples of which are on view. The echoing, ovoid motif centered in these works was inspired by the artist’s travels to Greece in the summer of 1973, when Lewis and his wife Ouida visited the artist Jack Whitten at his summer residence in Crete. Lewis’ sketchbooks from this visit reveal a resurgent interest in themes referencing the ocean and, specifically, a desire to capture the movement and sound of seaside winds in a visual format. These works are also read by many art historians as a metaphor for Lewis’ newfound hopes for American society in the wake of the hard-won freedoms brought about by the civil rights activists and politicians who advocated for justice and racial equality in the preceding decades. "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly" is Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s third solo exhibition on the artist since taking on representation of the estate in 2014. The gallery has been a vocal champion of Lewis’ art for over thirty years: his work was regularly featured in the gallery’s celebrated "African American Art: 20th Century Masterworks" series (1993–2003), and the gallery has mounted five previous solo exhibitions dedicated to Lewis, two of which were also dedicated to his works on paper: "Norman Lewis: Intuitive Markings, Works on Paper, 1945–1975" (1999); "Norman Lewis: Abstract Expressionist Drawings, 1945–1978" (2009); "Norman Lewis: PULSE, A Centennial Exhibition" (2009); "Norman Lewis: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings" (2016); and "Norman Lewis: Looking East" (2019).

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Hannelore Baron, Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Jay DeFeo, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Grossman, Louise Nevelson, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Claire Zeisler

Frieze New York 2023, Booth D11

May 17, 2023 - May 21, 2023
For Frieze New York 2023, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present "1973," a group exhibition featuring works created in the months leading up to and immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision of January 22, 1973 in the case of "Roe v. Wade." Widely understood as a major victory for the second-wave feminist movement that was then at its peak, the ruling was a watershed moment for the nation and many artists were commensurately inspired by the empowerment it granted. Fifty years hence, the revocation of the rights conferred by "Roe" has revealed the disproportionate measure of power wielded by an unelected group of judges acting on behalf of the minority of Americans who oppose such freedoms. Coming into artistic maturity in an era of overt social and institutional sexism, the artists exhibited in "1973" levied their cultural cachet and risked the future of their careers to resist the dominant social and political powers in a variety of ways. Foregrounding themes of physical compromise, convalescence, and psychic resilience, Booth D11 features an interdisciplinary selection of works by a diverse roster of artists including Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017), Hannelore Baron (1926–1987), Mary Bauermeister (1934–2023), Lee Bontecou (1931–2022), Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), Barbara Chase-Riboud (b.1934), Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997), Nancy Grossman (b.1940), Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Betye Saar (b.1926), Alma Thomas (1891–1987), and Claire Zeisler (1903–1991). Ranging from the intimately personal to the grandly universal, 1973 conveys a tangible sense of the manifold materials, processes, and iconographies engaged by this revolutionary generation of artists. Though not all of the works in the presentation are overtly political, an undercurrent of feminist thought, and political struggle is evident in each artists’ oeuvre and the exhibition as a whole. Highlights of "1973" include a standout example from Grossman’s celebrated series of leather-covered head sculptures, "Black" (1973–74). Despite their masculine features, Grossman refers to these sculptures as self-portraits, as they convey the rage she felt in witnessing the violence sparked by the political and social movements of late 1960s, when she created the first works in the series. Works such as "Black" further embody Grossman’s conception of the relationship between the individual and society, evoking themes of disenfranchisement and suppression. The deliberate confusion of attributes traditionally coded as masculine or feminine was a common technique among the second-generation feminists, often employed to expose the socially constructed origins of such categorizations. Similarly, Mary Bauermeister’s "Durchwanderung (Nature)" (1973–74) is a commentary on the gendered preconceptions that often require women artists to neutralize their femininity in order to be taken seriously in an art world dominated by men. Comprising a sprawling installation of wooden spheres, pencils, and one of Bauermeister’s famed lens boxes, the work opens onto a multitude of implications pertaining to the nature of visual perception, framing, and traditional symbols of biological sex (i.e., eggs and phalluses). Magdalena Abakanowicz’s large-scale textile work, "Kolo I (Orchidee I)" (1973), likewise addresses prevailing conceptions of gender which reduce the nuances of identity to anatomical attributes of sex. Simultaneously referencing the vulva, a flower, and the interior of a tree in which the artist sought safety and solace as a child in Nazi-occupied Poland, Abakanowicz transforms an understated sisal tondo into a testament to human fragility, resilience, and a celebration of the complexities of the natural world. A prime example of Louise Nevelson’s iconic assemblage sculptures, "Untitled" (c.1973), also elevates objects and themes traditionally relegated to the realm of the home. Here the artist—who eschewed the feminist label, insisting that she was “an artist who happens to be a woman”—gathers a deliberate selection of common wooden household objects uniformly coated in her signature matte black within an architecturally enclosed structure. By repurposing castoff materials that, once assembled, address profound themes such as love and death through a domestic lens, Nevelson’s sculpture bucks the machismo stereotype associated with the abstract expressionists—especially sculptors working on a large scale. Finally, a selection of drawings by Barbara Chase-Riboud dating to 1973 demonstrate the polymath’s stunning draftsmanship; trained as an architect, Chase-Riboud is also a poet, novelist, and sculptor who takes up distinct but intersecting subjects—often drawn from the history and literature—in each discipline she approaches. The drawings at Booth D11 are structured by the children’s game Hopscotch, except in lieu of numbers and pebbles, the artist illustrates large slabs of cut stone, sinewy ropes, and inscrutable texts, alluding to the monuments and languages of ancient civilizations. Bestowing one work in the series with a print of her own lips—"Hopscotch with a Kiss" (1973)—Chase-Riboud presents an enigmatic group of compositions that speak to both the historical conditions of her personal identity, corporeal presence, and the universality of the human experience. Created at a time of intense social and political upheaval, the works on view in "1973" provide a snapshot of the era’s cultural ethos while taking on new valences of meaning in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision of last year. As the U.S. returns to an era of forced pregnancy and unsafe abortions on what should have been the fiftieth anniversary of the federal protection of reproductive rights, it is our hope that this tragic loss of bodily autonomy will be met with commensurate opposition to the social and governmental powers who have brought about this result.

