Coming: a Joan Brown retrospective
May 20, 2018 § Leave a comment
JOAN BROWN met SFMOMA painting and sculpture curator Janet Bishop in 1989, while helping mount a show of Bay Area figurative art at the museum. It included paintings by Elmer Bischoff, who had mentored Brown at what’s now the San Francisco Art Institute and inspired her to follow her instincts, and other works from second-generation practitioners like Brown and her second husband, sculptor Manuel Neri.
“I was struck by the incredible vitality and freedom in her work,” says Bishop, who’s planning a Brown retrospective that SFMOMA intends to present around 2021.
In the pictures that brought Brown acclaim at 22 — when she had her first New York gallery show and was featured in the Whitney Museum’s prestigious “Young America” exhibition — “she just loaded the brush and the canvas with paint,” Bishop notes. “They have an intense physicality that was very much her own. Later on, in the ’70s, when her work becomes more flat and graphic, I think she emerged as a truly distinctive voice. That work is still underappreciated.”
SFMOMA has 29 Brown works, several acquired in recent years.
— Jesse Hamlin in the Nob Hill Gazette