Frederick J. Brown: Dreams and the Possibility of… 

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Frederick J. Brown: Dreams and the Possibility of…
On View: October 23, 2019 - September 27, 2020

Frederick J. Brown: Dreams and the Possibility of… celebrates the artwork of pioneering expressionist artist Frederick James Brown (1945-2012). Featuring a selection of work spanning Brown’s nearly 50-year career and diverse stylistic approaches to canvas, Dreams and the Possibility of… examines the artist’s conception of “dreams” through three lenses: the imagined landscape, aspiration and possibility, and “the American Dream”. In concert with reflections provided by activist, journalist and founding member of the Last Poets Felipe Luciano, the works of art showcased in Dreams and the Possibility of… explore the themes of ancestry, belief, and culture, all of which, for Brown, were sites where dreams took shape.  By focusing a critical lens on Brown’s use of motifs and fictional characters, this exhibition considers tensions between notions of self, myth, home, and the American narrative as presented by the artist.

 

Frederick J. Brown: Dreams and the Possibility of… has been co-curated by the artist’s son, Bentley Brown, and will be on view through September 27, 2020. This exhibition has also been devised in collaboration with poet Felipe Luciano and conceived to be paired with a year-long series of public programs and educational initiatives exploring stories of survival and commemoration, dreams of where we have been, where we are headed, and the world of color and sound that could be.

 

Photo by Ralph Gibson, New York, New York (c) 1988

Photo by Ralph Gibson, New York, New York (c) 1988

About Frederick J. Brown

Frederick James Brown (1945-2012) was a New York City-based American artist raised in Chicago's Southside. Brown's work reflects upon his early exposure to the sounds and personalities of the blues and jazz while engaging themes of the urban fabric, spirituality, and Americana. During the 1970s and 1980s Brown’s SoHo, Manhattan studio, 120 Wooster Street, became a central gathering place for musicians, writers, and visual and performance artists. In SoHo, Brown collaborated with, among others, painter Romare Bearden, jazz musician Ornette Coleman, and poet Felipe Luciano, developing a genre-bending approach to his painting that incorporated elements of abstract and figurative expressionism, collage, portraiture, and performance. In 1990, Brown settled in Arizona, continuing his practice in both New York and Phoenix.

Brown’s work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Brown’s notable one-man exhibitions include retrospectives at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Marlborough Gallery and the National Museum of China in Beijing, where in 1988 he became the first Western artist to have his works exhibited in what was the Museum of the People’s Revolution (now the National Museum of China). Major works include The Last Supper (1983); The Assumption of Mary (1992), a three-story-high, single canvas painting permenantly hung at Xavier University's University Library in New Orleans; The History of Art(1990s), a group of 110 interlocking paintings on permanent display in the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; and his extensive series of over 350 portraits of jazz and blues musicians.