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Dan Christensen

Statement/Biography




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Dan Christensen (1942-2007) was a leading figure in the Color Field movement whose relentless experimentation with new tools and materials made him among the most ambitious abstract and gestural artists of his time.

In the late 1960s, Dan Christensen’s art was championed by important curators, critics, and art dealers, and important paintings were placed in major museum collections around the United States.  However, it is only recently that his multifaceted oeuvre has received the widespread attention it has long deserved.  The traveling retrospective, Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting, organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri) in 2009, helped make a convincing case for a heightened appreciation of Christensen’s work and his significant place in postwar abstraction.  In a day when artists often held to a specific type of form, Christensen changed his approach and aesthetic often, at times in dramatic reversals and at other times in a return to and an expansion of earlier  themes.  His use of spray guns, window-washing squeegees, rakes, blasters, and house painting rollers were not the basis of his art but the vehicles that enabled him to strive for new ways of seeing.  As noted in a review in Artforum of his Kemper show, the critic Peter Plagens observed that with his gutsy combination of elements, Christensen arrived “at some sort of visual poetry.”   

Dan Christensen was born in Cozad, Nebraska in 1942.  Seeing the work of Jackson Pollock on a trip to Denver when he was teenager motivated him to become an artist.  He pursued this aim at the Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri, where he received his B.F.A. After moving to New York in 1964, he rose quickly to fame, as among a group of young artists who were reviving painting during a time that minimalism was prevalent. Christensen first gained renown for his spray loop paintings, in which he used the spray gun to create repeating calligraphic circles, producing shimmering allover surface effects.  His work progressed in several directions, including his plaids, in which he used rollers and squeegees to “get more paint down on the canvas,” resulting in tighter compositions that at the same time had an improvisational quality as their compositions were determined in the artist’s “editing” phase.  In another series, he used sticks and brush ends to cut into thick acrylic strata, abrading his surfaces to let colorful underlayers emerge.  In the 1980s, he returned to the loop, using color sprays to create blurred circles and evanescent mandala-like lozenges.

Christensen conjoined his thematic issues in the mid-1990s, creating orbs of colors that seem to melt as well as move through fluorescent and celestial atmospheres, their shifting lines implying the Pythagorian harmony of the spheres as well as atomic energy and matter.  Christensen was creating works of heightened brilliance and intensity when his career was abruptly ended by his early death in 2007.

Christensen received a National Endowment Grant in 1968 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1969.  His paintings are held in over thirty museum collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Seattle Art Museum; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and many others.  This summer, Gagosian Gallery in London will be including the 1968 masterpiece, “Pavo” in their exhibition entitled, “Srayed,” featuring works by Jules Olitski, David Smith, and Christopher Wool.  Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea will open their fall 2015 season with a solo exhibition of Christensen’s work.

CV


1942, born Cozad, Nebraska
2007, died East Hampton, New York
1964, BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York, 1967.
Galerie Ricke, Cologne, Germany, 1968.
Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York, 1968.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1969.
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, 1970.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1971.
Galerie Ricke, Cologne, Germany, 1971.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1972.
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, 1972.
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, 1973.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1974.
Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri, 1974.
Jared Sable Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, 1974.
Rothman’s Art Gallery, Stratford, Ontario, 1974.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1975.
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1976.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, Kansas City, Missouri, 1976.
Watson/ de Nagy Gallery, Houston, 1976.
B.R. Kornblatt Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, 1977.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1978.
Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, 1978.
Meredith Long Contemporary Gallery, New York, 1978.
Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, 1978.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1979.
Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, 1979.
Meredith Long Gallery, New York, 1979.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1980.
Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, 1980.
Meredith Long Gallery, New York, 1980.
University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1980.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1981.
Gallery 700, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1981.
Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, 1981.
Harcus Krakow Gallery, Boston, 1981.
Meredith Long and Company, Houston, 1981.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., New York, 1981.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1982.
Ivory/Klimpton Gallery, San Francisco, 1982.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc, New York, 1982.
Carson-Sapiro Gallery, Denver, Colorado, 1983.
Lincoln Center Gallery, New York, 1983.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc, New York, 1983.
Bank of America, San Francisco, 1984.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1984.
Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, 1984.
Il Punto Blue, Southampton, New York, 1984.
Lincoln Center Gallery, New York, 1984.
Meredith Long and Company, Houston, 1984.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc, New York, 1984.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, 1987.
Lincoln Center Gallery, New York, 1987.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, 1988.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1989.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1990.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1991.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc, New York, 1991.
ACA Galleries, New York, 1993.
Eva Cohon, Gallery, Chicago, 1993.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1993.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1994.
ISM, Seoul, Korea, 1994.
CS. Schulte Galleries, Millburn, New Jersey, 1995.
Jaffe Baker Blau, Boca Raton, Florida, 1995.
CS. Schulte Galleries, Millburn, New Jersey, 1998.
Dorothy Blau Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, 1998.
Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, New York, Paintings from the 90s, 1999.
CS. Schulte Galleries, Millburn, New Jersey, 2000.
Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, New York, 2000.
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, Dan Christensen: A Forty Year Survey, 2001 – 02.
Parrish Museum of Art, Water Mill, New York, Selections from a Retrospective, 2002 – 03.
Lizan-Tops Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 2003.
Ed Thorp Gallery, New York, Re/View, 2004.
Elaine Baker Gallery, 9 Paintings at Lizan-Tops Gallery, 2004.
Skot Foreman Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, A Survey of Paintings and Graphics, 2005.
Pamela Williams Gallery, Amagansett, New York, 2006.
LewAllen Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dan Christensen: PURE PAINTING, A Forty-Year Retrospective (1966-2006), 2007.
LewAllen Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lyrical Spray Canvases, 1960s to the 1990s, 2009.
Spanierman Modern, New York, The Plaid Paintings, 2009.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri (traveled to Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska), Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting, 2009 - 10.
LewAllen Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bars and Scrapes, 2011.
Spanierman Modern, New York, The Stain Paintings, 2011.
Spanierman Modern, New York, The Early Sprays, 1967 – 1969, 2011.
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, Retrospective, 2015.

