David Park: A Retrospective

Exhibition Website

Apr 11 2020 - Sep 7 2020


David Park: A Retrospective is the first major museum exhibition in more than 30 years to present the powerfully expressive work of David Park (1911-1960), best known as the founder of Bay Area Figurative art. 

In the immediate postwar years, Park, like many avant-garde American artists, engaged with Abstract Expressionism and painted non-objectively. In a moment of passion, he made the radical decision to abandon nearly all of his abstract canvases at an East Bay dump. In 1950, he returned to the human figure, in so doing marking the beginning of the Bay Area Figurative movement. 

Organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, David Park: A Retrospective traces the full arc of the artist’s career, from his early social realist and cubist-inspired efforts of the 1930s to his mature figurative paintings of the 1950s and his astounding final works on paper.


Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Image: David Park, Four Men, 1958/ oil on canvas 57 in. x 92 in.Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Purchase, with funds from an anonymous donor 

 

Whether or not you go, the generously-illustrated exhibition catalog, David Park: A Retrospective, is the first comprehensive publication devoted to the powerfully expressive work of David Park (1911–60). It traces the full arc of the artist’s career, from his early social realist and cubist-inspired efforts of the 1930s to his mature figurative paintings of the 1950s and his astounding final works on paper. An overview of Park’s full body of work by Janet Bishop, SFMOMA’s Thomas Weisel Family Curator of Painting and Sculpture, will be joined by approximately ninety full-color plates of paintings and works on paper; an essay by Tara McDowell on the figure drawing sessions held by Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Frank Lobdell, and others in their studios starting in 1953; short essays on Park’s scroll, his gouaches, and the portraits that Imogen Cunningham and Park made of each other; and an illustrated chronology. 

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