Art historians and curators William C. Agee, Christina Connett Brophy, Elizabeth Broun and artists Bill Jensen and Chris Martin join Rail Editor-at-Large Choghakate Kazarian for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Ali Van.
In this talk
A WILD NOTE OF LONGING: ALBERT PINKHAM RYDER AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ART opens at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts on June 24 and is on view through October 31, 2021.
Curator and art historian William C. Agee taught at Hunter College since 1988 until his retirement in 2014 and was awarded an endowed chair in 2004, the Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History. Prior to Hunter, he held directorships at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and at the Pasadena Art Museum. Agee has published numerous articles and monographs in conjunction with exhibitions he has organized on artists such as Stuart Davis, Morgan Russell, Donald Judd and many others, as well as on aspects of modern art in America. His books include American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927-1942 (2011) and Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s (2006).
Dr. Christina Connett Brophy is the former Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. She has taught at both Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She recently became Senior Director of museum galleries at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. She is one of the principal organizers of the Albert Pinkham Ryder exhibit at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Massachusetts and has curated more than 30 exhibitions.
Dr. Elizabeth Broun was the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. for 27 years, from 1989 until December 2016. At the time of her retirement, she set the record as the second longest–serving Smithsonian museum director and as the longest-serving female museum director in Smithsonian history. In 1990, she received the Alfred H. Barr Award from the College Art Association in honor of her book on Albert Pinkham Ryder. The book discusses technical, aesthetic, and social issues raised by his paintings. Dr. Broun has done extensive curatorial work on the artists Albert Pinkham Ryder, Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Childe Hassam, Patrick Ireland, Pat Steir, and James McNeill Whistler.
Artist Bill Jensen has lived and worked in New York since the early 1970s. He came into prominence with “the return to painting” of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Intuitive and visceral, Jensen’s abstractions have long been admired for their unconventional compositions and profound sense of color. Saturated, densely worked surfaces, seemingly primordial in origin, transcend any sense of the struggle that Jensen attributes to his painting process. Defined by an amorphous, ever-changing search for resolution, Jensen’s results are ultimately determined by the act of painting itself. Jensen’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among many others.
Contemporary American abstract painter Chris Martin’s wide range of material and imagery is drawn from Buddhist mandalas, the landscapes of the Catskills, and the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. Martin’s works attempt to deal with the psychological internalizations of spirituality and memory, using formalism in a way similar to both Alfred Jensen and Thomas Nozkowski. The artist regularly incorporates unconventional materials into his work, such as textiles, glitter, and vinyl records, as evidenced in Sweet Dreams (2nd Pillow Painting) (2009), a canvas where six affixed pillows are covered in bright neon paint. Martin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Curator and art historian Choghakate Kazarian was formerly a curator at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and taught at the École du Louvre. She has curated exhibitions on artists such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Karel Appel, and Henry Darger, and she has edited various exhibition catalogues and published on postwar art, outsider art, Marcel Duchamp, and Louis Michel Eilshemius. She is Editor-at-Large at the Brooklyn Rail and is a ph.d. candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she is writing a dissertation on Albert Pinkham Ryder. She is currently a Terra Foundation fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have
Ali Van practices axiology. In this moment she gives care to blue in Minnesota. In measures between she grounds Rolodex, laying life to intrinsic porosity, kindred weather, and sovereign peoples. In a wilderness she writes.