Pattern and Decoration

Robert Kushner's Sail Away (1983) at Dijon's Consortium in ‘National Review’ by Robert Kushner

Thank you, Brian Allen, for visiting 'Pattern, Crime and Decoration' in Dijon, France and writing about it for the National Review. A pleasure to read these lines in amongst all of the other great ones! 
"Robert Kushner’s Sail Away, from 1983, is one of the anchors....It’s a riot of pattern anchored by a pair of nudes in outline. It’s abstract, grand, very attractive, flat as a pancake, or wallpaper, and delicious."

Read the full article about this collection of Pattern and Decoration works at Le Consortium Museum, on view through October 2019.

Read the article

Sail Away , 1983. Robert Kushner. (Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY. "Pattern, Crime & Decoration" exhibition, Consortium Museum (Dijon – France), 2019)

Sail Away, 1983. Robert Kushner. (Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY. "Pattern, Crime & Decoration" exhibition, Consortium Museum (Dijon – France), 2019)

Less is a Bore: Robert Kushner at ICA Boston by Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner,  The Wedding Dress , 1978

Robert Kushner, The Wedding Dress, 1978

Robert Kushner’s “The Wedding Dress" (1976) and "Cincinnati C" (1978) are on view now at Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s latest exhibition: "Less is a Bore: Maximalist Art and Design" through September 22, 2019.

“Borrowing its attitude from architect Robert Venturi’s witty retort to Mies van der Rohe’s modernist edict 'less is more,' 'Less Is a Bore' shows how artists, including those affiliated with the Pattern & Decoration movement of the 1970s, have sought to rattle the dominance of modernism and minimalism. Encouraged by the pluralism permeating many cultural spheres at the time, these artists accommodated new ideas, modes, and materials, challenging entrenched categories that marginalized non-Western art, fashion, interior design, and applied art.” — ICA/Boston

Robert Kushner,  Cincinnati C , 1978

Robert Kushner, Cincinnati C, 1978

Robert Kushner, "Les Chemins du Sud" at MRAC Occitanie, Sérignan, France by Robert Kushner

"Les chemins du Sud" - (Journey to the South)

June 23 - November 3, 2019
Musée Regional D'Art Contemporain, Serignan, France
Curated by Emmanuelle Luciani & Charlotte Cosson with Southway Studio

(Journey to the South) focuses on the heritage of Matisse, Bonnard, Dufy and other historic artists who "traveled South" and their connection to contemporary and young artists that could be seen as the heirs. The project will regroup more than 50 artists and will travel through the 20th century to today, connecting these times but also Europe to the USA.

Featured are artists from the Pattern and Decoration movement (Betty Woodman, Robert Kushner, Joyce Kozloff ) who, from the 1970s, embraced so-called minor arts.

Below: Robert Kushner guides the installation of “Aida,” 1979, at MRAC Serignan


Pattern, Crime and Decoration at Le Consortium, Dijon by Robert Kushner

“Pattern, Crime and Decoration” travels from MAMCO Geneva to Le Consortium in Dijon, France. 

16 May 2019 – 20 October 2019
Opening: Thursday, May 16, 6:00pm
Le Consortium Museum


Pattern, Crime & Decoration, curated by Franck Gautherot and Seungduk Kim, takes a look back at a 1970s-1980s art movement that met with international success in the 1980s. Most of the artists involved were reacting to Postwar dominant schools of thought, most notably to Minimalism and Conceptualism while also criticizing the Western, patriarchal domination that generally permeates Modernism. This group gathered around “pattern” and “decoration” reconnected with forms regarded as marginal and claimed the concept of decoration was a truly repressed form of modernity. A mainly American movement, Pattern & Decoration was supported by Holly Solomon Gallery in New York and Bruno Bischofberger in Switzerland. It gathered artists such as Valerie Jaudon, Tina Girouard, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Tony Robbin, Miriam Schapiro, Ned Smyth, Mario Yrisarry, Robert Zakanitch, Cynthia Carlson, Brad Davis, Richard Kalina, Jane Kaufman, Rodney Ripps, Betty Woodman, George Woodman and Joe Zucker.

Robert Kushner in conversation with Aliza Edelman by Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner, White Gladiolus - Rainbow Sherbert, 2017.  Oil, acrylic, gold leaf, silk, embroidery, and sequins on canvas, 72 x 72 inches.

Robert Kushner, White Gladiolus - Rainbow Sherbert, 2017.
Oil, acrylic, gold leaf, silk, embroidery, and sequins on canvas, 72 x 72 inches.

From Salome to Redouté
Robert Kushner in conversation with Aliza Edelman,
 Independent Curator and Critic  
Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30pm
DC Moore Gallery
 535 W 22nd Street,  New York, NY 10011 

Please RSVP to

Please join Robert Kushner and Aliza Edelman for a lively discussion about the history of ornamentation and decoration. By revisiting the position of “Pattern & Decoration” as both a condition of modernism and as a vital contemporary art practice, they will address the intersection of fashion, dance, and performance as developed in Kushner’s early pieces from the 1970s, and the radicality of his new artworks’ engagement with surface materiality and narratives of textiles and cloth.

Q&A and reception to follow the talk. 

Robert Kushner: Reverie: Duppata-topia on view at DC Moore Gallery through June 16


“Provoking Change,” UC San Diego, October 12 – December 7, 2017 by Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner, Big Blue Chador. Performed Extensively in Persian Line and Persian Line: Part II in the 1970s.

Robert Kushner, Big Blue Chador. Performed Extensively in Persian Line and Persian Line: Part II in the 1970s.

A Visual Arts Alumni Exhibition – UC San Diego 
Curated by Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D., ‘13 

October 12 – December 7, 2017
Reception, October 12, Thursday, 5:30 – 8:00 PM

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 4:00 PM,
Open Fridays by Appointment
Closed: November 28 

From the Press Release 

Exploring a segment of the unique early history of the Visual Arts Department at UC San Diego, Provoking Change celebrates an extraordinary roster of artists who came to study in San Diego in the early 1970s through the 1990s. Diverse in their approaches, these artists shared a desire to foster change by challenging the narrowly defined avant-garde canon as manifested in the formalism of the 1960s.

Works on view in Provoking Change include painting, sculpture, photography, photomontage, film and video, and text-and-image installations. Standing at the forefront of the Pattern and Decoration Movement, the work of Kim MacConnel and Robert Kushner challenged the conventional idea of painting as a two-dimensional work on canvas. Executed as a kind of cloth hanging, both MacConnel’s Turkish Delight and Kushner’s Big Blue Chador [pictured above] question the long-standing pejorative dismissal of decoration. 

Participating Artists: David Avalos, Becky Cohen, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Brian Dick, Doris Bittar, Kip Fullbeck, Heidi Hardin, Robert Kushner, Fred Lonidier, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Susan Mogul, Allan Sekula, David Avalos/Louis Hock/Elizabeth Sisco (collective), David Avalos/Deborah Small (collective).

Read the full press release here.

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

Robert Kushner’s “Happy Hour,” Holly Solomon’s Living Room, New York Magazine by Robert Kushner

Holly and Horace Solomon’s Living Room

Some time in the mid 1970s, Holly Solomon, always a defiant arbiter of good taste, decided that her golden yellow sofa needed recovering. Instead of pursuing her goal in a traditional way, she invited Kim MacConnel, whose work she had been collecting along with my own, to paint on it instead. Kim created a true work of art, a touchstone for his further explorations in furniture re-purposing.  To the left of the couch is a later MacConnel end-table-cum-lamp.  I decorated the blue silk throw pillow with acrylic pastry tube extrusion to try to match the exuberance of Kim’s couch. Some time later, Holly and Horace acquired my acrylic on cotton painting, Happy Hour (acrylic on cotton, 1980), and soon thereafter completely redecorated their living room. Happy Hour on the wall (replacing three Roy Lichtenstein Cathedral paintings), the couch and lamp/table in front, and a marvelous Ken Price ceramic  completed the ensemble. Voilà. Maximum impact for a New York drawing room.

Featured in New York Magazine‘s Spring Design 2015: “18 Architects and Interior Designers on Their Favorite Rooms of All Time,” April 20, 2015.