Bruce Dorfman studied at the Art Students League of New York with Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Arnold Blanch, and Charles H. Alston. He continued his studies at the University of Iowa with Mauricio Lasansky, Stuart Edie, and Roy Sieber, historian. Since 1960, Dorfman has had fifty-six solo exhibitions. and his work is in museum, corporate, and private collections across the United States, Europe, and Asia. He teaches “Combined Media, Assemblage, Art in Three Dimensions” at the Art Students League. His website is


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On December 21, 2017, the June Kelly Gallery (NYC) opens Celebrating 30 Years: Drawings and Photographs, an exhibition featuring the gallery's artists. Bruce Dorfman's mixed media work Torso will be on view. The show continues through January 30, 2018.

[caption id="attachment_29181" align="aligncenter" width="449"]June Kelly gallery 30 years Bruce Dorfman, Torso, 2009, paper, pencil, gouache, acrylic, 24 x 18 in.[/caption]
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The Bruce Dorfman: Past Present catalogue, designed by Karen Bright, has received a Gold Hermes International Creative Award. The catalogue (PDF here) was published in a limited edition, numbered and signed, on the occasion the artist's recent exhibition at Monmouth University, September–December, 2016.  Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional materials and programs and emerging technologies. Bruce Dorfman retrospective catalogue
[post_title] => Bruce Dorfman Retrospective Catalogue Receives Award [post_excerpt] => The Bruce Dorfman: Past Present catalogue has won a Gold Hermes International Creative Award. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-catalogue-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-10 16:30:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-10 20:30:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24987 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2017-01-03 21:08:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-04 02:08:59 [post_content] =>

Bruce Dorfman has received an individual grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation for 2017. He was also a recipient during 2007–08.

[caption id="attachment_25009" align="aligncenter" width="378"]Bruce Dorfman Pollock-Krasner Grant Bruce Dorfman, Apricot, 2016, paper, metal, pencil, gouache, and acrylic, 28 x 17 in. Public collection.[/caption] [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman Receives 2017 Pollock-Krasner Grant [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman has received an individual grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation for 2017. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-receives-2017-pollock-krasner-grant [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-11 14:45:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-11 18:45:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24390 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2016-12-19 10:12:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-19 15:12:21 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24109" align="aligncenter" width="926"]dorfman_install4 Photography: Deborah Winiarski[/caption] Stephanie Cassidy: There's a beautiful wide-angle shot of you looking at your work on the walls of Monmouth University's DiMattio Gallery. You are in the background, walking through a beautiful space, the paintings elegantly lit in a wonderful hanging over two floors. What's going on in your mind as you're looking at twenty-eight years of work? There could be a moment of triumph and pleasure but also a paralyzing fear of where to go next and a questioning of whether you’ve reached your greatest potential as an artist. Does a show of this scale push those questions forward in your mind? Bruce Dorfman: Where to go next is, for me, never an issue at all. I've spent my life going along from one piece of work to another, from one year to another. The last piece of work prompts questions that can only be dealt with by doing another piece of work. I have never seen that many pieces of my work at one time under any circumstances. The show was curated jointly by Scott Knauer, the director of exhibitions at Monmouth University, Vincent DiMattio, a professor of art at the university, and myself from works taken from the galleries that represent me. There were no works taken from collections at all. Our selections had to be adjusted to the requirements of the space and considerations of whether it might travel to other places. We chose the very best of what we had but did not allow chronology to dictate those selections. The starting point was set at 1988 and the endpoint at 2016. The most recent piece of work was completed just three weeks before the exhibition opened. If and when the retrospective travels, it would begin with a single piece of work that was completed at the Art Students League, in 1952, a very critical painting that marked an early turning point. Nothing I did between 1952 and 1988 is included. Cassidy: You're saying that we can find the origins of your mature composite paintings in this single 1952 canvas? [caption id="attachment_24506" align="alignleft" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Broken Pitchers, 1952. Bruce Dorfman, Broken Pitchers, 1952, oil on canvas, 22 x 16 in.[/caption] Dorfman: The painting, Broken Pitchers, was done in Yasuo Kuniyoshi's and Arnold Blanch's classes at the Art Students League. That particular piece of work was a turning point. One of the things that struck me about the show overall is that I was very familiar with the person who painted all these things. I could see constants running through everything, regardless of the shifts of emphasis. There are feelings and ideas and visual qualities that I love, and, apparently, I always have. I'm looking at things that were done quite a while ago, and things that I wrote quite a while ago, which are not very different form what I am thinking now. My ability to express those things, perhaps, is greater at this point, than it was then. Cassidy: That's a growth in technical facility or awareness? Dorfman: It is more a matter of understanding what one needs to bring to one's work that keeps developing. I think one takes greater risks than one is more capable of, and those risks are better informed than they may have been earlier. The demands become greater. Looking at it, I felt that there was an overall sense of unity within all of the variation that occurred. There was a strong governing sense of personality and choice that ran through the whole thing. Cassidy: Could either Kuniyoshi or Blanch have predicted the path of your work, taking on these other elements besides paint and canvas, the layered assemblages? [caption id="attachment_24391" align="alignright" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, White Graphite, 1989. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 80 x 58½ x 3 in.[/caption] Dorfman: Yes, I think so. Both artists were concerned primarily with the individual in their classes. They did not promote an ideology or specific performance skill of any kind. They were concerned with only the particular student they were talking to at the time, each in a very different way. Charles Alston, whom I also studied with, did that as well. But I walked out of other League classes because they didn't do that. There was more of a shtick involved and they were teaching to a whole class. There was some kind of ideology or infallible way of doing things that they felt was crucial. And I've never been able to understand that point of it at all. I don't believe in general fundamentals or basics. I simply do not. Cassidy: If I look at the painting from 1952, what am I going to see that anticipates the work from the 80s and 90s and the other more recent work that you so clearly understand this painting to be a touchstone for? Dorfman: In that early painting, Broken Pitchers, is a love of color and space and shape. The conversations I was afforded by both Kuniyoshi and Blanch went to a very open-minded idea about works of art incorporating whatever the artist felt was necessary to get to the particular end that they needed to get to. One had to be open to what was right in front of oneself rather than be concerned with whether or not it was consistent with some category or way of doing things. That premise was there with all three of the people whom I worked with. I was trying to create something that reflected a strong sense of choice and the ability to put it down, to set it, to make it clear in some way. This caused a major turning point for me in my life; being at the League made this possible. It was possible for me to come here and work in classes like that and get the kind of attention and concern that any student might have found necessary. The white pitcher episode was a turning point. Kuniyoshi often brought to class, very generously, things from home that he loved. One day it was a couple of white stoneware pitchers made in England that he had used in his own work. He set them up in a still life on a table. A group of students was sitting around the table, trying to emulate the still life in some way. Kuniyoshi came in and looked at what people were doing, not saying much. He got upset about what he was seeing, which was an attempt to render instead of trying to see what was there. He took the pitchers, smashed them on the table, and said, There, now, paint that, and left. He didn't come back until the following week. I took that very seriously. It was a hell of a sacrifice for him to make in order to try to give us something, in terms of an understanding. That struck me in a very big way. I thought I should really make a greater effort and get beyond just sitting around trying to render this in a dispassionate way. So I created this painting. [caption id="attachment_24394" align="alignleft" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Stonechime, 1994–95. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 96 x 44 x 3 in.[/caption] Arnold Blanch saw it first. Blanch thought it was very beautiful—and it is very beautiful—and he paid a lot of attention to it. He had other students looking at it. Then, in the afternoon, Kuniyoshi came in. He was a different personality from Blanch. His was a kind of prewar samurai persona: he didn't say a great deal. One had to pay very close attention to whatever it was that was going on. He taught very much by example, by demeanor and bearing. He asked me to bring the painting into an adjacent empty studio. He closed the door, and we were in there, with the painting up on the easel, sitting in silence for at least twenty minutes. This was kind of a moment that we were living through. Then he said, If you keep painting that way, you'll be dead by the time you are thirty. And he got up and left. I kept thinking, Well, this is important. I should be paying close attention to this and try to understand what he means because he is not going to explain it. He is leaving it up to me. That was very important because, after all, everything is left up to the artist working alone in their studio, regardless of whatever else may be going on. They have to somehow turn to themselves and figure it out. I went back to where I was staying in Woodstock, which is where this happened, set the painting up, and tried to look at it through Kuniyoshi’s eyes. I kind of got it. That painting was a very complete painting. It was so complete that it answered all of the things that it had set out to answer and didn't ask any questions at all. It was a dead end. There were no possibilities for a subsequent painting. This understanding has followed me all of my life. Paintings are no absolute answers to themselves or anything else. Whatever it is that they achieve, in the course of their creation, things come up that can't be dealt with in a particular piece of work. One recognizes those things and puts them on hold until one gets to the next painting and drawing. But it is not six subsequent paintings painted into a single painting with the hope of getting to the end of everything. Working through these choices as an artist and being around artists who supported that kind of education is what the League made possible. In any case, that was a major moment. Cassidy: You describe the Art Students League as allowing you to grow and to pursue these things freely, which I think echoed some early encouragement from your parents to pursue what you felt was interesting and valuable and to have a confidence in your own instincts. It’s a position contrary to being the good student and conforming to lessons or fundamentals that were offered in schools. It was an unusual attitude for parents to take with children at that time. [caption id="attachment_24392" align="alignright" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Terracotta Lift (Emil), 2007. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 58 x 46 x 3 in.[/caption] Dorfman: I think it was and continues to be very unusual. The idea of distinctiveness and the importance of personal choice, so long as it was creative and not destructive or harmful to someone else, was an important thing to be valued. My family said that I had the responsibility for saying something or doing something that would be a contribution and of value and importance. That was encouraging. They were both thoughtful, creative people. My mother was able to play the piano. My father was a painter himself by avocation, who worked as a creative art director and writer. A lot of my growing up was spent around art and artists. My father had studied with Kuniyoshi at the New School. I have a sister, artist Joan Busing, who spent a month or so working with Arnold Blanch before I got to him. There was an ongoing constructive validation and reassurance at all times, provided I took the responsibility for the doing of these things. In order to go to the League, I had to have a work permit for part-time work and to find an affordable place to stay. I loved all of it. I loved the League and everything about it. I really did. Cassidy: Do you think those early affirmations of pursuing your own course, which were later reinforced by League instructors, helped you transition out of the classroom and into your own studio? Dorfman: No question about it. It is important to note that I saw otherwise at the League as well, with two or three other instructors whom I worked with briefly. I found them drawing over my drawing and telling me that whether I was using red or not it should be on my palette. I understood what was happening well enough to respectfully decline and quietly leave the class and go someplace else where it was possible not to put red on the palette until you needed it. It was this idea of knowing both what is necessary to what is going on and what is going on right in front of you rather than accepting some other thing that was carried into the room that existed before you did. Cassidy: It sounds like the opposite of curriculum or academic teaching method. Dorfman: It is the opposite. I think the creative act is very different than the ability to perform a skill set. I think what needs to be understood are what one's persistent preferences or choices are and then to be able to give expression to them in a constructive way. I think that individual choice is as distinctive as the human being who makes those choices. We are part of a collective, I understand that, but within that, there's this other thing operating: the willingness to risk identity, come what may. That is essential to creation. [caption id="attachment_24396" align="alignleft" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Flite X, 2014. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 58 x 45 x 6 in. (overall).[/caption] Cassidy: Let's go back to the retrospective and the selection of the forty-three works because that can't be a small task. You're culling them from three different galleries and from your own storage. There's a lot of work. What is the process of sifting, sorting, assessing? You're working with a curator who might have his own agenda about what goes on the wall and different ideas about how to represent an evolution, a life, or themes and variations in the work. How did that process unfold? Dorfman: There was, of course, the idea of wanting to exhibit work done over a span of time. But it also involved selecting out those works that would also hang well together. It is possible to have a very different kind of exhibition if it is approached chronologically—if one selects work just in terms of how many pieces there are from certain points in time. We didn't do that. We picked out pieces that did reflect that whole timeframe that would all look good together. So, in terms of the period 1988 to 1995, there are maybe only a half a dozen pieces of work. As we get closer to the present time, there are more pieces of work in certain years than there are in others. I had a few very friendly, cordial, and accessible people that I was working with. There were certain choices that were made that I didn't agree with, and certain choices that I made that someone else may not have agreed with. But once again, in the end, they trusted me. I really tried my best to understand what they were doing and to try to accommodate their concerns. But I restored certain pieces to the exhibition that they were not planning to include. Cassidy: Did you think that in the end they understood your choices? Were you able to make your case? [caption id="attachment_24398" align="alignright" width="408"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Chinatown, 2013. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, fabric, acrylic, 63 x 40 x 3 in.[/caption] Dorfman: Very much so. Everybody was just great. There was one piece, Sijo (1989), which got in very late that I’d suggested early on. It was part of a series. The idea was to get this piece of work hanging high on the wall, so that when you came into the gallery and looked straight ahead, there was a group of very recent paintings, then large wall text with the show title. Above that, hanging next to heaven, was supposed to be this painting. I really it wanted it there. They did everything they could to find a way to get it there. They wanted to move a cherrypicker into the space and somehow get into the walls and find a way to suspend it. When I went to see the show for the first time, I noticed that it wasn't up and asked about it. They explained that these things were becoming very problematic from a practical standpoint. The painting was in the building, but it wasn't up. There wasn't any more room. So I said, Isn't there some way that we can get this into this exhibition? Once again, we found a way to accommodate each other's concerns, which was nice. They did find an unusual place to hang it, and it did very well actually, even with less light. There was that kind of back and forth and a lot of reciprocity and mutual respect. Everybody has been just grand. Cassidy: Can you tell me a few things that you learned visiting the exhibition that you didn't know about yourself, the work, the process, what was going on at a particular point in time when you were fixated on something? Dorfman: The very first thing was this sort of mundane and not mundane issue. With all the shows I've had over the years, I have always had some kind of a hand in deciding how things were going to be hung. The exhibition was laid out and planned, just before, tentatively, on paper, by myself and artist and League instructor Deborah Winiarski. I was allowed into the room during the process. But when the show was hung, I was not there. This would be a different kind of an exhibition, so I would simply trust a few other people to do it: Director Knauer, artist Vincent DiMattio, and Deborah Winiarski. So I had no idea what this exhibition would finally look like. When I walked in, I was stunned. I never could have arranged a show as well as they did. They were able to understand something that I would have gotten in the way of, no question. There are all sorts of ego issues and issues involving self. The show is beautifully hung, and I wasn't there to have anything to do with it. [caption id="attachment_24397" align="alignleft" width="415"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Purple and Purple, 2015. