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Thomas Nozkowski: Drawings

Untitled (Y-15) 1982
oil on paper
22 1/4 x 29 7/8 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch Gallery, New York

Thomas Nozkowski’s is an extraordinary presence among contemporary artists. As Barry Schwabsky puts it in his essay at this site, he is “one of the most quietly influential painters on the New York scene over the past two decades.” An artist spoken of with reverence and affection by numerous fellow practitioners, his influence, especially on younger abstract painters, is substantial. But, as Schwabsky notes, he does not enjoy the trappings of success in the forms of “retrospectives in major museums, glossy hardbound coffee table monographs, auction block records and so on.” We concur with Schwabsky’s view that “the one career that counts” is the “the progress of discovery and invention that occurs in the studio” (a sentiment which accords with an unofficial motto of the Studio School: “Ambition for the work, not the career”) but it is nonetheless to the detriment of the American artworld that a major museum has not yet attempted a comprehensive overview of Nozkowski’s quarter-century of high and singular achievement as an abstract painter. It is an enormous privilege for the New York Studio School to mount the first full-scale career retrospective of Nozkowski’s works on paper.

Our first debt, therefore, is to Thomas Nozkowski himself. Tom personally selected this show from his own extensive archive of drawings. Thanks also go to the artist’s wife, Joyce Robins, for many kindnesses, and to Sid Sachs, who organized an important mini retrospective of drawings at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, in 2000, who was especially encouraging at an early stage in the planning of our show. In addition, we would like to thank Max Protetch and Josie Browne of Max Protetch Gallery for their considerable efforts on behalf of this project. We thank Barry Schwabsky for his thoughtful essay, and James Hyde and Alexander Ross for their forthcoming contribution dialogue on the exhibition.

This splendid website is the second designed for the School’s gallery program by Maurice Peterson, and we are delighted to acknowledge his inspiration and generosity. Meg Crane and John Menge of Ponzi and Weill were responsible for the design of the distinctive invitation card. As always, the exhibition would not have happened without the dedication of the gallery crew, under their captain Jessica E. Smith, which on this occasion included Lucy Green, Suzanne Guppy, Erin Koch, Michael Meehan and Jen Wechsler.

Graham Nickson

David Cohen
Gallery Director

Press Release


Essay: The Source of the Nile by Barry Schwabsky



A Flatland of Forms, Art in America

Abstraction in the Everyday, Art on Paper

Art in Review: Thomas Nozkowski, The New York Times, by Roberta Smith

Snapshots From NYSS

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