by Jillian Russo | December 6, 2018
A three-venue exhibition in collaboration with Hirschl & Adler Galleries and 511 Projects, The Masters celebrates the contribution of the Art Students League teachers and students from the late nineteenth century through the present. Paintings by modernist masters including William Merritt Chase, Isabel Bishop, Elizabeth Catlett, George Tooker, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Charles Alston, Will Barnet, Dorothy Dehner, and Louise Nevelson are on view at Hirschl & Adler. A collection of works on paper by Romare Bearden, George Bridgman, Stuart Davis, Louise Bourgeois, and Paul Jenkins, among others, can be seen at 511 Projects in Chelsea.
The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery presents works form the last years of the twentieth century through today. These include past and present teachers Frederick Brosen (student of Seong Moy), Bruce Dorfman (student of Yasuo Kuniyoshi), Naomi Campbell (student of Nelson Shanks), Bob Cenedella (student of George Grosz), Stephen Greene (student of Morris Kantor), Ronnie Landfield (student of Stephen Greene), Pat Lipsky (student of Charles Alston), Knox Martin (student of Morris Kantor), Cornelia Foss, Richard Pousette-Dart), Zhang Hongtu (student of Richard Pousette-Dart), Abby Leigh (student of Will Barnet), and Susan Weil (student of Morris Kantor).
The student-instructor pairings on view in this gallery illustrate that students did not directly carry on a teacher’s philosophy. Rather, the informal exchange of ideas enabled by the League’s atelier structure, encouraged students to internalize the principles of art-making and pursue their own direction. The League’s artistic lineage, which represents a loose network rather than a straight chronology, had an extensive influence on the development of American art. Two conceptual works, Naomi Campbell’s Sensations (Bread and Circuses Series), which examines the social and political implications of genetically engineered foods (particularly the corn kernel), and Gary Hill’s Site Recite (A Prologue), which features natural objects such as bones, skulls, and butter flies, grapple, more broadly, with the impact of lineages and lifecycles.