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, fabric, pencil, acrylic, 60 x 39 x 5 in.[/caption] Cassidy: I'm wondering what you see on the walls now that the works have been assembled together. It would otherwise be impossible for you to see, at once, work from a thirty-year period. A retrospective affords a vantage point that you can't normally access. These are works of scale; you need to be in their presence to really see them. What have you gained from walking into the gallery, at different points, and seeing people react to the work on the wall? The retrospective is almost three times the size of one of your regular shows. What do you glean that can help propel you to the next question in your painting? How do you understand yourself maybe a little differently than you did looking at the work? That's a huge milestone in itself. Dorfman: It struck me in a coherent way that creating those paintings, the doing of them, has been the great and loyal constant of my life. The works were all very close, more than great friends. There was also a sense of persistent concerns, persistent feelings, the persistent presence of qualities of feeling that I love. I have never seen my work that way. I had thought about that, but I was never really sure. I didn't know that until I saw all these pieces together, at one time, regardless of size or materials. It is an amazing thing. I think a show of that size, with that many years involved, reveals what oneself is up to more than a more ordinary kind of exhibition—with due all respect to the others. I never had such an experience before. I found myself even saying to another artist at the time, I thought this is what I needed to see happen, and here it is. I feel vindicated—unless I'm deluding myself [laughs]. Cassidy: So it's a good feeling and an affirmation. Dorfman: Oh, it is a wonderful feeling. Yes, because you can be affirmed and validated and so on and so on and so on. But it comes in spurts and starts and stops. Then, here is a whole symphonic event going on that carries through an extended length of time. What a surprise, a very special kind of surprise. Cassidy: Is it a catharsis, in a way? Or is it a catalyst to do more? Does it set a new agenda? Dorfman: I think it is that, and it is cathartic also. One of the things that it has done is confirm something that I've suspected: one can trust one's impulses. Walking out of that show for the first time, I was thinking the best thing to do now—or over the next one hundred years—is to move on with that. When something comes to mind, trust it. Go with it because it is doable, and you've just noticed that it is doable. [caption id="attachment_24393" align="alignright" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Where It Was, As It Was, 2002. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, fabric, acrylic, 56 x 54 x 3 in.[/caption] Cassidy: And it worked. Dorfman: And in a way that you've never quite seen before. I suspected this was so. But now I'm reasonably confident that it is. It was cathartic in the sense that, since the first viewing, when I walk into my studio, I feel like everything is cooperating. It's just amazing. Even when things get difficult, it is in a cooperative and necessary way. The act of creating things becomes much more pleasurable, which I would not have thought prior to seeing this. I have done two pieces of work since the opening. I was amazed that they came into being. You know, you want red, go ahead and use it because it'll work. So just go there and trust it and everything will be OK. Cassidy: I want to ask one last question about the retrospective’s periodization. The starting point of this show is 1988, which leaves a big gap between 1952, the year of your breakthrough painting Broken Pitchers, and 1988. Can you explain why 1988 was a good starting point for the show? Dorfman: That's a great question. There was a persistent issue that had been following me for many years. For those in-between years, there were concerns over whether or not I was going to fully and unquestioningly accept what I believed in or whether I was going to try to adjust to a more categorized way of thinking about things and find what I needed to do within that. Between 1960 and 1988, I attempted to rearrange or redefine what a painting space could be, and what painting meant or what it might mean. I became increasingly more conscious of the fact of painting not always resolving itself as just paint on a rectangle. It has only been relatively recently, since the early Renaissance, particularly in Europe, that painting was a portable board or a canvas with four right angles that you could lift and hang. Suddenly, there were collectors and people who were owning things and putting things in their homes, which was rarely the case prior to that time and didn't really settle itself that way until the Reformation in northern Europe. [caption id="attachment_24399" align="alignleft" width="401"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, Enso, 2011. Canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 64 x 61 x 6 in.[/caption] So I was struggling with that during that period, reordering what I did within a rectangular space but letting that space be the field for the work. I kept bringing other possibilities into my work throughout those years. There were oval canvases and circular canvases with wooden flanges. I have reproductions of them in early catalogues. When I was represented by Kennedy Galleries, they had a large exhibition of those pieces. I needed to feel within myself that I was stronger with what I was doing by either staying with four right angles and putting it all down with paint, or whether I should just go ahead and pay attention to just what was in front of me and follow what seemed to be necessary to that. When I moved from the one thing more fully into the other, people got used to it after a while. There was a huge turning point that occurred around 1983, when I had a painting called Rain Field in one of the Art Students League’s windows. It was a composite of three sections. I was walking along 57th Street with Larry Berger, a very dear friend of mine, a painter, who had also studied at the League. We had just come up from my show at the New School, and as we passed the League, I asked him what he thought about my painting in the window: What do you think, Larry? Are we going into this now full blast, or what? What do you feel that constitutes my real strength as an artist? I’d already had like thirty-five shows. Larry said, Well, what do you think? I said, Well, honestly, deep down, I think it is the painting in the League window not the painting that is down at the New School. He turned to me and he said, Well, I'm glad you said it first. There's no question about it. It's the painting in the League window. After that, there was no looking back. If a painting needed a piece of steel or a piece of wood, or a combination of this and that, along with all of the painting that goes on, it got it. There was no questioning of whether it was valid or not valid. It was a better piece of work. I always felt better about it. I felt it had a greater degree of integrity. It was more true to what it needed to be. [caption id="attachment_24395" align="alignright" width="391"]Bruce Dorfman retrospective Bruce Dorfman, The Weight of Light, 2016. Canvas, wood, metal, paper acrylic, 65 x 62 x 6 in.[/caption] Cassidy: So you did have a moment of validation, of somebody saying, This is the work you should be pursuing. Dorfman: I’d thought that was what was going on. But you spend so much time in isolation. You don't know what you're hearing or what you're reading. Then, there have always been people who appear at different times who are just wonderful. They affirm or validate something that you may have been suspecting about your work. Cassidy: So the moment of clarity for the artist can come when the work is received and validated by someone. It's reinforcing. Dorfman: I don't depend on that, but it can be. Cassidy: It helped you break through some last inhibitions about where you were going. Dorfman: I think you're right. It might have happened anyway, but it also might not have. I don't know. I think it was important to hear what was being said, and to be able to somehow assess it and make sense out of it in some way that is useful to oneself and one's work. Is what I'm hearing something that is strengthening? For me it's always this question, Where are your greatest strengths now? Is there something that is being said to you or something that is being is written that will reinforce those strengths in some way? It is a sort of weeding out or filtering process. Cassidy: It's a nice place to be perched, for the time being anyway. Dorfman: Oh, it's wonderful. This exhibition really shows all of this. Every single one of those pieces I can remember what went on around them, what happened, what sort of crisis occurred in the middle of doing the thing. This show keeps affirming, again and again and again, something about choosing your strengths. For me, those need to be choices having to do with things that I love, not things that I don't like. Cassidy: I think it is sage advice and a value affirmed by the very atelier-based education that's offered at the League. Dorfman: Absolutely. The opportunity is there.
Bruce Dorfman: Past Present was on view at Monmouth University's DiMattio Gallery from September 6 through December 18, 2016. [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman: The Retrospective Interview [post_excerpt] => "I think the creative act is very different than the ability to perform a skill set. I think that individual choice is as distinctive as the human being who makes those choices." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-retrospective-interview [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-07 10:08:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-07 15:08:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23859 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2016-08-29 08:41:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-29 12:41:30 [post_content] => Bruce Dorfman: Past Present is a retrospective of the artist's paintings and drawings in combined media from 1988 through 2016. The exhibition, which includes 43 works, opens at Monmouth University's DiMattio Gallery on September 6 and continues through December 18, 2016. A lecture, in Wilson Hall Auditorium, is scheduled for September 23, 6–7 p.m., followed by a reception at DiMattio Gallery, 7–9 p.m. [portfolio_slideshow width=636 height=500] [post_title] => A Bruce Dorfman Retrospective [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman: Past Present is a retrospective of the artist's paintings and drawings in combined media from 1988 through 2016. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-retrospective [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-21 08:13:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-21 12:13:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23102 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2016-07-01 14:09:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-01 18:09:41 [post_content] => Ways and Means: A New Look at Process and Materials in Art is an exhibition curated by Jason Andrew and organized by Norte Maar (Brooklyn, NY) that opens July 11 at 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery. Bruce Dorfman is among twenty-five artists who, in this exhibition, "are linked to an aesthetic where product is not the principal focus, where process is not the means but an end, and where materials are far from conventional, moving beyond paint and brush, stone and chisel, clay and wheel, thread and loom." The show, documented with a brochure of highlights, continues through October 7, 2016, with an opening reception scheduled for July 18, 6–8 p.m. [caption id="attachment_23103" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Bruce Dorfman, Kizuki, 2016. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, fabric, acrylic paint, pencil, 62 × 60 × 6 in. Courtesy June Kelly Gallery, New York Photo: Deborah Winiarski Bruce Dorfman, Kizuki, 2016. Canvas, wood, metal, paper, fabric, acrylic paint, pencil, 62 × 60 × 6 in. Courtesy June Kelly Gallery, New York. Photo: Deborah Winiarski[/caption] [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman in Ways and Means [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman is one of twenty-five artists in Ways and Means, an exhibition that opens July 11 at the 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-in-ways-and-means [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-01 14:26:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-01 18:26:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22268 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2016-05-01 10:30:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-01 14:30:30 [post_content] => Bruce Dorfman is one of four artists showing at Elizabeth Clement Fine Art's booth for the inaugural edition of CONTEXT New York, Piers 92/94 (Pier 94 55th Street and Westside Highway). Sixty-three galleries are participating. Its sister fair, CONTEXT Art Miami, began in 2012. CONTEXT New York (online catalogue) starts May 3 with a private preview. The general opening is May 4 and continues through May 8, 2016. [caption id="attachment_22269" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bruce Dorfman, Molly Bloom, 2012. Canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 66 x 47 x 6 in. Bruce Dorfman, Molly Bloom, 2012. Canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 66 x 47 x 6 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman at CONTEXT New York [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman is one of four artists showing at Elizabeth Clement Fine Art's booth for the inaugural edition of CONTEXT New York. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-context-new-york [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-01 21:09:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-02 01:09:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21515 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2016-03-20 10:55:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-20 15:55:13 [post_content] => Bruce Dorfman’s exhibition this past fall at the June Kelly Gallery was listed as one of “12 Must-See Lower East Side and SoHo Gallery Shows” by the Art Dealers Association of America and its opening mentioned by ARTnews as one of “9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week.” Art critic Maureen Mullarkey, describing the exhibition as handsome and intelligent, wrote a short profile about Dorfman’s work, “Bruce Dorfman, Artist & Mentor.” [caption id="attachment_21517" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bruce Dorfman, Deep Past, 2015. Private collection Bruce Dorfman, Deep Past, 2015. Private collection[/caption] [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman: Recent Projects [post_excerpt] => Press attention for Bruce Dorfman's fall exhibition at the June Kelly Gallery [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-recent-projects [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-29 13:22:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-29 18:22:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16464 [post_author] => 28 [post_date] => 2015-08-28 14:17:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-28 18:17:25 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_16466" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Flight X, 2015. Flite X, 2015 Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 58 x 45 x 6 in. (overall). Bruce Dorfman, Flite X, 2015.
Canvas, wood, metal, paper, acrylic, 58 x 45 x 6 in. (overall).[/caption] Bruce Dorfman: Recent Work is a solo exhibition opening at the June Kelly Gallery (166 Mercer Street, NYC) on September 4. "Dorfman...has devised an abstract language of his own that underlines his dual focus in creating a strong art experience through geometric structure and through intriguingly sensuous luminosity." ARTNews has included the exhibition in the list, "Nine Events to Attend in New York City This Week." A reception is scheduled for September 10, and the exhibition continues through October 10, 2015. [caption id="attachment_16465" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Flite IV, 2012. Paper, metal, wood, pencil, gouache, acrylic, 9 1/2 x 6 in. Bruce Dorfman, Flite IV, 2012.
Paper, metal, wood, pencil, gouache, acrylic, 9 1/2 x 6 in.[/caption] [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman at June Kelly [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman's solo exhibition opens September 4 at the June Kelly Gallery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-at-june-kelly [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 10:17:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 10:17:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16322 [post_author] => 28 [post_date] => 2015-08-10 11:45:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-10 16:45:52 [post_content] => "Yasuo Kuniyoshi was always very concerned about layers of everything consistent with layers of meaning between the ostensible subject matter of the painting and what might be the actual content," Bruce Dorfman recalls about his mentor's layering of high-key colors. Many times the most profound insights about artists come from other artists. In this interview Bruce Dorfman discusses Yasuo Kuniyoshi in conjunction with Smithsonian American Art Museum's current exhibition The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Kuniyoshi began teaching at the Art Students League League in 1933 and continued until his death in 1953. [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman on Yasuo Kuniyoshi [post_excerpt] => "Yasuo Kuniyoshi was always very concerned about layers of everything consistent with layers of meaning between the ostensible subject matter of the painting and what might be the actual content." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-on-yasuo-kuniyoshi [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-26 11:17:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-26 15:17:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14008 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2015-03-05 14:12:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-05 19:12:59 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_14009" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Museum of Art and Cloisters Bruce Dorfman, Loulé, Loulé, 1993. Painted media, 26 x 28 in.[/caption] Escola International de Arte Loule, 1993 – 1998 opens at the Museum of Art and Cloisters (Loule, Portugal) this August. The exhibition will include several of Bruce Dorfman's works, completed during the summer of 1993 when he served as an invited Guest Artist there and which are now part of the collection of the Museum of Art at Loule. The exhibition continues through October 2015. [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman Exhibiting in Loule, Portugal at the Museum of Art and Cloisters [post_excerpt] => Bruce Dorfman is exhibiting in Loule, Portugal, this summer. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => museum-of-art-and-cloisters [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 09:18:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 13:18:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13895 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2015-01-31 15:16:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-01-31 20:16:56 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_13896" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Santa Fe Silver, 2010. Bruce Dorfman, Santa Fe Silver, 2010. Combined mediums, 20 x 23 in.[/caption] Eye on UI: Brodsky, Dorfman, Kipniss, Lanyon is an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and prints by four graduates of the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. While at Iowa, Bruce Dorfman studied with artists Mauricio Lasansky and Stuart Edie and historian Roy Seiber. Three of Dorfman's paintings, shown here, will be accessioned into the the University of Iowa Museum of Art's permanent collection at the conclusion of the exhibition. Eye of UI opens at the Figge Art Museum January 31 and continues through June 21, 2015. [caption id="attachment_13898" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Thus, 2004. Mixed media, 49 x 48 1/2 in. Bruce Dorfman, Thus, 2004.
Mixed media, 49 x 48½ in.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13897" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bruce Dorfman, Flyte 1, 2012. Bruce Dorfman, Flyte 1, 2012.
Combined mediums, 14 x 9 in.[/caption] [post_title] => On Exhibition: Bruce Dorfman in Eye on UI [post_excerpt] => Eye on UI: Brodsky, Dorfman, Kipniss, Lanyon is an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and prints by four graduates of the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => exhibition-bruce-dorfman-eye-ui [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 10:08:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 10:08:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12307 [post_author] => 28 [post_date] => 2014-09-24 12:44:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-24 16:44:54 [post_content] =>
[caption id="attachment_12490" align="aligncenter" width="660"]abstraction Jackson Pollock, Mural, 1943. Oil on canvas, 97 1/4  x 238 in. (247.02  x 604.52 cm). Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. University of Iowa Museum of Art. Jackson Pollock, Mural, 1943. Oil on canvas, 97 1/4 x 238 in. (247.02 x 604.52 cm). Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6. University of Iowa Museum of Art.[/caption] Not long after arriving at the University of Iowa as a freshman with a major in art, I visited the university library to draw out a book. Recalling that moment of entering the library lobby, I had a very strong, unexpected, and truly unprepared-for experience. On the wall behind and above the main desk was a very large, extremely powerful painting that I had no prior knowledge of. That great work of art was Jackson Pollock’s Mural. This artist’s first encounter with Pollock’s Mural (1943) has continued to remain a part of my thinking and life as an artist, to this day. I had come to the University of Iowa as an eighteen-year-old from New York City, following a summer of three months in France, Spain, and Italy. Studies at the Art Students League of New York, with Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Arnold Blanch, and Charles Alston were behind me. I was already exhibiting professionally. Blanch, Alston, Philip Guston, and Eugene Ludins had insisted that I go to college – specifically and strenuously, the University of Iowa. Fanny Ganso, of the Ganso Gallery and widow of the artist Emil Ganso, had written a personal letter in my behalf to UI President Orville Hancher. So, with some reluctance, I felt equipped and prepared for whatever was to come at UI. The experience at UI library with Pollock’s Mural changed all that. I was neither equipped or prepared for that great work of art, or the fact of such a work actually being seen – and so democratically being seen – at a university. For me, with Mural, I was looking at something that had been created that was about art, that was about itself, that could be its own reference. There were no filters. I was taken directly and immediately to the art. Well then... so a work of art could do that! At UI, I had the privilege of studying with superb, involved, and very lucid, reputable and professional artists and art historians: Stuart Edie, Mauricio Lasansky, and Roy Seiber stand out vividly in my mind. Curiously, during those years at UI, very little was ever said or discussed about the Pollock Mural. I believe that as something new in the world, the very freshness of it was still being savored and considered. The world of art, in all of its manifestations, had been changed. What was then possible to artists and their art had all been changed. My artist-profs. Edie and Lasansky clearly understood that and their mentoring generously encouraged the idea of possibility. Today, in my studio, decades after that initial experience in the UI library, there is always in clear sight, a copy of a book about Jackson Pollock (on a table purchased at a junk store in 1954 in Iowa City). The key work reproduced early in the book is Mural. On a nearby wall is an image of the Chinese thirteenth-century Sung Dynasty painting Six Persimmons, by Mu-Ch’i (which, by the way, I was also singularly overwhelmed by, around the same time as the Pollock. It was the very first image projected onto the screen by Roy Seiber, as introduction to the UI art history survey class). The early impact of experiencing Jackson Pollock’s Mural at UI remains. It has been a part of every day of my life as an artist.
As a teacher, I am fortunate to have been at the Art Students League of New York for the past fifty years. During those years, I have also taught and lectured at universities, art schools, and museums throughout the United States and abroad. Among my many students have been artists like Ai Weiwei and Gary Hill. Continuously and always, whenever the students are creating their art or when there are conversations, discussions, lectures or forums, I know that the idea of what is, may be, or must be possible to a single artist, is an idea – a reality – that I share the privilege of being able to be able to carry to the individuals in that studio or venue. For me, that is a legacy to be remembered, for them. The origin, then, of this inspiration and privilege? That was simply a trip to the UI library long ago, and this artist’s first experience of Jackson Pollock’s Mural.  ©Bruce Dorfman

This essay will appear in an upcoming volume of the Getty Research Journal dedicated to Jackson Pollock’s MuralThe Getty Research Institute has made available video from its symposium "Jackson Pollock's Mural: Transition, Context, Afterlife," which includes scholarly commentary on the painting's technique, conservation, and historical context.

[post_title] => Pollock's Mural, Art, and This Artist [post_excerpt] => "For me, with Pollock's Mural, I was looking at something that had been created that was about art, that was about itself, that could be its own reference." —Bruce Dorfman [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => jackson-pollock-mural-iowa [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-11 10:03:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-11 10:03:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6389 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2013-09-23 06:00:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-23 10:00:36 [post_content] =>
"There are those inclusive moments that present themselves as intensely beautiful and timeless. I am given to their expression."
Bruce Dorfman
  The Italian Kimono: Selected Works 2003–2013 is an exhibition of seventeen mixed media works by Bruce Dorfman, who this year marks his fiftieth year teaching at the Art Students League. The show opens on October 5, 2013 at the Elizabeth V. Sullivan Gallery, part of the Art Students League's Vytlacil campus, and continues through November 30, 2013. Dorfman will deliver a talk in the gallery on November 20, at 6 p.m. Below is a gallery of the seventeen pieces in the exhibition.[portfolio_slideshow width="636" height="500" id="21318"]
Bruce Dorfman, The Italian Kimono, 2003–13. Canvas, paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 72½ x 74 x 4 in. Bruce Dorfman, Molly Bloom, 2012. Canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 66 x 47 x 6 in. Bruce Dorfman, Vivaldi’s Point, 2002–13. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 9½ x 12 in. Bruce Dorfman, Time Now, 2005. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 23½ x 16 in. Bruce Dorfman, Story of Yellow, 2011. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 23 x 20 in. Bruce Dorfman, Blue Name, 2005. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 15½ x 12 in. Bruce Dorfman, Slinger, 2009. Paper, fabric, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 22 x 17 in. Bruce Dorfman, Green Pin, 2007. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 12 x 12 in. Bruce Dorfman, Terra Cotta White, 2007. Paper, fabric, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 24 x 17½ in. Bruce Dorfman, Over and Threw, 2010. Paper, fabric, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 18 x 22½ in. Bruce Dorfman, Once and Now, 2009. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 20 x 13 in. Bruce Dorfman, Obi, 2009. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 11 x 15 in. Bruce Dorfman, Song One, 2004. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 18 x 17 in. Bruce Dorfman, Blue Gust, 2004. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 20 in. round. Bruce Dorfman, Gust, 2004. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 20 in. round. Bruce Dorfman, Gathered Gift, 2005. Paper, metal, wood, acrylic, and gouache, 15 x 10 in. Bruce Dorfman, Frejus, 2003. Paper, metal, acrylic, and gouache, 14½ x 10½ in.
[post_title] => Bruce Dorfman: The Italian Kimono [post_excerpt] => The Italian Kimono: Selected Works 2003–2013 is an exhibition of seventeen mixed media works by Bruce Dorfman, who this year marks his fiftieth year teaching at the Art Students League. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-at-vytlacil [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-01 11:46:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-01 15:46:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5596 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2013-07-05 16:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-05 20:00:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_5599" align="aligncenter" width="660"]june kelly gallery Bruce Dorfman, Bernini’s Dream, 2011. Combined mediums, 60 x 60 x 6 in.[/caption] Bruce Dorfman is now represented by the June Kelly Gallery (166 Mercer St, New York, NY). [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => june-kelly-gallery [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 10:41:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-28 14:41:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5034 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2013-06-10 10:23:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-10 14:23:14 [post_content] =>

watson library

A 2008 catalogue of Bruce Dorfman's artwork, Bruce Dorfman: Propellor is now part of the holdings of the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman at the Watson Library [post_excerpt] => A 2008 catalogue of Bruce Dorfman's artwork, Bruce Dorfman: Propellor is now part of the holdings of the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => watson-library [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-18 15:53:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-18 19:53:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [16] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4473 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2013-05-07 10:00:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-07 14:00:14 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_4637" align="alignright" width="246"]Bruce Dorfman, art classes instructor, Molly Bloom, 2012 Bruce Dorfman, Molly Bloom, 2012.
Canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 66 x 47 x 6 in.[/caption] Ira Goldberg: I have to ask you about these two pieces here: Molly Bloom and Teyjat. These are recent? Bruce Dorfman: They are very recent. What I see is a wedding of the old, where you have tonal variations of most of the dominant color and the lack of the specific, hard-edged border, compared with the new stuff that has that same cohesive quality. You have been working for decades on this cohesion of color, and yet you lose the border. Have you found some sort of happy medium? In my recent works, I wanted to see if they could be taken to the brink of disorganization, without a loss of coherence. There is a kind of an informed intuition that I trust to drive my art. Did you determine that direction when you did these others? Yes. I was working with that concept. I really wanted to see if I could create a large image of a fragment and use whatever materials came to hand as needed, as long as the work could be made technically durable. I have been wanting to see how far I could take the uses of any necessary materials, including large, heavy deckled papers, metals and anything else without the whole thing collapsing. I’d done that in small pieces. I wanted to do it in large pieces. [caption id="attachment_4652" align="alignleft" width="201"]Bruce Dorfman, art classes instructor, Teyjat, 2012 Bruce Dorfman, Teyjat, 2012. Combined media, 65 x 38 x 4 in. overall.[/caption] Do you feel you did that in the three-dimensional, freestanding pieces? Those works represent an ongoing and underlying issue that has always disturbed me a lot. It strikes me that much of what has happened with modernist painting is that a lot of really great wine has been created by new winemakers with brushes and whatever tools they have. But the bottle itself, the window-related rectangular painting, remains constant, traditional and convenient. I think it must be possible to get a coherent bottle that’s also personal. This is an idea that just doesn’t go away for me. That three-dimensional piece was about that. But I don’t think it fulfilled itself. I don’t think I ever got that. There have been four such pieces. The other three are gone now. I have the remaining one that was on exhibition at the league. These recent pieces do have a lot to do with that, although there is something about these works that still hasn’t happened. There is something that is needed. I think the problem with this is—and I’ve done a lot of thinking about it lately—that there is sort of a synthesis of not accepting a conventional spatial boundary. You must have felt that you went beyond your comfort level. Perhaps. But creation is never ever comfortable. There is something that’s happening, and it’s partly psychological. There are certain very personal things that I have been able to achieve and give expression to. I don’t want those things to disappear, so what I am involved with at this point is an effort to gain a synthesis and to bring all of it together somehow, without compromising any of it. It should be possible to orchestrate my work to get this thing all together. [caption id="attachment_4651" align="alignright" width="321"] Bruce Dorfman, Sung Red, 2012. Combined media, 57 x 48 x 6 in. overall.[/caption]
What drove you in this direction? The passage of time. My life to this point. Your work, one can easily say, is very personal. There is no mistaking a Bruce Dorfman. You can look at the work and, immediately, you know exactly who did it. This is what so many artists strive for: a personal signature. It is not an easy thing to do. One has to release oneself from trying to do it. The moment one tries to, one falls into a pattern. When one wants to create just for the sake of creating, there’s not enough drive behind it to make it function. You have found a harmony of color, a way of expressing yourself that bears an elegance in what you do. And you found it early on and maintained that for a long time. It has sustained you. Yet, in conversations we’ve had, I felt you needed to break out of a pattern, to go into another realm. I think some of the other realm occurred in the three-dimensional piece. Satisfying or not, you had to go back to something that was on a two-dimensional plane, even though it was heavily textural and broke up the normal pattern of color. Is that accurate? Somewhat, yes. I think a crucial variable that I’ve always been reaching around for, since the 1960s, has been the spatial variable: how to orchestrate the things that I love visually, the things that I need to see at any given time, in relationship to some sort of achievement with respect to created, visual space. The notion of such a space as a necessary aspect of what one does has been crucial to me. To make it as distinctive as the other aspects of what one is doing has caused a lot of changes in the emphases in my work over the years. I try, to the extent that I can, to reassure my students, fellow artists, and colleagues when I hear them becoming disturbed about the processes that their art involves and about their lives in art. I had the good fortune of being reassured by my family from a very early age that what I had to say, and my perception of beauty, was valuable. My father and mother were very validating in that regard. There was an ongoing reassurance that there was something important about each person, including me. I was led to believe that the things that I loved to see, that I loved to look at, and that I favored, were valuable and important. That was always there and remains there. In my view, one’s strengths are incredibly important. That’s where people should go, not to their weaknesses, not to the things they have the greatest difficulties with unless, for some reason, they must. So, if they love red, they should look at red. And they should express everything they can about red, and red in relationship to whatever else that is valuable and important because it is a preference. It is a choice. Choice is utterly distinctive. Like a fingerprint. It is what one is close to, what one can relate to. And then it becomes a question of how well one gives expression to that and what can one do with that. It’s not just a matter of throwing it out there, and you know, I love red, so here’s red. It becomes a question of what you have to say about red that is distinctive, that belongs to you, that you love. It is the song you sing and the way you sing it. [caption id="attachment_4639" align="alignleft" width="253"] Bruce Dorfman, Windsock, 2009. Combined media, 64 x 47 x 3 in. overall.[/caption] And that makes it visually poetic. It does. I believe this can take place very early on, if there is that kind of validation, if it is what one admires and chooses and selects creatively. People’s creative expressions of preferences really need to be validated, paid attention to and responded to. There is a tendency, on the other hand, for people who are in positions of authority to pay too much attention to what people are having difficulty with, or feel disinclined to do. There may be reasons for that, and that’s not my business. It turns out people do have strengths, things that they love very much, that they are very concerned about. The problem is getting them not to fret about the things they think they should be doing. We are not talking about moral issues now; we’re talking about creative issues. The emphasis should always be on the individual’s strengths and a clear expression of those strengths. From time to time, I listened to people about things that I couldn’t relate or respond to well. I was being told by those people who were in those positions of authority that I should relate to these things and that I should be able to do this or that. That this or that was essential. Somehow that didn’t interest me at all. So I would place myself somewhere else. A lot of that validation, by the way, didn’t just come from my home; it came from my time at the Art Students League. [caption id="attachment_4649" align="alignright" width="270"] Bruce Dorfman, Aria (One), 2005. Combined media, 68 x 38 x 3 in.[/caption] That’s what we do. Which is wonderful. You can risk being right. You can risk being wrong. What’s the role of metaphor in your work? I came from a kind of figuration, which I was involved with during the 1960s. I recently re-hung the last of the figurative pieces that I did. It is that piece hanging right over there. You’ll see the figuration in it. That is Aria (One), actually completed and exhibited in 2005. Do you feel that the juxtaposition of three forms, well-placed on a surface, has the same kind of power as metaphor to convey a sense of art? Yes, if that artist is able to communicate an underlying understanding of what he, or she, is doing. If the terms are discernible and clear and reach a complete level of fulfillment on that page or that canvas, I don’t see any difference at all. If I am involved with the shape of a leg, then I am responding to that beautiful thing over there. I am translating it when I get it onto that paper. It has some relationship to what it is about that I am seeing over there that I really like a lot. I’m not putting anything onto that page that I am not interested in or I don’t like seeing. I want to see it the way I want to see it. So, I’ll take that leg, and I’ll take as much of what she’s got over there that is really beautiful and important to me, and express that as well and as clearly as I can. As I go along with that, from piece to piece to piece to piece, I clarify those concerns, increasingly, from one piece to another. There is no formula for this. I ask, “What is needed here?” The ability to recognize that must be acquired through a lot of study and practice. I suppose that’s true. But not necessarily. I’m rotten spoiled in that way. From the time I was maybe four or five years old, I was looking at art with people around me who were very comforting and assuring. It was no problem for me to look at something from other places and get it in terms of its total configuration. I understand that. The question is, then, how does one impart this to people who are in their twenties, or are middle-aged, or have MFAs, and they’ve been drilled and drilled and drilled and drilled. They have no idea what they want. They’ve just been drilled and drilled. I find it very disconcerting when I’m sitting with somebody who’s in their mid-twenties and they’ve been everywhere and they’ve studied with every teacher you can think of, and you ask them, “What is it you prefer to draw a line with?” They have no idea. “Well,” they answer, “I use charcoal.” I ask, “How come? Why?” Well, maybe it’s because the paleolithic humans used charcoal on cave walls. I think there is a drive or necessity to connect with our creative origins. That is an interesting idea. But what is it that those people did? And which of those people, where? Just what was that “charcoal”? But this is not about working. This is not about creating. It’s about the image of creating. This is what we keep getting caught up in. You see, going to your strengths is really a very natural approach to doing anything. Knowing what you’re good at and holding to it. There is a flip side to that, which is a kind of romantic idea or an image of doing what you can’t do, of breaking out of what you feel is a limitation. Should one have no limitations? Because, if you are really a great artist, you should be able do anything. [caption id="attachment_4650" align="alignleft" width="259"]Bruce Dorfman, art classes instructor, Yellow Russet Drop (Nora), 2007. Bruce Dorfman, Yellow Russet Drop (Nora), 2007.  Combined media, 48 x 30 x 3 in.[/caption] I don’t think going to your strengths is at all natural. It seems to me that more than frequently, individuals are constantly reminded about what they are “just not cut out for.” I really believe that, as an Artist, I cannot, and do not want to, do everything and anything. I choose not to. Where I make a choice about something I must discover, use or invent a relevant way to express that choice. I think that an artist is someone who, in any kind of aesthetic realm, might be able to try everything but doesn’t. Try to find a drawing in graphite by Rembrandt. Michelangelo could have painted like Malevich, except for some sort of conceptual issue.The ability to do that—with the passage of time, going to your strengths—I think that, unless you’re imitating yourself, your strengths keep changing. They keep clarifying. The emphases within those strengths keep shifting, and so you keep going and you find out more. In the doing of that, one has to come up with ways to create those clarifications. So, existing techniques are useful only to the extent that they actually are. To the extent that they are not, one has to come up with new ones. I think every artist has done that somehow. There is nothing that’s formulaic, unless it’s academic. There was a point when I had a tremendous amount of confusion about where I was going with my use of the figure. I loved working with the specific image of the female figure. I received just as much favorable attention when that was happening. I loved the delineation of the female form in space; however, what that space should be or could be was never clear to me. I saw it in Eastern terms initially. I would have a figure in an open space, with no accoutrements. Then, it was largely linear with some color. It was a latter day Pascin kind of thing with more vibrant color. Then, as this idea about needing to have a personal space, a more personal bottle to put this drink in, kept evolving, I found that the delineation somehow limited what I was able to do with the space. I wondered if there was some way of carrying those feelings about the female figure forward into my painting in translation, so that the delineation wouldn’t be there, but everything else would be. That work over there resembles what happened. You must have found it very liberating. In some sense yes, but there is something that I miss about it, that I feel very nostalgic about. Every time I work, even with these pieces, I’m always thinking about the possibility of inserting this linear image and how unlikely that will be of happening. I’ll tell you a secret. You’re probably the only person I ever mentioned this to. Every time any of these get done, I keep thinking there must be a way that I can bring this thing that I feel strongly about, into it, without confusing the levels of abstraction so that it makes sense. [caption id="attachment_4638" align="alignright" width="336"] Bruce Dorfman, Odessa, 2012. Combined media, 58 x 59 x 5 in. overall.[/caption] Yes, one I recall has a horizontal figure. Yes, there was a white one with a barely discernible figure shifting out of two or three positions. It was slipped into a solo show in 2005 while I was with Kouros Gallery. There was also a very sensual quality about it. This is a very complicated thing. While work went that way, there was something, a boundary, an amalgam of different levels of abstraction that simply didn’t permit me the expression of visual concerns that I had to have. I couldn’t figure out how to open it up. I had an exhibition of such pieces at the New School in the 1980s. I felt that all these pieces had multiple images and shifting physical planes. I felt that they were filled with compromise. It wasn’t this and it wasn’t that. There has also been a thing with me that something should be very committed. It shouldn’t be both this and measure for measure. To get to a place that can take you beyond the normal boundaries is a challenge. You cannot have conflict between something that you want to identify as the subject of the piece and the idea of the piece being self-evident. Well, let’s put it this way: The greatest art has no identity. I understand that it does carry the artist’s identity. The goal here is to be rid of any anchor, an adherence to some idea that represents you. At the same time, it does not represent art in the way that you really intend it to be. I still believe a reconciliation is possible. Either I haven’t been able to figure that out or I am unwilling to give expression to reconciliation. I am concerned about the juxtaposition of different levels of reality, or abstraction, and any expression of uncertainty that may bring on. A big problem is the expression of insufficient commitment to a given level of abstraction or representation. This is really bothering me. I could easily get into that open section of red there and have a head in profile. That makes no sense at all. But then, art doesn’t eventually. Like a lot of other people I’m a big fan of Rembrandt, I love that universe that he created. There is a self-portrait he did in his fifties or sixties. He’s standing there, and there’s an open space next to him, and in that open space there’s this large circular line. A lot of my paintings have that line. Now that line is directly lifted from Rembrandt. It is. Maybe ninety percent of what I’ve done references that line. Now, what the hell was that line about? Did it actually represent anything? It doesn’t matter. It makes perfect sense. In that painting it makes perfect sense. There’s no problem with that line. It doesn’t matter what it is. So, I’m thinking ideally, it must be possible. I mean, Rembrandt did it. It was possible for him to join something that was understood conceptually with something else, something that he needed to see. He also needed to take that into translation and make a statement about it. It must be possible. I am endlessly concerned with this and have this problem. [caption id="attachment_4636" align="alignright" width="320"]Bruce Dorfman, art classes instructor, Enso, 2011 Bruce Dorfman, Enso, 2011. Combined media, 64 x 61 x 6 in. overall.[/caption] I don’t understand what the problem is. The reconciliation of different levels of abstraction in a single work. In everything I’ve done, for decades now, the figure has been omitted. But, actually, only ostensibly. It is actually there by sensation, by feeling. That arrow in the yellow piece is something that you repeat frequently also. Yeah, that also comes up. But that is much more of an abstraction than the silhouette of a figure. Once you’ve got the silhouette of a figure or anything that is figurative, you’re taking people someplace else. To be part of this experience without the expression of compromise has been a huge problem to me. I have not been able to solve it. I see other people try to do it, including some people that you and I both like very much, professionally and personally. When I look, I see something very well done, and I also see compromise. I see an unwillingness to choose between this or that. It is sort of this, and it is sort of that. And it’s very nice for everybody. But isn’t it possible somehow to get these things wed? The major issue is that there is connectivity to spiritual experience. Thank you for calling it spiritual. You see that image in the 1970 work? Look inside that circle. We’re looking at an earlier catalogue of yours, of a work from around 1970, a much earlier time. That’s how long this effort has been going on. That’s a circular piece on canvas with wooden arcs, large wooden arcs that hinge to the side of it. There is a female image in there; worked into the space, but then it all but disappears. Yes, it took a while, but yes, I do see it. That is the point….non-congruent, but reconciled and orchestrated elements. There is a figure in there, but I don’t know that it is congruous to the structure. Exactly. Suggestion: You might be able to fulfill your statement with nothing more than that arc. You might be able to say something about the figure with nothing more than that arc. That would be perfect. That is what became the ideal. All the sensuality, all of the eroticism, all of the love, all of the romance, all of it would have to go under these lines and shapes and colors and so forth. I think that’s the metaphor you’re talking about. Yes.   ♦ [post_title] => Bruce Dorfman: An Interview [post_excerpt] => "In my view, one’s strengths are incredibly important. That’s where people should go, not to their weaknesses, not to the things they have the greatest difficulties with unless, for some reason, they must." —Bruce Dorfman [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => bruce-dorfman-interview-art-classes-in-nyc [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-01 11:44:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-01 15:44:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3597 [post_author] => 28 [post_date] => 2013-03-25 06:00:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-03-25 11:00:58 [post_content] => A studio is a meeting place between heaven and earth. It is all good. My studio is located in Tribeca. I've been in this studio since 2009. I work usually from late morning on. [portfolio_slideshow width=636 height=500 id=21210]
The Studio of Bruce Dorfman
[post_title] => The Studio Project | Bruce Dorfman [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-studio-project-bruce-dorfman-art-journaling [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-21 07:00:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-21 12:00:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [18] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3779 [post_author] => 28 [post_date] => 2013-03-24 15:38:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-03-24 19:38:06 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_3865" align="alignright" width="365"]piero della francesca frick collection Piero della Francesca (1411/13–1492), 
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, c. 1460-70, detail. 
