February 20, 2020
February 20, 2020

Far from the madding crowd, at 211 East 121st Street in Manhattan, one may find "George Hofmann," at David Richard (through February 28). These eleven canvases, though done between 2008 and 2010, still have an airy freshness that renders them welcome to our jaded town.

Actually, I'd seen most of them when I visited Hofmann in 2009. At that time, he was living in Albany. I only wrote about this visit in a special supplement that I was publishing at that time for my print edition subscribers. Herewith I give an abbreviated version of that report. I apologize to my print edition subscribers for repeating myself, but maybe after ten years they won't remember what I wrote all that well anyway.

Hofmann had moved to Albany from New York City to be with Patty Ross, an Albany-based arts administrator whom he'd met while serving successively as an arts administrator himself at the Triangle Artists' Workshop and the Francis J. Greenberger Foundation, founder of the Art Omi artists' workshop in Ghent, NY.

This was only the final phase of Hofmann's long and distinguished career as an art teacher and arts administrator. Earlier, he had taught printmaking, painting and/or drawing at C.W. Post on Long Island, then at Pratt, and finally at Hunter College in Manhattan, from which he retired from a full professorship in 2002.

He had originally applied for a job at Post because Jules Olitski was teaching there, and he so much admired Olitski. He'd only seen Olitski's work in reproduction while he himself was studying art in what was then West Germany (as the child of German immigrants to the U.S., he speaks German fluently). Since he was particularly skilled in printmaking, and Olitski wanted to learn printmaking, he had little trouble landing the job at Post.

It was during this period, in the early '60s, that he also saw work by Noland, Louis and Frankenthaler – and met Clement Greenberg. Olitski had left C.W. Post to teach at Bennington, and a new chapter in Hofmann's life began. In his VW, he would pick up a) 5-gallon cans of Magna from Leonard Bocour's paint factory in Manhattan, and b)Greenberg, then drive both paint & critic up to Olitski & Co. in Bennington.

As Ross has died, and Hofmann has family in Washington, DC, he has since relocated there. He has an apartment on Connecticut Avenue with a spare bedroom to paint in.

He's had many solo exhibitions over the years, and I've covered a handful of them in this column. The only thing I can say with certainty is that every show has been and I'm sure will continue to be different. Hofmann is a man of many moods, but the current show, with its pale, seemingly impulsive series of washes looks particularly good in the handsome and expansive space of the David Richard Gallery.

"Is This the Blue of the Aegean?" is especially winsome, with its large, slanting area of deep blue on the left played off against lighter sweeps of pink and aqua on the right

George Hofmann, Is This the Blue of the Aegean?, 2008-09. Acrylic on linen, 40 x 32". Artwork © George Hofmann. Courtesy of David Richard Gallery. Photo by Yao Zu Lu

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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