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Bianchini Gallery, New York, 1966.
Noah Goldowksy Gallery, New York, 1966.
Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, 1966.
Galerie Zwirner, Cologne, Germany, 1967.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual, 1967.
Galerie Ricke, Kassel, Germany, 1968.
Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, 1968.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Recent Acquisitions, 1968.
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, Highlights of the 1968 – 69 Art Season, 1969.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Biennial, 1969.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Theodorian Award Group, 1969.
Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, Missouri, Here and Now, 1969.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual, 1969.
Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York (traveled to the University Art Gallery, Albany, New York), Contemporary American Painting & Sculpture from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz, 1969 – 70.
The Katonah Gallery, New York, Color, 1970.
Locksley Shea Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Young Artists/New York, 1970.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (traveled to Dayton Art Institute, Ohio), Color and Field, 1890 – 1970, 1970 – 71.
The DeLuxe Theater, Houston, The DeLuxe Show, 1971.
Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York, Group Show, 1971.
Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, Art of the Decade 1960 – 70: Paintings from the Collections of Greater Detroit, 1971.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Lyrical Abstraction, 1971.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (traveled to The Baltimore Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin), Six Painters, 1971 – 72.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Abstract Painting in the 70s, 1972.
Sales & Rental Gallery, Nelson Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Color-Field Painting to Post-Color Abstraction, 1972.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual, 1972.
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1973.
Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Paintings, 1973.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Biennial, 1973.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Contemporary American Colorfield Painting, 1974.
Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri, 1974.
B.R. Kornblatt Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, 1975.
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, Report from SoHo, 1975.
Museo Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, El Lenguaje del Color, 1975.
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Freedom in Art, 1976.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Bannard, Christensen, Olitski, Poons, 1977.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, Works on Paper, 1977.
Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta, New Abstract Art, 1977.
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, Collector’s Choice, 1977.
Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee, American Masters of the Sixties and Seventies, 1978.
University of Nebraska, Omaha, Expressionism in the 70s, 1978.
Zolla/Liberman Gallery, Chicago, Intrigue in Form and Structure, 1979.
Carson-Shapiro Gallery, Denver, Colorado, Dan Christensen/Carl Gliko – Recent Paintings, 1980.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc, New York, Works on Paper, 1980.
Harcus Krakow Gallery, Boston, Works on Paper, 1981.
Museum of Modern Art, New York (traveled to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California), New Work on Paper I, 1981.
Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 1981.
Oil & Steel Gallery, New York, 1981.
Sarah Y. Rentschler Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, 1981.
Sheldon Art Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska, Kansas City, 1981.
University of Missouri, Kansas City, Dealer’s Choice, 1981.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1982.
Kenneth G. Heffel Fine Art, Inc, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1982.
Martha White Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, Color II, 1982.
Meredith Long and Company, Houston, Americans on Paper, 1982.
Oil & Steel Gallery, New York, Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture II: 1950 – 1981, 1982.
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, 46th Annual National Midyear Show, 1982.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Miro in America, 1982.
University of Oklahoma, Norman, Points of View: 1982, 1982.
Adam L. Gimbel Gallery, New York, 1983.
Oil & Steel Gallery, New York, 1983.
P.S. 1, Brooklyn, Special Projects (curated by Dick Bellamy), 1983.
Sarah Y. Rentschler Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, 1983.
Baruch College Gallery, New York, 1985.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1985.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Philip Johnson: Selected Gifts, 1985.
Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, 1985.
Spencer Museum, Lawrence, Kansas, Pop Op Plus, 1985.
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1985.
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1986.
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York, Artist of the Region Invitational, 1986.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, Opening Exhibition, 1987.