Oil (and tempera?) transferred to fabric on panel, 
42.4 x 30.9 inches
. ©The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.[/caption] Once upon a summertime, a long time ago, a young man entered a chapel. The chapel he entered was in Italy, in a hill-town called Arezzo. This was a modest chapel indeed, in a modest church, that of San Francesco. A lovely soft light was there. Everything around the young man dissolved completely in the presence of the beauty of the art of Piero. How the young artist felt, thought, lived would be changed forever. Many years later during wintertime, an older artist was invited to join a small group of people in a large city called New York. They had come to look at some seven paintings gathered on the walls of an intimate circular room at the end of a central rotunda in a splendid museum that had once been a mansion. The museum is The Frick Collection. Everything around the artist dissolved completely in the presence of the beauty of these seven paintings of Piero della Francesca. How the older artist felt, thought, and lived had been changed forever. One morning, between the two times, the artist was bicycling his way to teach at an esteemed summer school in the Catskill Mountains of New York named the Art Students League. Along the way, he stopped, as a few times before, for orange juice and coffee at the home of a friendly and wonderful artist named Philip Guston. Over toast, Guston opened his mail and expounded on the wonders of Piero della Francesca, his beloved Italian Renaissance painter. Quite recently, several years ago, the artist (myself) received a postcard from the eminent artist and writer Brian O’Doherty. Following a few salutations and brief evaluations, the note ended this way: “Ah! Piero’s the man for me too. All the best.” At the present time, through May 19, 2013, it will be possible to have the rare experience of being able to visit, in America, the great beauty of some seven works by Piero della Francesca at The Frick Collection (a lovely, quiet place). Six of the works are from American public collections. One work is from Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon. Much of Piero’s life and travels are matters of quiet conjecture. In a sense, he was what might be called today an independent or an artist’s artist. His identity and the character of his art were not centered on the artistic and political pressures of Florence, Siena, and Rome. In general, if one were to see him or his art, that would have been in Arezzo or Urbino or Rimini or Ferrara or in his hometown and birthplace, Sansepolcro. He was always a Tuscan at heart, literally living on the edge of Umbria. Surely, that special place contributed to Piero’s independent mindset and as an enabling freedom to create his distinctive art. There are—somehow—aspects of Piero’s personal life that may be slightly more known. He was probably born in Borgo San Sepolcro and he died there. His date of birth was probably sometime between 1412 and 1420. He passed away, blind, on or about October 12–14, 1492 (a date and year we in America remember for other reasons). [caption id="attachment_3876" align="alignleft" width="364"]piero della francesca frick collection Piero della Francesca (1411/13–1492), 
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, c. 1460-70. 
Oil (and tempera?) transferred to fabric on panel, 
42.4 x 30.9 inches. 
©The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.[/caption] Piero’s only formal studies, as an apprentice, were with a very local artist, one Antonio di Giovanni d’Anghiari. Somehow, he and the artist Domenico Veneziano found their way to Florence in 1439. There he assisted with frescoes at Santa Maria Nuova. Those frescoes are now lost. Piero returned home to Sansepolcro. Several excellent commissions followed in nearby cordial and accepting hill towns like Rimini and Urbino with their respectable dukes and duchesses. Ever onward, sometime around 1450 or so, Piero painted a large fresco at the Vatican Palace in Rome, which Pope Julius II ordered painted over and replaced by the ever-popular Raphael, whose art has since occupied that same spot. Piero della Francesca again returned to the hills, this time to the town of Arezzo. The art, the frescoes of Piero della Francesca at the Church of San Francesco at Arezzo, are all around the basilica. Completed around 1456, they are among the very greatest and most beautiful of the great wonders of this world (beyond the Sphinx and the Panama Canal and the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls). They are what the young man saw at the start of this essay. A few years back, Italian art authorities were attempting restoration work on some portions of the fresco cycle. I was honored to be invited onto the scaffolding to see the stunning Piero work from only inches away. I wanted to feel and believe that the fellow quietly standing next to me was Piero…or that I was. Timelessness and love of art became the same thing. Colors, spaces, shapes and—yes—Piero’s blue. That blue. Never mind a scaffold, you can see it too. Be good to yourself. Go there, to Arezzo. If it seems that you cannot, then there are, at least, reproductions. They are plentiful in books and on the Web. (Don’t try to remember seeing them in the background of a five-second shot during The English Patient.) [caption id="attachment_3849" align="alignright" width="364"]piero della francesca frick collection Piero della Francesca (1411/13–1492), Saint Apollonia, 1454–1469. 
Oil and tempera on poplar panel
, 15.3 x 11 inches
. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.[/caption] Now we have arrived at 2013 and The Frick Collection has somehow made it possible to experience some of the joy of Piero della Francesca, close at hand and close up. However improbable, this is the first and only time that an exhibition of Piero has taken place in America. All seven works in this exhibition were created for his hometown, Borgo San Sepolcro.As is always the case with Piero, the art, the visual and emotional experience of it, is there right away. No anecdotes, texts, historical perspectives, or knowledge of religious wherewithals are necessary; the art is accessible first as art. The rest, the ostensible subject matter can come later, if one wishes for or needs it. It is as though, on some deeper level of feeling and understanding, that is finally the nature of art; not picture-making, not illustration, not merely artistic. Dissertations on Piero and the device of Italian linear perspective do not suffice. For Piero, there is no point in trying to get to Saint Apollonia without encountering the art first.Color, composed space, picture plane integrity, the needed alterations to direct observation, visual idealism, the presence of a created object; these aspects are all there right away. Whatever the “subject” line, Piero never permits it to interfere with the sheer elegance and beauty of his art. His Saint Apollonia is actually holding a tooth! The late art historian Roy Sieber once said to me that he believed that for Piero della Francesca, what the subject was finally about was an excuse or rationale for creating art leading to a deeper, more ideal experience. Have a look at a profile, the shape and color of a garment, the arrangements and composition and values of colors (including the sometimes application of leaf into shapes), the abstract overlay of shape over foot in Saint John the Evangelist, the location of reds in The Crucifixion. No imposed liturgy, theatricality or melodrama here; just the drama of art, fulfilling itself in its own terms. As with all of Piero’s work, there is no distraction or fascination caused by the individualization of facial imagery. They are completely idealized, of one configuration, all from one family. Once again, beautiful. Now keep looking at everything. Through all of this, the beauty with which Piero sings his song, the song itself, the many meanings of his art, are felt and grasped. Access to the art itself is made possible, directly.  In our time, the art of Piero della Francesca is truly loved and admired. During the past one hundred or so years, with the advent of travelling quickly with ease, and during some intermittent peaceful years, the Tuscan and Umbrian hill towns and their art were rediscovered by some and also discovered by many others. Piero’s art and its spirit were taken to heart by many, many artists of newer generations. So, here was an artist (from the Italian Renaissance, no less) who was about what we are about! That young artist mentioned at the earliest part of this writing, not long after that early journey, rented a small studio in this New York City, on the Lower East Side. He chatted with older and very wise artists who easily and openly expressed their gratitude for Piero’s legacy. And he never forgot what he continued to hear later, over orange juice, toast, coffee and mail during a bicycle ride to teach at the Art Students League one summer morning in the mountains of New York. Piero’s spirit resides in the spaces of so many artists’ studios and art. Piero helped to clarify the nature of art—art as art—whatever else it may also be doing. Go see Piero della Francesca in America at The Frick Collection. It is at 1 East 70th Street, any or all of six days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays. It is also possible to catch a glimpse here. And if you can, also go to Arezzo. [post_title] => Piero della Francesca in America [post_excerpt] => Much of Piero’s life and travels are matters of quiet conjecture. In a sense, he was what might be called today an independent or an artist’s artist. His identity and the character of his art were not centered on the artistic and political pressures of Florence, Siena, and Rome. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => piero-della-francesca-frick-collection [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-26 09:52:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-26 13:52:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )