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Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034 | T 310 838 6000

Robert Kushner

30 Liiterary Nudes

Apr 16 - May 28, 2011

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Robert Kushner


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press release



30 Literary Nudes

APRIL 16 – MAY 28, 2011
Artist Reception: Saturday, April 16, 5-8 PM

Luis De Jesus is very pleased to announce an exhibition of new figurative drawings by ROBERT KUSHNER, titled "30 Literary Nudes", on view from April 16 through May 28, 2011. An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, April 16th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is the first exhibition of this body of work in the U.S.

A founding member of the 1970s Pattern and Decoration movement, Robert Kushner is known today for his dazzling paintings and drawings of flowers and botanical images. In this series, he has returned to his early interests of working with the figure. These new drawings of figures, elaborated on collages of antique book pages and sheet music, continue his exploration of drawing images in ink and oil paint over found historical papers. The printed pages that Kushner has used span the early 1700s through the 20th century and come from a variety of cultures and sources: America, Japan, Tibet, Turkey, India, France, Germany, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, England, and Italy. Many of them were acquired while traveling, some were gifts from friends, and others were purchased as damaged books.

Drawing from models in his studio directly onto a collage of pages, Kushner also introduces gold leaf, small areas of color and additional collage. Sometimes these paintings on paper take form very quickly; others are worked on over a period of weeks or months. The finished works offer a number of layers of possible reading: there is the literal reading of the underlying text, the observation of the organic grid of drawn lines (which create the sensation of three-dimensional volumes), and the opportunity to decode the compositional and spatial logic of the patterned and gilded elements and blocks of color. Kushner’s references as a draftsman are to classical modernism, particularly the drawings of Matisse and Maillol. He places these classically rendered nudes into juxtaposition with discarded materials—the pages themselves—posing questions as to the function and relevance of books and information in today’s world.

Robert Kushner was born 1949 in Pasadena, California, and studied at the University of California, San Diego. On a trip to Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan in 1974, Kushner recognized the importance of pattern and decoration in ancient Persia—"the greatest minds had been making decoration." Soon after, he gained attention as a performance artist, using food, fabric and nudity. His spontaneous, yet carefully researched paintings on pieced fabric would float and whirl on the back of a performer. The costumes were not accessories to the action—they were the action. He also used fabric-collage in large-scale, bold paintings of the figure. In 1980 Kushner was included in the Venice Biennale. In 1984 he had a solo exhibition of paintings on paper at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1997 Hudson Hills Press published the monograph, "Robert Kushner: Gardens of Earthly Delight" by Alexandra Anderson-Spivey; and, in 1998, the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts mounted the survey exhibition "Robert Kushner: 25 Years of Making Art".

Robert Kushner has exhibited widely, most recently at DC Moore Gallery, New York, The Brandts Museum, Odense, Denmark, and The Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. His work is held in many museum collections around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Tate Collection, London; the Ufizzi Gallery, Florence; and the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Japan. He lives and works in New York.

On view concurrently in the Main Gallery: Gail Roberts: Entanglement. In these new paintings, images of birds’ nests are paired with books, titles and passages of text, creating a vehicle for inquiry and commentary into the artist’s reflections on nature, culture, and man’s temporal existence. The paintings are a further investigation of themes that Roberts has explored throughout her 35-year career.