Oxbow School Spring Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Robert Kushner / by Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner
Tuesday, March 22, 7pm
Visiting Artist Lecture
Oxbow School, Napa, CA

Robert Kushner,  Large Succulent Garden , 2014, oil and acrylic on joined paper, 54 3/4 x 33 1/2 inches

Robert Kushner, Large Succulent Garden, 2014, oil and acrylic on joined paper, 54 3/4 x 33 1/2 inches

Since participating in the early years of the Pattern and Decoration Movement in the 1970’s, Robert Kushner has continued to address controversial issues involving decoration. Kushner draws from a unique range of influences, and his work combines organic representational elements with abstracted geometric forms in a way that is both decorative and modernist. He has said, “Decoration, an abjectly pejorative dismissal for many, is a very big, somewhat defiant declaration for me . . . . The eye can wander, the mind think unencumbered through visual realms that are expansively and emotionally rich. Decoration has always had its own agenda, the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace.” On his collages specifically, Kushner writes: “I want to make [my pieces] as diffused and confusing as possible. I want the viewer to time travel as broadly as possible. And so I include papers from as many languages, cultures, times, and places as I can which become a part of the content of the work. In all likelihood no one individual could read all the languages in each collage. Instead of concrete cognition we arrive at a mist of unknowing.”

Kushner’s work has been exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan and has been included three times in the Whitney Biennial and twice at the Biennale in Venice. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum. A mid-career retrospective of his work was organized by the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art. Kushner’s works are included in many prominent public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC; Tate Gallery, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Denver Art Museum; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles; Museum Ludwig, St. Petersburg; and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Image: Robert Kushner, Large Succulent Garden, 2014, oil and acrylic on joined paper, 54 3/4 x 33 1/2 inches