Bob Thompson

Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy

April 1, 2023 - July 7, 2023
"Thompson realized that vitality was the only answer to the mystery of being… The mystery of vitality beyond analysis is the central achievement of art because it has always proved that humanity is capable of creating living works that do not lose force when their maker meets the big darkness of death. […] Thompson was an artist of big and foreboding passion, a man whose involvement with his era could be humorous but was never about trying to elevate himself above the human shortcomings and frailties inherent in life." [1] —Stanley Crouch "[In] a twisted sort of way I am doomed to be buried alive in cadmium orange, red, yellow light with flowers on my grave of magenta violet, and my casket being the canvas for forcefully having to wrap, walk and slide into it every day like the wan Prussian blue shore…"[2] —Bob Thompson Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy," a solo exhibition and career survey. Presenting major works from each year of the artist’s mature practice, 1958–1966, the exhibition demonstrates the extreme polarities of Thompson’s oeuvre, in which a broad range of art historical references converge through his portrayal of subjects both deeply personal and heroically universal. In addition to over fifteen paintings and a selection of works on paper, "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" includes a special installation of archival photographs and sketchbooks, offering an in-depth look at Thompson’s artistic process. In a tragically brief life, Bob Thompson (1937–1966) created a complex body of work structured by his own symbolic lexicon, fauvist palettes, and compositional devices drawn from the European Old Master tradition. As inspired by the improvisational riffs of jazz as he was by the formal devices of Fra Angelico, Poussin, and Tintoretto, Thompson’s viscerally executed paintings conjure a psychedelic allegory of his own experience. During the years he lived in New York, the artist was deeply immersed in the avant-garde scene of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, participating in Fluxus happenings, befriending poets Allen Ginsberg and LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and frequenting legendary jazz clubs, especially the Five Spot and Slugs’ Saloon. Titled after Irving Stone’s 1961 biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarotti, "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" demonstrates the impassioned fervor with which Thompson pursued his vision in defiance of prevailing social limitations; where the Renaissance sculptor saw an angel in a slab of marble and carved until he set him free, Thompson saw himself in the canon of Western painting and revised, collaged, and electrified its components until the spark of life manifested on his canvas. Put in modern terms, Thompson was a quintessential Beat[3], as Thelma Golden submits in her text for the artist’s 1998 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, especially as it was defined by Lisa Philips’ exhibition on the movement mounted at the museum three years earlier, which included Thompson’s 1965 portrait of Ginsberg: "The search for alternative consciousness, the mystical side of the Beats, goes hand in hand with their gritty realism and rebellion. These two sides—the ecstatic and the horrific, the beatific and the beaten, define the poles of the Beat experience."[4] By turns volcanically hot and fluorescently cool, the kaleidoscopic palettes of Thompson’s paintings embody the hallucinatory ethos of his moment while the formal schema drawn from the historical masterworks he obsessively studied ground his subjects in familiar narratives of tragedy, adoration, and rebellion. Often set in a pastoral countryside or dense woodlands, Thompson’s scenes are populated by Madonnas and saints, monstrous birds, anthropomorphic donkeys, shadowy men in fedoras, and more. “Thompson’s distortion of natural form and his transgressions of category, such as human and animal,” writes curator Slade Stumbo, “destabilize notions of the real and evoke a sense of a dream state which is furthered by the fantastic setting that is absent of any reference to any actual place. Thompson’s overarching theme in this work becomes the movement between realms, metamorphosis.”[5] Highlights of "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" include five large-scale paintings dating to a landmark year in the artist’s practice, 1963, which exemplify his radical approach and constitute a culmination of his travels in Europe from the spring of 1961 to the fall of 1963—his first journey to the continent. Dramatic tableaux of enigmatic interactions and sparse, set-like environs that focus attention on the figures of such works as "Untitled (The Proofing of the Cross)" and "The Nativity" revise the central action of their 15th-century referents to compose a scene that embodies the artist’s own desires and fears. Thompson’s extensive engagement with the works of Spanish Romanticist Francisco Goya reaches its pinnacle in "The Struggle," "The Dentist," and "Tribute to An American Indian," which appropriate select forms from Goya’s "Los Caprichos" (1799), a set of eighty prints composed as an allegory for the follies of Spanish society; executed during an inflection point in the Civil Rights Movement, many of Thompson’s works suggest a parable of racial identity shaped by the blood-soaked history of his home nation. A child of the Jim Crow South and husband in an interracial marriage, Thompson felt the sociopolitical upheavals of his moment with heightened intensity. Structured by his own deeply personal symbolic vocabulary, Thompson’s rhapsodic compositions offer dramatic narratives centered on the extreme emotional states of his lived experience. Encapsulating the overarching trajectory of his career while providing a primer on his complex set of references and symbols, "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" celebrates this unparalleled artist’s oeuvre while deepening our understanding of his life and art. “I paint many paintings that tell me slowly that I have something inside of me that is just bursting, twisting, sticking, spilling over to get out,” Thompson once wrote in a letter to his sister. “Out into souls & mouths & eyes that have never seen before. The Monsters are present now on my canvas as in my dreams.”[6] "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring new scholarship by Classicist Allannah Karas, Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, and Diana Tuite, Visiting Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art. Tuite is the curator of the critically acclaimed retrospective "Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine" at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, which recently concluded its nationwide tour at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles after stops at the Smart Museum in Chicago and the High Museum in Atlanta. "Bob Thompson: Agony & Ecstasy" is Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s sixth exhibition focused on Thompson and the first solo exhibition mounted since acquiring the estate in 2019. A concurrent exhibition featuring works from public and private collections, "Bob Thompson: So let us all be citizens," will be on view at 52 Walker from April 20–July 8, 2023. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s relationship with the work of Bob Thompson dates to 1996, when the gallery took on representation of the estate and mounted "Bob Thompson: Heroes, Martyrs & Spectres." Three more solo exhibitions followed: "Fantastic Visions" (1999), "Meteor in a Black Hat" (2005)—which traveled to the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee—and "Naked at the Edge." Following twenty-three years of representation, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery acquired the Estate of Bob Thompson in 2019, a tremendous procurement that included all remaining works in the family’s possession, numerous artist sketchbooks and the artworks’ intellectual property rights. 1 Stanley Crouch, “Still Ahead,” "Bob Thompson: Meteor in a Black Hat," exh. cat. (New York: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2005) p. 6–7 2 Bob Thompson, from a letter to his family quoted in Gylbert Coker, "The World of Bob Thompson," exh. cat. (New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1978) p. 21 3 Thelma Golden, "Bob Thompson," exh. cat. (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1998) p. 22 4 Lisa Philips, “Beat Culture: America Revisioned” in "Beat Culture and the New America," 1950–1965, exh. cat. (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1995) p. 33 5 Slade Stumbo, “Seeking Bob Thompson: Chasing Seagulls,” in "Seeking Bob Thompson: Dialogue/Object," exhibition catalogue (Louisville: Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville, 2012), 19–20. 6 Bob Thompson, from a letter to his sister quoted in Gylbert Coker, "The World of Bob Thompson," exh. cat. (New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1978) p. 21–22

Bob Thompson

Frieze Los Angeles 2023

February 16, 2023 - February 19, 2023
Following the success of our inaugural presentation at Frieze LA last year, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to return to Los Angeles with a solo exhibition of works by Bob Thompson (1937–1966) organized in complement to the recent traveling retrospective "Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine," which concluded its nationwide tour at UCLA’s Hammer Museum in January. The gallery’s presentation at Frieze LA 2023 constitutes Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s fifth show on Thompson and our first solo exhibition of the artist since acquiring the estate in 2019. The presentation at Frieze serves as a preview to an upcoming solo exhibition of the artist’s work that will be on view from April 1–May 26, 2023, in the gallery’s ground floor space in Chelsea. Sixteen major paintings and over thirty works on paper are on view at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s Booth A15, constituting a succinct, vibrant survey of Thompson’s visionary oeuvre. The works on view were executed between 1958, the year the artist moved to New York, and 1966, the year he passed away in Rome, providing a compelling synopsis of Thompson’s career. Both our Frieze presentation and the upcoming gallery show include works that have not been publicly exhibited in decades as well as several works that appeared in "This House is Mine." In a tragically brief life, Bob Thompson created a complex body of work structured by his own symbolic lexicon, fauvist palettes, and compositional devices drawn from the European Old Master tradition. As inspired by the improvisational riffs of jazz as he was by the formal tropes of Goya, Poussin, and Tintoretto, Thompson’s viscerally executed paintings conjure a psychedelic allegory of his own experience. Often set in a pastoral countryside or dense woodlands, Thompson’s scenes are populated by Madonnas and saints, monstrous birds, anthropomorphic donkeys, shadowy men in fedoras, and much, much more. During the years he lived in New York, the artist was deeply immersed in the avant-garde scene of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, participating in Fluxus happenings, befriending Beatniks such as Allen Ginsberg and LeRoi Jones, and frequenting the city’s legendary jazz clubs, including the 5 Spot and Slugs’ Saloon. A chance encounter with the work of German Expressionist Jan Müller (1922–1958) in the summer of 1958 set Thompson on a path to his mature style; Müller’s raw, flatly rendered allegorical paintings were a revelation to Thompson, and he sought out the artist’s widow Dodi Müller, to learn more; she advised him to eschew extended study of contemporary art in favor of close consideration of the Old Masters. Thompson subsequently took advantage of every opportunity to sketch the works of Old and Modern masters in the U.S., visiting the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia and frequenting The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also took several long sojourns in Europe with the aid of travel grants and, after his career took off, his own funds. Sketching daily at the Louvre and various historical sites in Spain and Italy provided the artist with a seemingly infinite supply of fodder for his increasingly complex and monumental compositions. The paintings and drawings on view at Frieze LA collectively represent the richness of Thompson’s oeuvre, portraying myriad subjects and converging a broad range of art historical references. Among the sixteen works on canvas are "Harvest Rest" (1964) and "The Golden Ass" (1963), which reimagine Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s "The Harvesters" (1565) and a scene from Francisco de Goya’s "Los Caprichos" (1797–99), respectively. Among the selection of works on paper will be Thompson’s spontaneous line drawings of various musicians he observed at the downtown jazz venues he haunted, including Cannonball Adderley, Art Blakey, Bob Cranshaw, John Ore, and Sonny Rollins. “Thompson understood the power of the works he used and their place in the history of art,” writes curator Thelma Golden in the text accompanying Thompson’s 1998 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American art, which she and Judith Wilson curated. “Western art offered him something which he assumed was his right to use freely. He was also clear about his desire to make these works his own: inflect their vocabulary with his grammar; infuse the agreed-upon meanings with his intention. To claim them. To signify. …Thompson’s art lay not simply in the restatement, but in the revision and replacement of these familiar passages—a philosophy that brings him into a direct affinity with his jazz musician contemporaries as well as with an entire generation of African American artists who followed his strategy.” Curated by Diana Tuite for the Colby College Museum of Art (Waterville, ME), "Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine" garnered widespread acclaim throughout its four-city national tour. The exhibition was the first solo exhibition of Thompson’s work at a museum since the 1998 Whitney show. Following its opening at the Colby Museum in July 2021, This House is Mine traveled to the Smart Museum in Chicago, the High Museum in Atlanta and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. A beautifully designed, fully illustrated catalogue published in association with Yale University Press features an impressive group of contributors, including curators Lowery Stokes Sims and Robert Cozzolino; art historians Adrienne L. Childs, Bridget R. Cooks, Jacqueline Francis, and George Nelson Preston; and artists Henry Taylor, Alex Katz, and Rashid Johnson. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s relationship with the work of Bob Thompson dates to 1996, when the gallery took on representation of the estate and mounted "Bob Thompson: Heroes, Martyrs & Spectres" at our 57th Street location. Three more solo exhibitions followed: "Fantastic Visions" (1999), "Meteor in a Black Hat" (2005)—which traveled to the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee—and "Naked at the Edge: Bob Thompson," which opened at the gallery’s current Chelsea location in 2015. The gallery published accompanying catalogues for the first three exhibitions, featuring texts by the artist’s widow Carol Thompson and jazz critic Stanley Crouch. Following twenty-three years of representation, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery acquired the Estate of Bob Thompson in 2019, a monumental procurement that included all remaining works in the family’s possession, numerous artist sketchbooks, and the artworks’ intellectual property rights.

Harold Cousins

Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space

January 28, 2023 - March 25, 2023
One might say that art, like science, is a constant probing of the unknown—a seeking. I believe an artist should make art that he feels relevant to his day, taking into account the works of artists of the past. The empty spaces within and around a sculpture pose a challenge that has become for me almost an obsession.[1] —Harold Cousins Whether forests, drawings in space, plaitons, or all the works in between, his sculpture… pulses with the imperfect, brittle dynamism of life. Cousins indeed created cathedrals that tremble, echoing across national boundaries and the passage of time, casting long shadows that speak to the miraculous, breathtaking ability of sculpture to reshape and re-envision space.[2] —Marin R. Sullivan Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space," the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States in fifteen years. Comprising thirty metal sculptures executed between 1951 and 1975 as well as a group of related works on paper, the presentation is the gallery’s first exhibition dedicated to Harold Cousins (1916–1992) since taking on representation of the artist’s estate in 2020. Beginning with his first mature metal sculptures, "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space" charts the formation and evolution of Cousins’ major sculpture series, including his "forests," "drawings in space," "Gothic cathedrals," and "plaiton" works. The inciting event for Cousins’ turn to metalworking occurred a few years after he moved from New York to Paris in 1949, where he joined a vibrant scene of fellow expatriate artists that included Ed Clarke, Beauford Delaney, Herbert Gentry, Loïs Mailou Jones, and others drawn to the exceptional stylistic freedom enjoyed by the city’s avant-garde. In Paris, Cousins was one of about ten students accepted to study sculpture at Ossip Zadkine’s studio, where he absorbed the irascible modernist’s lessons on sculpting in the round. However, it was another student at Zadkine’s studio, the American sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri, who would have a formative impact on Cousins’ early artistic development, when he taught Cousins how to weld with an oxyacetylene torch. Eager to learn more about metalworking, Cousins studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière from 1951–52; it was also around this time that Cousins discovered the work of Spanish metalsmith-turned-sculptor Julio González, an artist he came to revere as one of the greats of his era and whose work he cited as a primary source of inspiration for his initial foray into direct-metal sculpting. It was in this environment of artistic enrichment and discovery that Cousins developed what would become one of the guiding conceits of his mature sculpture practice, namely a consideration of the negative space surrounding the sculpture as equal to that of its material components—in other words, he came to regard space as a compositional element. While his formal education and social network had provided him with the skills necessary to explore this avenue of thought, it was Cousins’ deep engagement with the art of past cultures that brought about this key stylistic breakthrough. During these early years in Paris, he frequented the Musée Rodin, the Musée de l'Homme, and the Louvre, studying Rodin’s "Monument to Balzac" (1892–1897) and sketching certain artifacts from ancient Egypt and 19th-century Hawaii, particularly the latter culture’s human-hair-and-whale-tooth pendants known as "lei niho palaoa." Contemplating the formal qualities that drew him to these works, Cousins explained: “[They] possessed the same basic quality: they gave one the visual impression of something existing that was not present in the forms of their material parts. I became convinced that this ‘something’ was the form of the empty space between the parts of a sculpture or around a solid.”[3] The artist thus developed his own personal gestalt theory, in which the suggestion of form within or around a sculpture is tantamount to its overall structure, and that the evocative thrust of the artwork derives from the interaction between the two. "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space" will feature several highlights from Cousins’ first decade in Europe, surveying the artist’s seemingly endless experiments with the foundational formal elements of line, plane, and texture. While clearly grounded in abstraction, Cousins’ sculptures from these years often reference specific subjects, including grand classical themes such as warriors and saints, botanical and animalic organisms, quotidian encounters such as musicians and dancers, and self-referential meditations on modernism, such as an homage to the neoplastic master Piet Mondrian. Describing his method for these works with a term coined by González—"drawing in space”—Cousins sought to activate the area around and within his sculpture, just as a draftsman would animate their paper through the delineation of positive and negative space. Composed with an emphasis on their linear elements, the artist executed these sculptures with a particular consideration of the interplay of light and shadow created by the works’ forms and varying degrees of transparency. As art historian Robert Slifkin posits in his recent survey of postwar sculpture, “Welded sculpture’s airy openness made its existence in actual space crucial to its visual appearance. The world, one could say, appeared within the work, just as its decidedly nonartistic materials and methods of assembly made it strikingly of the world.”[4] Only two years after creating his first welded-steel sculpture in 1952, Cousins was awarded a solo exhibition of recent sculpture by Galerie Raymond Creuze in Paris. A string of group and solo exhibitions followed, garnering the attention of critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Cousins’ early successes propelled his practice in a new direction in the late 1950s, when he began producing a series of vertically oriented linear sculptures he referred to as “forests.” The late 1950s also witnessed the advent of Cousins’ famous "plaiton" series, which he would continue to expand for the rest of his career. A synthesis of the English word “plate” and the French “laiton” (brass), Cousins coined the term to describe, “the kind of sculpture that interests me, as well as my particular conception of it. The plastic expression consists of the repetitive use of metal plates of similar size and form welded together in a predetermined order. The concept involves giving special attention to the form of the empty space between the solid elements of a sculpture, as well as to the empty space surrounding the sculpture.”[5] "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space" will also include a group of exemplary works from both the "forest" and "plaiton" series. Dating from 1958 through the mid-1960s, the "plaitons" on view demonstrate the wide variety of configurations, scales, and orientations in which Cousins executed these works, with some designed to be hung from the ceiling, some placed on the floor, and some mounted on the wall. Complexly interconnected and exhibiting a rich array of patinas, these works are perhaps the most explicit manifestation of Cousins’ understanding of his materials’ relationship to dimensional space, and the nearly infinite possibilities contained therein. Other works in the exhibition explore abstract concepts pertaining to the physical qualities of their materials, such as "Study in Masses and Tensions" (1964), or express a specific sense of movement in abstract terms, such as "Le Grand Pas (The Big Step)" (1964). The 1960s also witnessed the manifestation of another major influence in Cousins’ work, namely the architecture of Gothic cathedrals. In many sculptures of the 1960s and 70s, Cousins transmuted the spirals, buttresses, arches, and a sense of spiritual transcendence found in the great cathedrals in Europe into a distinctly modernist expression of architectonic elevation. As 20th-century sculpture historian Marin Sullivan writes, “Cousins’s Gothic 'plaitons' were soaring achievements, evoking a transcendent, glowing magnificence, but for all their architectural and aesthetic monumentality there remains a kind of precarity, a sense that it could all tumble down at any moment. The 'plaiton' pieces lent these sculptures visual weight and physical structure, while the thin metal rods seem to contradict such stability, a constant, beautiful reminder of the fragility conveyed through their metallic interconnectedness.”[6] "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space" will be accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue that includes a comprehensive chronology, new scholarship by art historian Marin R. Sullivan, and a trove of previously unpublished photos and archival ephemera. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Harold Cousins and this exhibition has been organized with their cooperation. [1] Harold Cousins, “‘Plaiton’ Sculpture: Its Origin and Developments,” "Leonardo" vol. 4, no. 4 (Fall 1971) 353. [2] Marin Sullivan, “Trembling Cathedrals: The Sculpture of Harold Cousins,” "Harold Cousins: Forms of Empty Space," exhibition catalogue (New York, NY: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2023), forthcoming. [3] Cousins, ibid, 351. [4] Robert Slifkin, "The New Monuments and the End of Man: U.S. Sculpture Between War and Peace, 1945–1975" (Princeton University Press, 2019) p. 69. [5] Cousins, ibid. [6] Sullivan, ibid.

FOG Design+Art 2023, Booth 202

January 19, 2023 - January 22, 2023
Following the success of our inaugural presentation at FOG Design+Art last year, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to return to San Francisco with "Claire Falkenstein & Postwar Abstraction," a celebration of American artists working in abstraction in the middle decades of the 20th century centered on the career of Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997). Dating from 1951–1974, Falkenstein’s works are contextualized by a rich selection of works on paper from the same period by Lee Bontecou, Elaine de Kooning, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Michael Goldberg, Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner, Alfred Leslie, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Alfonso Ossorio, Jackson Pollock, Alma Thomas, and Mark Tobey. A pioneering modernist known for her radical material experimentation, Claire Falkenstein is remembered for her prolific oeuvre that comprises sculptures in ceramic, wood, glass, and a variety of metals, as well as a strong body of paintings, works on paper, and prints. Falkenstein’s art was inspired by her diverse interests, which included theoretical physics, mathematics, and the natural world, often embodying a key concept that undergirds much of her work, namely the tangible relationship between stasis and movement, or, “structure and flow,” as she phrased it. Claire Falkenstein & Postwar Abstraction includes sixteen standout Falkenstein sculptures from each major series of her career, as well as nine works on paper and two canvases from her "Moving Point" series. Comprising layered, dynamic fields of rhythmic marks that coalesce into a larger form, Falkenstein’s "Moving Point" works generate the impression of swarming action. Continuums and aggregate structures are prevailing concepts in Falkenstein’s works—both two- and three-dimensional—as is a reliance on improvisation during the compositional process; the resulting works impart a feeling of organic, open-ended growth and proliferation, allowing a host of interpretations related to collective movement, from the trajectory of sub-atomic particles to the swell of waves in the sea. A stunning highlight of the exhibition is a monumental sculpture dating to 1957, "Time is Concrete No. 1," which represents one of the earliest examples of Falkenstein’s signature melding of metal and glass. A culmination of Falkenstein’s artistic development in Paris, this landmark sculpture exemplifies Falkenstein’s unique formal language, which often blends her calligraphic and architectonic impulses, coalescing into a form that transcends category. Material experimentation was a constant source of inspiration for Falkenstein, and her investigations into the possibilities of glass as a sculptural material in the mid-1950s resulted in perhaps her most famous series of sculptures, the "Fusion" works. After encountering Murano glass during a trip to Venice, Falkenstein began testing various ways to incorporate the material into her metal sculptures. She soon determined a way to securely bond the two materials in her kiln, allowing the glass to melt in unpredictable ways over the metal armatures of her sculptures. The Fusion works thus exemplify a number of dichotomies: design and accident, hard and fluid, dark and light, durable and delicate. "Claire Falkenstein & Postwar Abstraction" also includes an important early example of Falkenstein’s experiments with suspended sculpture, "Architecture Organique" (1951). This work is one of the first examples of the artist’s welded metal sculptures designed to be hung from the ceiling, where it becomes a spectacle of shifting line and shadow as it interacts with the light and air currents in the space in which it is installed. Two years after completing "Architecture Organique," Falkenstein initiated a body of sculptures she referred to as the "Sun" series; featuring an intricate web of enclosed metal lattices that the artist described as “linear drawings in space,” the "Sun" sculptures are intended to evoke the impression of a continuously expanding and contracting celestial body. Suspended from the ceiling or displayed on a floor, these works reflect Falkenstein’s preoccupation with “opening up mass and making space visible,” an aim expressed in her sculptures’ unique capacity to move through, interlace with, or define space—rather than taking up a solid volume as in traditional sculpture in the round. A selection of midcentury abstract works on paper by Falkenstein’s peers is also on view in Booth 202, providing a clear sense of the milieu in which she developed her practice. Works by artists from both coasts as well as a fellow expatriate working in Paris—Beauford Delaney—both resonate and converse with the sculpture on view. Boldly hued, gestural works by Delaney, Elaine de Kooning, Michael Goldberg, Lee Krasner, Alfonso Ossorio, and Alma Thomas will be complemented by expressively textured, neutrally toned collages by Alfred Leslie and Conrad Marca-Relli. An emphasis on line defines the lyrical compositions of Norman Lewis, Jackson Pollock, and Hans Hofmann, while the intimately scaled works of Jay DeFeo and Lee Bontecou respectively transform an everyday object into a dynamic abstraction and describe a biomorphic realm of cosmic proportions. Finally, a potent group of white writing paintings on paper by an artist Falkenstein greatly admired, Mark Tobey, demonstrate the formal and structural affinities between the two artists’ approach to composition. As a whole, the installation will contextualize Falkenstein’s contributions to the canon of 20th-century abstraction among a survey of exemplary works by major midcentury American abstractionists. Though she spent a formative decade in Europe soaking up the independent spirit of Paris’ international avant-garde, Falkenstein’s relationship to California was as longstanding as it was reciprocal. After a childhood in rural Oregon, Falkenstein first established herself as an artist in northern California in the 1930s and 1940s; she studied art at UC Berkeley, opened her first solo exhibition at San Francisco’s East-West Gallery in 1930 and studied under Alexander Archipenko and László Moholy-Nagy at Mills College in Oakland. In the 1940s she began teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), and by the end of the decade, she had been awarded multiple solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the de Young Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Falkenstein moved to Paris in 1950, quickly falling in with fellow expatriate artists aligned with the influential French critic Michel Tapié. Her career continued to blossom during her time in Europe, and the vibrant cultural environment combined with her material success allowed her to develop several different series simultaneously. She settled permanently in Venice, California, in 1963, where she continued to expand her oeuvre over the next thirty years. Falkenstein exhibited regularly until her death in 1997 and completed numerous private and public commissions across California until the late 1980s, when her declining physical health forced her to stop working on large-scale sculptures. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery began exhibiting the work of Claire Falkenstein in the late 1990s. Since then, her work has consistently been a vital component of the gallery’s program, and in 2014, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became the exclusive representative of The Falkenstein Foundation. In 2016 the gallery mounted "Claire Falkenstein: A Selection of Works from 1955–1975" in conjunction with the artist’s career retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum of California Art, "Beyond Sculpture." Two years later, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery opened "Claire Falkenstein: Matter in Motion" to critical acclaim and published a beautifully designed catalogue featuring a tribute to Falkenstein by sculptor Lynda Benglis and the complete transcript of the artist’s final interview conducted by critic Paul J. Karlstrom.

Charles Alston, Norman Bluhm, Ilya Bolotowsky, James Brooks, Giorgio Cavallon, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Burgoyne Diller, Claire Falkenstein, Perle Fine, Fritz Glarner, Michael Goldberg, Hans Hofmann, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Robert Motherwell, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Milton Resnick, Theodoros Stamos, Alma Thomas, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente, William T. Williams, Hale Woodruff

Postwar Abstract Painting: “Art is a language in itself”

November 19, 2022 - January 21, 2023
"Postwar Abstract Painting: 'Art is a language in itself'” features a rich selection of works by some of the most eminent artists working in abstraction in the decades following World War II. This group exhibition explores the era’s remarkable proliferation of approaches to non-representational imagery. Exemplary paintings from a range of movements as diverse as the artists themselves comprise a vibrant survey of abstract art in the United States, offering a scintillating visual conversation on the reciprocal histories of abstract art in the second half of the 20th century. The title of the exhibition is drawn from a statement by Norman Lewis (1909–1979) first published in 1950: “Art to me is the expression of unconscious experiences common to all men, which have been strained through the artist’s own peculiar associations and use of his medium. In this sense, it becomes an activity of discovery...not only for the artist but for those who view his work. Art is a language in itself, embodying purely visual symbols which cannot properly be translated into words, musical notes, or, in the case of painting, three-dimensional objects...” Featured artists include Charles Alston, Norman Bluhm, Ilya Bolotowsky, James Brooks, Giorgio Cavallon, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Burgoyne Diller, Claire Falkenstein, Perle Fine, Fritz Glarner, Michael Goldberg, Hans Hofmann, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Robert Motherwell, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Milton Resnick, Theodoros Stamos, Alma Thomas, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente, William T. Williams, and Hale Woodruff.

Alfonso Ossorio

The Art Show 2022 Booth D13

November 3, 2022 - November 6, 2022
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to participate in The Art Show 2022 with "Alfonso Ossorio: Congregations," a solo exhibition featuring a selection of found-object assemblages executed between 1962 and 1967 by the most significant Filipino artist of the 20th century. Created between 1959 and 1990, the Congregations explore themes Alfonso Ossorio (1916–1990) addressed throughout his career, including the trauma of human gestation and birth, the specious definitions of race, and the fraught relationship between religion and sexuality—something he personally struggled with as an openly gay man profoundly devoted to Catholicism. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s presentation brings together works from the 1960s, the decade that witnessed the evolution of the Congregations, which would become Ossorio’s final body of work. The artist’s unique approach to the medium of assemblage was highly influential to subsequent generations of artists, and "Alfonso Ossorio: Congregations" provides a rare opportunity to explore some of the finest examples from the series.

