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New York, NY 10011
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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 "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
Installation view of "Norman Lewis: Give Me Wings To Fly,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY, September 7–November 4, 2023
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Current Exhibition

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).

Past Exhibitions

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