$20,000 toward Forrest Bess: Here is a Sign, a documentary film/video. Working his entire life in Bay City, Texas, Bess was a self-taught visionary painter of iconic and enigmatic images on small canvases. The documentary will be co-directed by filmmakers Chuck Smith and Ari Marcopoulos.
Grant Recipients in 1998
$10,000 toward Nell Blaine: Her Life and Art, a monograph by critic and art historian Martica R. Sawin. Blaine began as an abstract painter in the 1940s and later developed her colorful, painterly style most often used in landscape and still life.
$16,375 toward Light and Texture: The Monochromatic Paintings of David Budd, an exhibition organized by director Kevin Dean. A second generation abstract expressionist and later minimalist painter, Budd developed his highly worked, monochromatic canvases in New York and Paris from the 1950s. The Ringling School will also conserve and organize his works.
$13,080 to catalogue and preserve drawings by the artist in the University’s Jean Charlot Collection. Charlot was born in France and from the 1920s worked as a painter and printmaker in Mexico, the continental United States, and the Hawaiian Islands. He was interested in depicting indigenous cultures, and influenced the development of the public mural tradition in the United States and Mexico.
$15,000 toward Jay DeFeo and The Rose, a book of original essays by various art and cultural historians, co-edited by art historian Jane Green and independent curator Leah Levy. The essays will focus on historical, cultural, social and conservation issues associated with her seminal work, The Rose. DeFeo, in creating the 2,300 pound work, layered on and scraped away massive amounts of paint, carving the accretion down like a block of marble, while adding wire, beads, pearls and wooden strips over a period of several years.
$10,000 toward the acquisition of two photo-collages and works in other media representing DeFeo’s art from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. DeFeo, an artist of the Beat era, worked among a close knit community of poets and avant-garde artists that thrived in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
$7,500 to conserve up to ten sculptures dating from the 1960s to the 1990s. Dehner was a student of Stanley William Hayter at his renowned printmaking center and workshop, Atelier 17 in New York. She created paintings, works on paper, small and large sculptures, which are noted for their lyrical and architectonic approaches to abstraction.
$10,000 toward the book Elaine de Kooning: Her Life and Art, by art critic and poet Rose Slivka. The book will study the full range of de Kooning’s paintings from the 1930s until her death, and will examine her role as an artist who was also an art critic and a chronicler of the abstract expressionist movement.
$20,000 toward the acquisition of the 1945 painting Portrait of James Baldwin. Delaney was born in Tennessee and trained as an artist in Boston during the 1920s. He painted portraits and urban scenes primarily in New York during the waning years of the Harlem Renaissance, and beginning in the early 1960s painted abstractions in Paris where he lived the rest of his life.
$15,000 toward Ray Johnson: Correspondences, an exhibition organized by curator Donna De Salvo. Johnson was an enigmatic art world figure who has been called the “most famous unknown artist.” He is remembered for his role in the early development of Pop Art and “mail art” (collage sent via the U.S. Postal Service) which is the subject of the exhibition. Johnson ultimately withdrew from others and the art world, yet continued to create works of art.
$15,000 toward Modernist Eye: The Art and Design of Nathan Lerner, a traveling exhibition and catalogue organized by American studies scholar Astrid Böger and curator Roger Manley. Lerner’s photographic “light pictures” exemplified the utopian modernist training he received at Chicago’s New Bauhaus in the late 1930s. He later returned to the renamed School of Design as chairman of its product design workshop, utilizing his skills as a versatile designer of mass-market consumer goods.
$20,000 for The Drawings We Have Lived: Sketchbooks and Notebooks of Ree Morton, an exhibition organized by sculptor and professor of art history Barbara Zucker and curator Janie Cohen. Morton worked in the Northeast and pioneered the development of installation art and sculpture which incorporate equivocal words and phrases, as well as an eclectic array of materials including wood, ribbons, plastics, and everyday found objects.
$10,000 toward the acquisition of her exuberant 1974 sculpture Many Have Run Away, To Be Sure, made of celastic, wood and paint. Morton often worked in between the disciplines of painting and sculpture, creating her own private language. This work, in particular, includes interchangeable individual elements which Morton intended to be displayed in varying arrangements.
$21,000 toward Kenzo Okada: A Retrospective Exhibition, and accompanying catalogue, organized by director Stephen Prokopoff. This exhibition will focus on the Japanese-born abstract painter’s work and on its relationship to the artistic traditions of his native country. After teaching in Paris during the 1930s and 1940s, Okada moved to the United States, and worked in New York from the early 1950s through the 1970s.
$18,150 toward Nellie Mae Rowe 1900-1982, organized by curator Lee Kogan, in support of the exhibition’s education and public programs. Living and working in Georgia her entire life, Rowe was a self-taught African American artist whose colorful works on paper and assemblages of found objects incorporate Southern references, such as shotgun houses, churches, flowers and farm animals.
$15,000 toward the documentary Leon Polk Smith: Full Circle by filmmaker Jerry Gambone. Born in Oklahoma’s Indian Territory, Smith worked in New York over five decades. He painted hard-edged, abstract geometric forms with undulating lines in brilliant primary colors on canvases of varied sizes and shapes.
$13,000 toward the acquisition of three works on paper: Turtle, Fascist Grapes and The Soul is the Need for the Spirit. Working briefly in the United States and then primarily in Europe, Thek produced an influential body of work consisting of sculpture, paintings and installations which explored themes relating to the body. His paintings, often on newspaper, ranged from Pop-like cartoons to full blown landscapes and are most often hung in groups.
$13,500 toward completing the preparation of Tworkov’s journals, letters, and other writings for publication, to be edited by art critic and biographer Elizabeth Frank. Tworkov was an abstract expressionist painter, recognized, in part, for his influential Barrier series. His extensive writings document the rise of the New York School of painting and its cultural milieu. (This marks the second grant from the Foundation which will support further work on the project.)
$20,000 toward the acquisition of the 1982 painting Untitled by Wojnarowicz, a native of New Jersey, who worked and lived in New York. His diverse body of work integrates painting, drawing, and occasionally photography with autobiographical details, frequently drawing upon tragic aspects of the human experience such as the AIDS epidemic.