The Armory Show 2022 Booth 317

September 8, 2022 - September 11, 2022
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to be participating in The Armory Show 2022 with a group exhibition encapsulating the gallery’s exciting and diverse program. Featuring an interdisciplinary selection of works dating from the interwar period through the present, our presentation offers a showcase of artists and movements central to the history of American art in the 20th and 21st centuries. The focus of the presentation is a wall-sized masterpiece by gallery artist William T. Williams (b.1942), "Sister Puss" (1968), which correlates to the artist’s solo exhibition at the gallery’s 19th Street space, "William T. Williams: Tension to the Edge" (September 8–November 5, 2022). Additional highlights include standout works by Benny Andrews (1930–2006), Robert Colescott (1925–2009), Joseph Cornell (1903–1972), and Agnes Pelton (1881–1961). Williams’ "Sister Puss" (titled after a family member’s nickname that references the fairytale character Puss in Boots) belongs to a body of work that constitutes the genesis of the artist’s “diamond-in-a-box” motif, which became a formal and thematic continuum in his oeuvre. Williams has referred to this form as a “stabilizing force” that structures the chaos he sought to convey within these works as a reflection of the tumultuous conditions of the era. Such works embody “place as a specific type of poetry,” in Williams’ words, offering a composite of experiences and memories both personal and collective. Williams’ historic painting will be complemented by a range of masterworks by artists consistently featured in gallery programming, including a standout collage painting from the same period by Benny Andrews. "Liberty #6 (Study for Trash)" (1971) is one of several finished paintings the artist referred to as a “study” for his monumental, multi-panel work "Trash," also executed in 1971 and now in the collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem. "Trash" is the second work in Andrews’ Bicentennial Series (1969–1976), a cycle of six monumental paintings that convey, as the artist stated, “a Black artist’s expression of …his dreams, experiences, and hopes along with the despair, anger, and depression [felt in response] to so many other Americans’ actions.” Carrying the torch of 20th-century figurative expressionism with a clear political message is Robert Colescott’s 1994 painting, "Shakespeare's Africans (Suicide, Tragedy)." Working in a distinct style characterized by cartoonish figuration, gestural brushwork, and dissonant color, Colescott’s satirical paintings contain razor-sharp critiques of American life and the Western cultural canon, often addressing the intertwined themes of race, sex, and class. Here the artist skewers the racism embedded in the Bard’s portrayal of Black figures through two of his best-known characters of African descent, Othello and Cleopatra, both of whom are fated to die by suicide in his plays. A theatrical reimagining of a major artifact of European culture is also the basis for another highlight of the presentation, Joseph Cornell’s box construction "Flemish Princess" (c.1950). The diorama is exemplary of the artist’s surrealist assemblages, which juxtapose an array of symbolically loaded objects in arrangements that reflect his myriad interests, from astronomy and space exploration to ballet and opera. In "Flemish Princess," Cornell positions printed reproductions of a Renaissance painting, Early Netherlandish painter Jean Hey’s portrait "Suzanne de Bourbon" (c.1492–93), behind wooden spheres resembling a child’s toy; the contents of the box are drenched in sepia tones, heightening the sense of nostalgia for past ages, both personal (i.e., childhood) and historical. Finally, rounding out the gallery’s presentation is a rare example of Transcendental Painting Group artist Agnes Pelton’s abstract landscapes; these metaphysical compositions express the spiritual life of the natural world through the artist’s signature language of rhythmic forms, brilliant colors, and radiant light. "Untitled" (c.1942) was inspired by the stark yet elegant vista of the California desert (where Pelton lived and worked for nearly thirty years), particularly the purple form in the left half of the composition, which resembles a seed pod of the Japanese magnolia tree. Though not strictly religious, the artist practiced meditation and was deeply inspired by Agni Yoga, Buddhism, Theosophy, and the theories of Carl Jung, absorbing their teachings into her visionary painting practice. The works discussed above are merely a sampling from the expansive checklist of works available at Booth 317. Here follows a complete list of the artists included in the gallery’s presentation: Charles Alston, Benny Andrews, Robert Arneson, Hannelore Baron, Richmond Barthé, Mary Bauermeister, William Baziotes, Romare Bearden, Harry Bertoia, John Biggers, Giorgio Cavallon, Ed Clark, Robert Colescott, Joseph Cornell, Harold Cousins, Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, John Ferren, Albert E. Gallatin, Sam Gilliam, Michael Goldberg, Adolph Gottlieb, Nancy Grossman, William H. Johnson, Raymond Jonson, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, George L.K. Morris, Louise Nevelson, Alfonso Ossorio, Agnes Pelton, Faith Ringgold, Charles G. Shaw, Dorothea Tanning, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente, Charmion von Wiegand, Stuart Walker, Charles White, William T. Williams, and Hale Woodruff.

William T. Williams

William T. Williams: Tension to the Edge

September 8, 2022 - November 5, 2022
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery proudly presents "Tension to the Edge," its third solo exhibition featuring the work of William T. Williams (b.1942). On view from September 8 through November 5, 2022, the exhibition will focus on the artist’s large-scale abstract paintings created between 1968 and 1970 as well as a related group of works on paper from the same period. Created during an era of significant social, political, and personal turmoil, the works on view in "William T. Williams: Tension to the Edge" address the upheavals of their moment through Williams’ distinctive language of hard-edged abstraction. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a stunning selection of five wall-sized paintings, four of which have not been seen since 1969; though they were painted nearly fifty years ago, Williams’ singular treatment of form, surface, and color render these works as fresh and groundbreaking as they were at the time of their creation. “The paintings that I was doing in the late 1960s had a number of devices that I thought spoke to [the political climate of the time],” Williams states. “The paintings were contained. I never allowed forms to go off the edges—I wanted this sense of containment and suppression. …I've said from the very beginning that my work is autobiographical: it speaks to those experiences that I've had as a human being but also more specifically as a Black human being. The work has always been about that.”[1] The paintings featured in "Tension to the Edge" constitute the genesis of the “diamond-in-a-box” motif that would become a formal and thematic continuum in the artist’s oeuvre. Williams has referred to the diamond-in-a-box device as a “stabilizing force” that structures the chaos he sought to convey within these works—a reflection of the tumultuous conditions of the era. While their monumental scale and meticulously sharp lines situate Williams’ paintings in conversation with the ascendant minimalist painters of the decade, the artist’s self-contained, architectural approach to composition, masterfully nuanced textures, and complexly interlocking geometries set them apart from contemporaneous trends in nonobjective painting. Perhaps the most important difference between Williams and his minimalist contemporaries is Williams’ prevailing concern with conveying specific personal or spiritual qualities in his work. His paintings exist as a composite of collective or individual memories and auratic impressions; the artist cites church services and family outings to the Apollo theater in Harlem as experiences that shaped his early conceptions of “presence,” that is, a site where spiritual expression and the physical environment coalesce. The chaotic barrage of light and color that characterizes the environment of the Far Rockaway waterfront was also a primary source of inspiration for the chromatic relationships in these works, evoking a kaleidoscopic impulse that dovetailed with his abiding interest in the Fauves. The bodily relationship between painting and viewer has likewise been an enduring concern in Williams’ art, and the works in "Tension to the Edge" demonstrate his earliest mature efforts in creating paintings with a clear physical power, embodying, in his words, “place as a specific type of poetry.” The intentionally discordant, complexly juxtaposed palettes of the paintings in "Tension to the Edge" testify to Williams’ status as the foremost colorist of his generation. The artist was especially interested in the potential for certain colors and chromatic contrasts to evoke a specific emotional response and deliberately avoided the harmonic arrangement of complementary hues, boldly undermining the established principles of color theory. The artist often embraced conflicts between his paintings’ formal structure and their palette, finding the resulting “dissonance” an apt metaphor for the sociopolitical conditions of the times. Eliding the eye’s transition from one color to another within each work are the cleanly demarcated lines of unpainted canvas—an effect produced by Williams’ assiduous use of tape, which he applied to ensure the pigments lay alongside each other, rather than blending at the edges. Thus, whatever effects arise from his colors’ interaction is a phenomenon that occurs within the mind’s eye (rather than on the canvas itself). Working out of his newly leased loft on Broadway and Bond Street—where he continues to work today—Williams sketched the composition of each work directly onto the canvas with a pencil and straightedge, using the diamond form as a starting place. Williams allowed his intuition to guide the compositional process, making no erasures or revisions to his layout before moving the canvas from the floor to the wall or a roller bridge for painting. The individual planar forms of each composition thus exist as iterative elements of the foundational diamond shape, much like the rhythmic improvisations of a jazz musician riffing on a standard theme. Indeed, jazz has remained a primary source of inspiration for Williams throughout his career, and his studio was located just blocks from the city’s vanguard jazz clubs at the time. The paintings on view in "Tension to the Edge" further reflect important painterly influences that would shape the evolution of Williams’ style, namely the hard-edge abstractions of Al Held (Williams’ graduate instructor at Yale), the minimalist paintings of Kenneth Noland (whose studio was one floor below Williams’), and the fauvist works of Henri Matisse. Leading a dynamic career of over fifty years, Williams continues to expand a prolific oeuvre defined by methodical experimentation and an enduring dedication to the cultural aesthetics that have guided his life and work. Beginning with the earliest paintings created in his NoHo loft and concluding in the months before his first solo exhibition—mounted by Reese Palley Gallery in March 1971—the years in which the works in "Tension to the Edge" were created not only witnessed the arrival of Williams’ artistic maturity but also coincide with the period in which Smokehouse Associates, the artist collective to which he belonged, was active. Formed by Williams with Mel Edwards, Billy Rose, and Guy Ciarcia, the group worked to revitalize a variety of public spaces in Harlem, completing several outdoor abstract wall paintings and leading a much-needed cleanup effort. These undertakings naturally influenced Williams’ studio practice during these years and prompted his extended consideration of how changing an individual element of a picture can affect the whole: “The [Smokehouse paintings] had to do with two ideas that were in my head: the idea of physical environment, and the notion of change within a physical environment—how one incident of change can produce a whole change in a community. One house gets fixed up. One lot gets cleaned up. And wanting that kind of social involvement, wanting to do something. I didn’t want theories about it, I wanted to physically do it. And I want other people to physically engage in doing it. …The whole idea of how this stuff can mushroom. That’s very much what I was coming out of. People that I knew, that was the way that things happened. It’s a collective thing that makes change. But what Smokehouse did was, one, finding another group of artists that had an interest in the notion of public art and doing things outside. But also, it allowed the [idea of the] city as a museum or the city as a gallery. …And that was an engagement to have that discussion, and have that discussion in an environment, and specifically Harlem during the latter part of the 60s, where there were more buildings that were being abandoned and more empty lots than I remember when I was growing up in Harlem. I think that this idea of [changing] one space, and that change in that space changes the environment, and changes people’s minds, and makes them hyperaware of their environment. And if they can go past something you’ve done and have a moment of reflection, just about self, then that work of art or that experience is worthwhile.”[2] "Tension to the Edge" will coincide with the much-anticipated release of "Smokehouse Associates," a history of the wall paintings completed by the collective, which will be co-published by The Studio Museum in Harlem and Yale University Press. Edited by Studio Museum curator Eric Booker, the book includes contributions by Booker, James Trainor, and Charles Davis II, as well as a roundtable conversation with Ashley James and the artists. With previously unpublished images, ephemera, and a rich chronology, "Smokehouse Associates" will serve as a sourcebook that expands the narrative of public art and social practice in the United States. "Tension to the Edge" will also coincide with Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s presentation at The Armory Show 2022 (September 9–11, Booth 317), the centerpiece of which will be one of Williams’ major diamond-in-a-box paintings from 1968.

Benny Andrews, Milton Avery, Mary Bauermeister, Harry Bertoia, Norman Bluhm, Robert Colescott, Joseph Cornell, James Daugherty, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, Dorothy Dehner, Beauford Delaney, Thornton Dial, Louis Eilshemius, Claire Falkenstein, Jared French, Sam Gilliam, Michael Goldberg, Morris Graves, Robert Gwathmey, David Hare, Alfred Jensen, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Blanche Lazzell, Norman Lewis, Boris Margo, Reginald Marsh, Agnes Pelton, Charles Ethan Porter, Fairfield Porter, Esphyr Slobodkina, Toshiko Takaezu, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, William T. Williams, William Zorach

Summer At Its Best

June 24, 2022 - August 3, 2022
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present Summer At Its Best, a group exhibition that celebrates the halcyon days, sultry nights, and scenic vistas of our most beloved season. On view from June 24 through August 5, 2022, Summer At Its Best traces nearly a century of American painting, sculpture, and works on paper, providing visions of the season’s fleeting passions, leisurely idylls, and chromatic richness. The exhibition borrows its title from a 1968 painting by Alma Thomas included in the show that encapsulates the spirit of the presentation in both form and concept: arraying daubs of saturated, warm colors in rhythmic sequences across the canvas, Thomas masterfully captures the flitting light and vivid palette of summer’s landscape. Summer At Its Best offers an abundance of juxtapositions that reveal unexpected harmonies in the eclectic selection of works on view. Expressionistic gestures inspired by the rise and fall of the sea are the prevailing formal and thematic concerns of ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu’s Ocean’s Edge vessels from the early 1990s, as well as Beauford Delaney’s fauvist portrayal of a day spent sailing off the coast of Maine (1951) and Norman Lewis’ masterful abstraction of the sea’s upheavals, Seachange (1976). A standout example of Delaney’s swirling, allover paintings of pure light is situated in conversation with a Joseph Cornell box of the late 1950s, where an anthropomorphic sun excerpted from the compulsive collector’s library of printed matter beams down over a collage dedicated to the souvenirs of distant travelers. Other exhibition highlights include Heaven (1967) by Benny Andrews, a psychedelic scene of an otherworldly paradise that anticipates the fantastical landscape of his monumental 1975 collage painting Utopia, the sixth and final work in his landmark Bicentennial Series. Reginald Marsh’s depiction of Coney Island’s clamorous midsummer crowds presents a roiling, baroque scene of urban leisure, which is offset by more intimately-scaled seaside works by Milton Avery, James Daugherty, Dorothy Dehner, Louis Elshemius, Robert Gwathmey, and Fairfield Porter. Masters of abstraction Sam Gilliam, Jack Tworkov, Michael Goldberg, Mark Tobey, and William T. Williams provide vision-encompassing canvasses of high-keyed color and exacting materiality, while a “bush” bronze by Harry Bertoia (1915–1978) and a verdant, hedge-sized Norman Bluhm (1921–1999) painting provide overtones of flourishing botanical life. Bask in the sunshine of solar-themed works by American Surrealists Boris Margo and David Hare (1917–1992), or contemplate the mathematically precise concretism of a major diptych by Alfred Jensen (1903–1981), Twin Children of The Sun #14 (1974). Emphasizing the profusion of life brought about by its titular season, the exhibition is bookended with floral-themed works by Blanche Lazzell, Charles Ethan Porter, William Zorach, and—in her singularly inventive way—Yayoi Kusama. Five artists included in Summer At Its Best are the subject of major institutional exhibitions open across the country this summer. Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine is on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia through September 11, 2022, and has received resounding critical acclaim at each of its previous venues. Originally curated by Diana Tuite for the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, the exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue published in association with Yale University Press. On view at The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut through November 21, 2022, is a stunning group of paintings by Charles Ethan Porter as a primary component of the exhibition David Hartt: A Colored Garden. In conjunction to this exhibition, Hartt has designed and planted a circular garden on the property’s south lawn, populated by sequentially blooming flowers that correspond to the varieties represented in the nine Porter works hanging in the House’s Painting Gallery. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s successful exhibition Be Your Wonderful Self: The Portraits of Beauford Delaney, which opened at the gallery in September 2021, has traveled to the Ogden Museum of Southern art in New Orleans, Louisiana, where it will be on view through July 17, 2022. An accompanying catalogue of the exhibition with a comprehensive chronology and new scholarship by Delaney scholar Mary Campbell is now available. Celebrating Sam Gilliam’s sixty-year career based in Washington, DC, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden recently opened Sam Gilliam: Full Circle, an exhibition of the eighty-eight-year-old artist’s most recent body of paintings; open through September 11, 2022, the new works are contextualized among select historical works demonstrating his recursive yet unfailingly innovative practice. Finally, Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott opens at the New Museum in New York on Thursday, June 30, closing October 9, 2022. Curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Weseley for the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Art and Race Matters comprises over fifty Colescott paintings and works on paper representative of the breadth of the artist’s career, in which “he combined appropriation with transgressive attitudes in a way that nobody else has done,” Sims asserts. After a year of intensive looks at some of our most pioneering artists, we are pleased to offer this respite dedicated to the joys and pastimes of the season. Summer At Its Best includes work by Benny Andrews (1930–2006), Milton Avery (1885–1965), Mary Bauermeister (b.1934), Harry Bertoia (1915–1978), Norman Bluhm (1921–1999), Robert Colescott (1925–2009), Joseph Cornell (1903–1972), James Daugherty (1887–1974), Elaine de Kooning (1918–1989), Willem de Kooning (1904–1997), Dorothy Dehner (1901–1994), Beauford Delaney (1901–1979), Thornton Dial (1928–2016), Louis Eilshemius (1864–1941), Claire Falkenstein (1908–1997), Jared French (1905–1987), Sam Gilliam (1933–2022), Michael Goldberg (1924–2007), Morris Graves (1910–2001), Robert Gwathmey (1903–1988), David Hare (1917–1992), Alfred Jensen (1903–1981), Lee Krasner (1908–1984), Yayoi Kusama (b.1929), Blanche Lazzell (1878–1956), Norman Lewis (1909–1979), Boris Margo (1902–1995), Reginald Marsh (1898–1954), Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), Charles Ethan Porter (1847–1974), Fairfield Porter (1907–1975), Esphyr Slobodkina (1908–2002), Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011), Alma Thomas (1891–1978), Bob Thompson (1937–1966), Mark Tobey (1890–1976), Jack Tworkov (1900–1982), William T. Williams (b.1942), and William Zorach (1887–1966). Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is located at 100 Eleventh Avenue (at 19th Street), New York, NY, 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10AM–6PM and Monday–Friday, 10AM–6PM during July and August. For additional information or images, please contact Nicole Martin, Communications Associate at 212 247 0082 or

Nancy Grossman

Frieze New York 2022 Booth D10

May 18, 2022 - May 22, 2022
Nancy Grossman: My Body Meet and Greet with the Artist in Booth D10 Friday, May 20, 5-7PM Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present at Frieze New York 2022 a solo exhibition of works by Nancy Grossman (b.1940) that focuses on her oeuvre-spanning engagement with the figure in sculpture, collage, printmaking, and drawing. Nancy Grossman: My Body will trace the major developments in the artist’s treatment of the human form, which she conceives as an arena where the intricately related themes of agency, otherness, vulnerability, and identity play out in both collective and individual terms. Using the body as a touchstone, the presentation at Frieze New York will survey three decades of Grossman’s figural practice, assembling a striking group of works that complement and expound upon an exhibition of the same title currently on view at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. Demonstrating the artist’s unique understanding of the figure, Grossman’s ink drawings of the early 1960s portray the body as a single, monumentally proportioned masculine form perpetually struggling against tethers both explicit and implied. Also on view will be works from Grossman’s series of dyed paper collages created throughout the 1970s, which depict men of herculean proportions in various positions of restraint. Grossman discovered that repeatedly soaking paper cut-outs in water and dye imbued the material with a weathered texture evocative of skin, especially when organized in a schema mimicking human musculature. This series was initiated in 1973, the same year Grossman began another body of works highlighted in the presentation, which feature leather-clad heads with guns strapped onto their faces; referred to as her “gunhead” series, the motif constitutes a potent format for expressing the violence humans inflict on one another, not only with literal weapons but with their words, gazes, or silences. Rounding out the presentation will be a selection of Grossman’s large-scale figure drawings from the 1970s and 80s that reveal the evolution of the artist’s masculine bodies, who exhibit increasingly colossal physiques—a trope she found ripe with allegorical possibility. Notably, the subjects of these works are uniformly anonymous, their faces obscured by hooded masks, shadows, or turned away from the viewer, augmenting the indeterminacy inherent to Grossman’s portrayal of the figure and rendering her compositions open to a variety of interpretations. While much of Grossman’s work deals with the strictures and inadequacies of gender constructs, the artist comes at the subject obliquely, using her own unique set of symbols and metaphors: “Whenever I wanted to say something specific, personal…I would use a woman’s image,” she explains. “But if I wanted to say something in general, I would use a man. It’s as if man was our society. Yet I don’t feel I have to conform to a political identification although, naturally, I’m a feminist. But if we have to split hairs, I’m a humanist.”[1] This approach allows for a layered reading of Grossman’s figural works, permitting her subjects to be read variously as stand-ins for the viewer, the artist herself, or society as a whole. Her figures are often manifestations of an interior identity, emotional state, or a collective ethos she seeks to express in bodily terms. Paradigmatically, Grossman considers her leather head sculptures to be self-portraits, as she first created them during a time in her life when she felt isolated and vulnerable; exhibiting expressions alternately grimacing and detached, these sculptures manifest the barriers the individual creates to protect themselves from society’s conflicts, which, in turn, limits their capacity for self-expression. “The body of work which I’ve produced in the last thirty years may simply revolve around my own body,” Grossman wrote in 1991. “But then I may be, for all intents and purposes, a Heavenly body or the Wizard of Oz.”[2] Invoking the cosmic perspective in which her practice is grounded, Grossman describes a guiding principle of the primary decades of her career in this poetic statement, which conveys the immutable status the human form holds in her oeuvre. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC is the exclusive representative of Nancy Grossman A solo exhibition of figural works also titled Nancy Grossman: My Body is currently on view at Michael Rosenfeld through May 27, 2022. ABOUT THE ARTIST A master of sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and collage, Nancy Grossman (b.1940) was born in Manhattan and grew up on a working farm outside Oneonta, NY. She demonstrated an advanced drawing ability from a young age, and after her family relocated their garment factory to Oneonta, she began experimenting with textiles while working as a seamstress for the family business. Grossman attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on a Regents scholarship, earning her BFA in 1962. There she studied under the painter Richard Lindner, who became an important friend and mentor. In 1964, Krasner Gallery in New York City mounted Grossman’s first solo show. The artist’s work of the early- to mid-1960s is thoroughly interdisciplinary, encompassing collage, expressive figurative works on paper and canvas, and a group of abstract leather and metal assemblages. In 1968, Grossman created the first of her iconic leather head sculptures, which drew widespread attention and acclaim; she would continuously expand the series throughout the next twenty-five years. By 1970, she had been featured in four more solo shows and Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery had taken on her representation. Throughout that decade Grossman expanded her practice to include both abstract and figurative paper collages, figurative works on paper and a small body of abstract, freestanding sculptures. The artist continued to regularly exhibit new work throughout the 80s and 90s, with solo shows at Barbara Gladstone and Terry Dintenfass Galleries in New York City. In 1997, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery became her exclusive representative. Since then, the gallery has mounted five solo exhibitions of Grossman’s work and featured her in numerous group shows. Grossman is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1965) and has been the subject of two institutional retrospective exhibitions for which accompanying monographs were published; the first was mounted at the Hillwood Art Museum in 1990 and curated by Arlene Raven, and the second, curated by Ian Berry, was held at the Frances Young Tang Museum in 2012. [1] Grossman in an interview with Cindy Nesmer in Art Talk: Conversations with Twelve Women Artists (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons: 1975) reprinted in Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary, 221. [2] Nancy Grossman, artist statement, June 28, 1991, published in Nancy Grossman: Loud Whispers, Four Decades of Assemblage, Collage and Sculpture, exhibition catalogue (New York: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 2001) 43.

Nancy Grossman

Nancy Grossman: My Body

April 5, 2022 - June 11, 2022
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present its fifth solo exhibition featuring the work of Nancy Grossman (b.1940), which focuses on the artist’s oeuvre-spanning engagement with the figure in sculpture, collage, printmaking, painting, and drawing. Encompassing over five decades of her career, Nancy Grossman: My Body surveys the major developments in the artist’s treatment of the human form, which she conceives of as an arena in which the intricately related themes of agency, otherness, vulnerability, and identity play out in both collective and individual terms.

Frieze Los Angeles, Booth D20

February 17, 2022 - February 20, 2022
For its inaugural participation at Frieze Los Angeles, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (Booth D20) is pleased to present an exhibition of historical works by eight artists essential to the canon of 20th-century figurative art: Benny Andrews (1930–2006), Richmond Barthé (1901–1989), Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012), Robert Colescott (1925–2009), Beauford Delaney (1901–1979), Augusta Savage (1892–1962), Bob Thompson (1937–1966) and Charles White (1918–1979).

Romare Bearden: Collage/In Context at FOG Design+Art

January 20, 2022 - January 23, 2022
For its inaugural presentation at FOG Design+Art, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce Romare Bearden: Collage/In Context, a dual presentation of exhibitions exploring the evolution of collage practices throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Charles Alston (1907-1977), Benny Andrews (1930-2006), Romare Bearden (1911-1988), Virginia Berresford (1904-1995), Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), Howard Cook (1901-1980), Ralston Crawford (1906-1978), Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), Joseph Delaney (1904-1991), Burgoyne Diller (1906-1965), Aaron Douglas (1899-1979), Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997), Fritz Glarner (1899-1972), Sidney Gordin (1918-1996), Red Grooms (b.1937), George Grosz (1893-1959), Hananiah Harari (1912-2000), Raymond Jonson (1891-1982), Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), Edmund Lewandowski (1914-1998), Norman Lewis (1909-1979), Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Irene Rice Pereira (1907-1971), Joseph Stella (1877-1946), Mark Tobey (1890-1976), Abraham Joel Tobias (1913-1996), George Tooker (1920-2011), Charmion von Wiegand (1896-1983), Abraham Walkowitz (1880-1965), Charles White (1918-1979) and William T. Williams (b.1942).

Manhatta: City of Ambition

January 18, 2022 - March 26, 2022
Following the success of our exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present Manhatta: City of Ambition, a group show featuring a broad selection of artists central to the gallery program, open now at our gallery in Chelsea. Inspired by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler’s avant-garde film Manhatta (1920–21) the artists featured here offer scintillating visions of urban life, exalting the struggles and triumphs of a densely-populated metropolis rebuilding itself in the wake of global catastrophe. In addition to the diverse selection of paintings, works on paper, and sculptures in the exhibition, we are screening Manhatta on a continuous loop in a dedicated alcove of the gallery.

'Manhatta: City of Ambition' at Art Basel Miami Beach

December 2, 2021 - December 4, 2021
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition inspired by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler’s avant-garde documentary film Manhatta (1920–21) at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021. Brought together in celebration of the centennial of Manhatta’s premiere, the works on view explore themes of urbanity, industry and immigration, conjuring visions of urban life that capture the scintillating energy and soaring aspirations of a densely populated metropolis. Featuring a broad selection of artists central to the gallery program, Manhatta: City of Ambition celebrates urban centers as loci of inspiration, highlighting artworks that exalt the struggles and triumphs of life in a major city rebuilding itself in the wake of global catastrophe.

Benny Andrews

Benny Andrews: For the Love of God at The Art Show (ADAA)

November 4, 2021 - November 7, 2021

Beauford Delaney

Be Your Wonderful Self: The Portraits of Beauford Delaney

September 8, 2021 - December 23, 2021
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce its third solo exhibition of paintings by Beauford Delaney (American, 1901–1979), which will contextualize the artist’s highly personal portraiture practice in relation to his compelling body of non-objective abstractions.

Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Claire Falkenstein, Yayoi Kusama & Alma Thomas

Alternative Worlds: Bauermeister, Bontecou, Falkenstein, Kusama & Thomas

June 1, 2021 - July 30, 2021
Spanning the second half of the twentieth century through the present—beginning with a Kusama net drawing dating to 1953 and ending with a text-based Bauermeister work created in 2019—Alternative Worlds features five artists whose practices center repetitive mark-making, a deep interest in the intricacies of the natural world, and the poetic rhythm inherent to the act of artistic creation.

Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ed Clark, Beauford Delaney, Sam Gilliam, Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, Jack Whitten, William T. Williams, Hale Woodruff

Frieze Viewing Room 2021

May 5, 2021 - May 14, 2021
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is delighted to participate in Frieze Viewing Room - presented online in conjunction with Frieze New York - exhibiting a selection of works on paper by leading abstractionists Barbara Chase-Riboud (b.1939), Ed Clark (1926-2019), Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), Sam Gilliam (b.1933), Norman Lewis (1909-1979), Alma Thomas (1891-1978), Jack Whitten (1939-2018), William T. Williams (b.1942) and Hale Woodruff (1900-1980). A selection from the online exhibition will be installed in our viewing room at 100 Eleventh Avenue.

Distinctive/Instinctive: Postwar Abstract Painting

February 20, 2021 - May 22, 2021
Group exhibition featuring the work of Charles Alston, William Baziotes, Norman Bluhm, James Brooks, Elaine de Kooning, Jay DeFeo, Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Sam Gilliam, Michael Goldberg, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Alfred Jensen, Yayoi Kusama, Alfred Leslie, Norman Lewis, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joan Mitchell, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Milton Resnick, Alma Thomas, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Charmion von Wiegand, William T. Williams and Hale Woodruff

Hannelore Baron

Hannelore Baron: Collages

January 16, 2021 - February 27, 2021
To download the online exhibition catalogue, visit To schedule an appointment to view the exhibition at the gallery, visit Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is proud to present Hannelore Baron: Collages – a solo exhibition dedicated to the collage work of Hannelore Baron (1926-1987). This exhibition, scheduled to be “live” from January 16 to February 20, features twenty intimate and meticulously-composed collages from the 1980s. In her collage work that masterfully combines experimental printmaking techniques with found materials, Baron explores the human condition. She wrote of her work: “The thoughts and feelings that underlie the collages are those of concern with the social issues and problems of the century, as well as the precariousness of existence at any time.” Baron, who immigrated in 1941 from Germany to the United States and lived/worked in Bronx, NY, often made her art in her kitchen during the quiet and solitude of the night. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Hannelore Baron.

Facing Self: The Artist Revealed

October 31, 2020 - November 30, 2020

OVR:20c: Figuring America

October 28, 2020 - October 31, 2020
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to announce our participation in OVR:20c, Art Basel’s latest online viewing room dedicated to art made between 1900 and 1999. OVR:20c will be live from October 28 to October 31; our presentation Figuring America will be online alongside 100 international galleries and on-site at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery for the duration of this virtual platform. Representing currents of 20/21 century American portraiture, Figuring America will include signature masterpieces in both painting and sculpture by Benny Andrews (1930-2006), Milton Avery (1885-1965), Richmond Barthé (1901-1989), Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), Nancy Grossman (b.1940) and Charles White (1918-1979). In times of societal upheaval, many artists have turned to representations of the figure in search of and as recognition of a collective existence—either as a personal expression or as a touchpoint for shared, life-affirming experience. In this current moment of unprecedented isolation and social reckoning, our desire is to share a story of common humanity. To schedule an appointment to view our OVR:20c exhibition at the gallery, visit

Benny Andrews

Benny Andrews: Portraits, A Real Person Before the Eyes

September 26, 2020 - January 23, 2021
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is pleased to present its third solo exhibition for Benny Andrews (American, 1930–2006), showcasing portraits—a vital and constant genre throughout the artist’s oeuvre. Scheduled to open on Saturday, September 26, 2020, Benny Andrews: Portraits, A Real Person Before the Eyes will feature 35 portraits, represented by paintings and works on paper created between 1957 and 1998. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated color catalogue with new scholarship by Jessica Bell Brown, Associate Curator for Contemporary Art, The Baltimore Museum of Art; Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Kyle Williams, Director of the Andrews-Humphrey Family Foundation.

Going to Sea

July 4, 2020 - August 21, 2020
An escape to the seaside signals the arrival of summer days and the restless yearning for adventure. The sea—at once a tranquil oasis and an unpredictable temptation—has had an eternal lure, drawing in swimmers, sailors and explorers with the smell of salty air, the feel of warm sand and the sound of crashing waves. For the arrival of this most unusual July—the seventh month of the year, named for the Roman general Julius Caesar—we feature seascapes in a range of styles and mediums that capture life by the shore: one that is bustling and teeming with sea craft, boisterous crowds, beach games and graceful birds, as well as one of sublime isolation—a liminal place on the edge of the world where land meets the great expanse and unknown of the ocean. These portraits of the sea depict marine pastimes like fishing and sailing, swimming and sunbathing, as well as its inhabitants—from birds and fish to the mythic creatures of our wild imaginations. They evoke all that is unique to the coastal shoreline—from the natural: the shimmer of the sun as it reflects off ever-moving water, the early morning mist that wafts over its surface, the bite of the salty breeze, the call of seabirds on the hunt—to those sights and sounds distinguished by centuries of leisurely human pleasures: the anticipation of cool water on hot skin, the laughter elicited from a wave’s spray, the solace of a shady umbrella, the simple joy of a sandcastle, the communion of friends and family. We hope you find some beach time this summer and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged, “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air’s salubrity…”[1] Going to Sea features works by Milton Avery, Leonid Berman, Joseph Cornell, James Daugherty, Louis Eilshemius, Morris Graves, Robert Gwathmey, Palmer Hayden, Hans Hofmann, William H. Johnson, Lee Krasner, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Reginald Marsh, Jan Matulka, Fairfield Porter, Theodore Roszak, Charles G. Shaw, Esphyr Slobodkina and Toshiko Takaezu. 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Merlin's Song," in The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: The Modern Library, 1940), 80

New York Tough

June 13, 2020 - July 3, 2020
New York City is our home and we are proud to be #NewYorkTough, contributing to the metropolis that for centuries has been a global hub of creativity and innovation. To honor our city, we present a selection of paintings and drawings—sixteen examples, dating from 1912 to 2007—that capture the urban environment from uptown to downtown, from east to west, and from street to sky, intimately illustrating landmarks and thoroughfares. To view our online exhibition including works by Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Max Arthur Cohn, Howard Norton Cook, Joseph Delaney, Red Grooms, Hananiah Harari, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin, Adelaide Morris, Richard Rychtarik, Paul Sample, Henry Ernest Schnakenberg, Abraham Walkowitz, Max Weber, and William T. Williams visit our website.

The Power of Play

May 16, 2020 - May 30, 2020
Hopscotch! Chess! Jump rope! Billiards! Football! Baseball! Cards! Make-believe! Hide-and-seek! All of these activities & more are part of our collective and shared American cultural experience. Now that we are spending more time at home, without the distraction of live sports, film, theater, and museums, activities of playtime have become more crucial, and more creative, than ever. We present a selection of works from the 20th century that portray familiar and celebratory moments of Americans at play.

Benny Andrews (1930-2006), Robert Colescott (1925-2009), Bob Thompson (1937-1966)

Frieze Viewing Room

May 6, 2020 - May 15, 2020

Paper Power

February 4, 2020 - July 14, 2020
Cut, Crumpled, Drawn, Torn, Glued, Layered, Painted, Folded, Saturated, Creased, Stained, Dyed, Scratched, Erased, Scrubbed, Printed, Stamped, Peeled... Exploring the Materiality of Paper

Art Basel Miami Beach, Booth G4

December 5, 2019 - December 8, 2019
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery | Celebrating 30 Years Michael Rosenfeld Gallery opened its inaugural exhibition on December 10, 1989. In celebration of this milestone, we present a selection of exemplary works by the artists that we have consistently championed over the past thirty years. Visit us in Booth G4 to see many of the artists that you have come to know and admire through our rich history of exhibitions, programming and publications.

Globalism Pops BACK Into View: The Rise of Abstract Expressionism

November 21, 2019 - January 25, 2020
Opening Reception Thursday, November, 21, 2019 / 6:00–8:00PM Featuring works by Charles Alston, William Baziotes, Romare Bearden, Harold Cousins, Dorothy Dehner, Jimmy Ernst, Claire Falkenstein, Herbert Ferber, Michael Goldberg, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, David Hare, Hans Hofmann, Richard Hunt, Gerome Kamrowski, Lee Krasner, Ibram Lassaw, Norman Lewis, Seymour Lipton, Boris Margo, Roberto Matta, Gordon Onslow Ford, Alfonso Ossorio, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Theodore Roszak, Mark Rothko, Charles Seliger, Janet Sobel, Theodoros Stamos, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Laurence Vail and Hale Woodruff.

William T. Williams

William T. Williams: Recent Paintings

September 6, 2019 - November 16, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 5, 2019 / 6–8PM

Morris Graves

Calix, Cup, Chalice, Grail, Urn, Goblet: Presenting the Sexual Essence of Morris Graves

June 15, 2019 - August 2, 2019

Ruth Asawa, Mary Bauermeister, William Baziotes, Lee Bontecou, Joseph Cornell, Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Alfred Jensen, Norman Lewis, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Theodore Roszak, Charles Seliger, Toshiko Takaezu, Lenore Tawney, Alma Thomas, Mark Tobey & Charmion von Wiegand

Spiritual by Nature

June 15, 2019 - August 2, 2019

Mary Bauermeister

Mary Bauermeister: Live in Peace or Leave the Galaxy

April 5, 2019 - June 8, 2019
A color catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is the exclusive representative of Mary Bauermeister (b.1934).

Hannelore Baron, Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Grossman, Louise Nevelson, Betye Saar

Art of Defiance: Radical Materials

February 2, 2019 - March 30, 2019
Art of Defiance: Radical Materials examines the groundbreaking use of materials by artists Hannelore Baron, Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Claire Falkenstein, Nancy Grossman, Louise Nevelson, & Betye Saar. Each developed their individual approach by utilizing materials defined by their physicality, representing a freedom from the constraints of traditional, male-dominated media in art history. The exhibition explores how these artists blurred the boundaries of two- and three-dimensions with their singular constructions, expanding the field of art-making in a way that still resonates today.

Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis: Looking East

November 16, 2018 - January 26, 2019
Image: Norman Lewis (1909–1979), After Dawn, 1966, oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 60 , signed

Andrews, Bearden, Biggers, DeCarava, Evergood, Hammons, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Motley, Parks, Saar, Shahn, Soyer & others

Truth & Beauty: Charles White and His Circle

September 7, 2018 - November 10, 2018

Claire Falkenstein

Claire Falkenstein: Matter in Motion

April 6, 2018 - June 9, 2018

Michael Goldberg: End to End, The 1950s & 2000s

January 27, 2018 - March 31, 2018
Michael Goldberg (1924-2007), "Park Avenue Facade" (detail), 1957-58, oil on canvas, 111 1/2" x 107 1/2" / 283.2 x 273.1 cm, signed and dated