Graham Modern Gallery, New York, Gone Fishing, 1987.
Robert Kidd Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, 1987.
Soghor, Leonard & Associates, New York, 1987.
Vered Art Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 10th Season Gala Opening, 1987.
Galerie Rolf Ricke, Cologne, West Germany, Farbfeldmalerei New York 1968, 1988.
Vered Art Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1988.
Deson-Saunders Gallery, Chicago, 1989.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, 1989.
Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, 1989.
Meredith Long & Company, Houston, 1989.
Daniel Newburgh Gallery, New York, Before the Field: Paintings from the 60s, 1990.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1990.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Berlin, Germany, Berlin: Inaugural Exhibition, 1991.
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Beverly Hills, California, 1991.
Springs Art Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Present Tense, 1991.
CS. Schulte Galleries, South Orange, New Jersey, Celebrating Formalism, 1992.
Galerie Gerald Piltzer, Paris, Les Heros de la Peinture Americaine: L’exhibition Inaugurate, 1992.
Vered Art Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 1992.
Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Eight Painters: Abstraction in the Nineties, 1993.
CS. Schulte Galleries, Millburn, New Jersey, Important Works by Modern Masters, 1993.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, Small Paintings: Big Issues, 1993.
Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, 1994.
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, 1969: A Year Reconsidered, 1994.
Nicholas Alexander Gallery, New York, Seven Painters, 1995.
Gershwin Gallery, New York, New York – Abstract, 1997.
OK Harris Gallery, New York, The Fanelli Show, 1998.
P.S. 1, New York, Richard Bellamy Memorial Show, 1998.
Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, New York, Abstraction II, 1998.
Side Show Gallery, Brooklyn, Regatta 98, 1998.
Gershwin Hotel, New York, The Art of Absolute Desire, 1999.
Portland Art Museum, Oregon, Clement Greenberg: A Critic’s Collection, 2000.
Lizan-Tops Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 2002.
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, 2002.
Lizan-Tops Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 2003.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, 2003.
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska, Big Canvas – Paintings from the Permanent Collection, 2003.
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, 2003.
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York, On the Books: Sculptural Collaboration, 2004.
Lizan-Tops Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Black and White, 2004.
Joan T. Washburn Gallery and Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, Wilder – A Tribute to Nicholas Wilder Gallery, 2005.
Pamela Wilson Gallery, East Hampton, New York, 2005.
Remy Toldedo Gallery, New York, Then and Now, 2005.
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, Works on Paper, 2005.
Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Art and the Garden: Post-War and Contemporary Paintings of the Garden, 2005.
Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Artists and Nature on Eastern Long Island: 1940s to the Present, 2005.
Leif Hope’s Restaurant, East Hampton, New York, Group Show, 2006.
Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Long Island Abstraction 1950s to Present, 2006.
Spanierman Modern, New York, On Paper – From Sketch to Showpiece, 2006.
Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (traveled to National Academy Museum, New York; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe), High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967 – 1975, 2006 - 08.
Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida, 2008.
Hausler Contemporary, Munich, Loveparade 2, 2008.
Spanierman Modern, New York, Gallery Selections, 2008.
LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hand to Paper: The Quiet Sublimity of Works on Paper, 2009.
Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton, New York, Gallery Selections, 2009.
Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida, 2010.
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, 2014.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, 2014.

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
Albrecht Art Gallery, St. Joseph, Missouri
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Art Institute of Chicago
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Dayton Art Institute, Ohio
Denver Museum of Art, Colorado
Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta, Canada
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California
Greenville County Museum of Art, South Carolina
High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithica, New York
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Ludwig Collection in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
Robert Rowan Collection, Pasadena, California
Seattle Art Museum, Washington
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia
Toledo Museum, Ohio
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

AWARDS
1968  National Endowment Grant
1969  Guggenheim Fellowship Theodoran Award
1986  Gottlieb Foundation Grant
1992  Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant