The Masters: Art Students League Instructors and Their Students

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The Masters: Art Students League Instructors and Their Students
An installation view of The Masters in the Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, Art Students League of New York. All photography: Ed Watkins

A three-venue exhibition in collaboration with Hirschl & Adler Galleries and 511 Projects, The Masters celebrates the contribution of the Art Students League teachers and students from the late nineteenth century through the present. Paintings by modernist masters including William Merritt Chase, Isabel Bishop, Elizabeth Catlett, George Tooker, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Charles Alston, Will Barnet, Dorothy Dehner, and Louise Nevelson are on view at Hirschl & Adler. A collection of works on paper by Romare Bearden, George Bridgman, Stuart Davis, Louise Bourgeois, and Paul Jenkins, among others, can be seen at 511 Projects in Chelsea. 

The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery presents works form the last years of the twentieth century through today. These include past and present teachers Frederick Brosen (student of Seong Moy), Bruce Dorfman (student of Yasuo Kuniyoshi), Naomi Campbell (student of Nelson Shanks), Bob Cenedella (student of George Grosz), Stephen Greene (student of Morris Kantor), Ronnie Landfield (student of Stephen Greene), Pat Lipsky (student of Charles Alston), Knox Martin (student of Morris Kantor), Cornelia Foss, Richard Pousette-Dart), Zhang Hongtu (student of Richard Pousette-Dart), Abby Leigh (student of Will Barnet), and Susan Weil (student of Morris Kantor).

masters exhibition art students league

William Scharf, To a Raised Place, 1995–2010,
acrylic on canvas, 65 x 32 in.
Courtesy of the Estate of William Scharf

masters exhibition art students league

Richard Poutsette-Dart, Within a Groove, 1978,
ink and acrylic on paper, 29 x 22 in.
Courtsey of The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation

masters exhibition art students league

Pat Lipsky, Springs Fireplace, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 62 3/4 x 94 in.
Courtesy of the artist

masters exhibition art students league

Robert Cenedella, George Grosz in America, 1973,
oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Naomi Campbell, Sensations from the "Bread and Circuses" series, 2017,
glass, metal, wire, variable dimensions.

masters exhibition art students league

Susan Weil, Swimmers, 2012,
acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Ronnie Landfield, Lady Grey, 1971,
acrylic on canvas, 90 x 52 1/2 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Bruce Dorfman, Enso, 2011,
canvas, metal, paper, acrylic, 29 x 22 in.

masters exhibition art students league

James Rosenquist, The Color of Intellect, 1999,
flexography on cut paper on fabric, 51 x 48 1/4 x 1 1/2 (stretcher size).
Private collection

masters exhibition art students league

Cornelia Foss, Karen Wilken, 2006,
oil on canvas, 30 x 30 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Frederick Brosen, Along the Boardwalk, 2017,
watercolor and graphite on paper, 19 x 14 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Knox Martin, Reclining Woman II, 2007,
oil on linen, 23 x 32 in. ©Knox Martin/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

masters exhibition art students league

Abby Leigh, Blue Angel, 2018,
pigment, oil and wax on dibond, 50 x 50 in.

masters exhibition art students league

James Little, Checkered Republic, 2017,
raw pigment on canvas, 33 1/2 x 41 in.

masters exhibition art students league

Zhang Hongtu, A Walking Man, 1985,
acrylic on canvas, 52 x 62 in.
Permanent Collection, The Art Students League of New York

The student-instructor pairings on view in this gallery illustrate that students did not directly carry on a teacher’s philosophy. Rather, the informal exchange of ideas enabled by the League’s atelier structure, encouraged students to internalize the principles of art-making and pursue their own direction. The League’s artistic lineage, which represents a loose network rather than a straight chronology, had an extensive influence on the development of American art. Two conceptual works, Naomi Campbell’s Sensations (Bread and Circuses Series), which examines the social and political implications of genetically engineered foods (particularly the corn kernel), and Gary Hill’s Site Recite (A Prologue), which features natural objects such as bones, skulls, and butter flies, grapple, more broadly, with the impact of lineages and lifecycles.

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