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Peter Dean
One More Time (Black Devil) Outsider Art Painting, Drawing

1983

$1,400

About

Dean was born in 1934 of Jewish parents in a Berlin, Germany, that was falling prey to the Nazis. The family immigrated to New York City in 1938, and Dean was raised in the refugee community in Inwood. Dean's first show (ironically, in retrospect) was given him by the USIA in Brazil. In 1959, he returned to New York to work six months on, six months off in soil engineering and made art in the interims. He tried, and failed, to get into a Tenth Street Gallery. Studying painting at night with Andre Girard at City College pushed him over the edge, and in 1969 he committed himself to painting full time. Artists who impressed him in the '60s were Robert Beauchamp, Lester Johnson, Jan Muller and Robert Thompson. Dean became visible in New York in the mid '60s when Minimal art seemed to best express the zeitgeist - oddly, since it was a period when even the artworld was swept up in a counter-cultural fervor. In 1965 he was a co-founder of the "Torque" group, which he named after a dream. The members included Joseph Kurhajec, Peter Saul, and Leon Golub. In 1969 Dean co-founded another group, the iconoclastic Rhino Horn, which included Peter Pasuntino, Nick Sperakis, Benny Andrews, Leonel Gongora, Ken Bowman. , Mike Feuerbach, and sometimes, Jay Milder and Red Grooms. This socially critical expressionist outpost, with its unashamedly phallic intentions (the rhinoceros horn) considered an aphrodisiac, did not succeed in penetrating the Minimal/Conceptual strongholds, but it did raise the temperature of the art against the Vietnam war. The group lasted amazingly long, despite the occasional intramural punch out, coming apart in 1975, when the war was over and the elusive, pluralist, and cooled-out '70s began in earnest. Toward the end of the decade, Dean came into his own when "new image" painting, the "East Village scene," and then European neo-expressionism were riding the high horses into the '80s and his own exuberant, raucous style became palatable again. Dean is truly an expressionist. He has something to express other than mere style. But he is also what used to be called a "painter's painter." Although Dean's style is often compared to that of James Ensor and the Fauves, sometimes it seems closer to the deadly masquerades of Max Beckmann and particularly to the ferocious innocence and high-spirited frankness of Philip Evergood. (The strained sweetness of the women in particular, recalls Evergood, as does the chaotic, quasi Surrealist use of miniature detail, acrid color, and passionate politics.) Escape depicts the almost comic getaway of John Wilkes Booth, who tripped over the flag bunting after shooting Abraham Lincoln, and broke his leg. Assassination of Malcolm X is curiously static in comparison to the others, recording a moment when time stops. Dean has also painted the sudden deaths of Crazy Horse, Che Guevara, and John Lennon. He seems fascinated by those moments when nobility, fanaticism and fate meet and explode. At its best Dean's painting lifts off, riding a peculiar current of extra-painterly energies that have been likened to those of William Blake and Vincent Van Gogh. Thanks to the swirling compositions, masked and costumed figures, and anarchic tempo, his canvases often evoke Carnival. Dean has spent a lot of time in Louisiana ("People there like my work; they think it's all about Mardi Gras"), where Carnival lies throbbing beneath the rest of the "real" year until its pre-Lenten frenzy is released for a week. And he has lived in Brazil, where members of the Samba clubs will spend the whole year and much of their earnings creating their amazingly opulent costumes. Dean's figures play the roles of mocking clowns like those found in Hopi and Pueblo ceremonies. They inhabit that time and place where fantasy is as real as so-called reality, when things are reversed, as in ritual or madness. Dean is less of a "political" artist than the kind of "religious" artist Native Americans would recognize. He is in touch with the subliminal area between clusters of meaning, those scary places where freedom reigns and borders are crossed. He belongs to that gang of divine fools Barbara Myerhoff has cited in her studies of rites of passage - those who are autonomous, independent, and always betwixt and between: "tricksters, clowns, poets, shamans, court jesters, monks, 'dharma bums', holy mendicants" with an emphasis on "innocence, rebirth, vulnerability, fertility, change, emotion, paradox, disorder, anomaly, opposition, and the like." Recommending an "approach which maintains belief alongside critical consciousness," she writes: "Rituals and symbols are stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, in the realm of art rather than objective reality" (in Victor Turner, ed., Celebration, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1982, p. 117, 131). Peter Dean described himself as "an interpreter of reality into fantasy and back again. Known for apocalyptic social satires. Though his themes were often violent, Dean also adored parades and painted them. Dean would sometimes use his hands as well as a brush. His scattering of paint across the entire surface reflects a longtime interest in abstract expressionism and particularly Jackson Pollock's habit of distributing paint across the entire canvas rather than having a traditional central focus. Black Astronaut celebrates, yet also pokes fun at, male fantasies. Phallic rockets frame the scene, raising the obvious association of military prowess with sexual potency. The astronaut was one generation's American hero; the cowboy hat on the NASA official brings to mind an earlier embodiment of American adventure. Another male role model, the cop, takes on a more sinister tone. SELECTED SOLO SHOWS Alternative Museum, New York, 1990 North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, 1989 Darthea Speyer Gallery, Paris, 1981 Alexandra Monett Gallery, Bruxelles, 1976, 1978, 1980 Allan Stone Gallery, New York, 1970, 1973, 1978, 1980 Galerie Noire, Paris, 1979 SELECTED GROUP SHOWS Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, 1993 A Tribute to Peter Dean, Einstein Gallery, New York, 1992 Transforming the Western Image. Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs CA, traveling to Boise Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, Rockwell Museum, Coming NY, Landscapes. Woodstock Artists Association, Woodstock NY 1991 Art of Love. Riverside Art Museum, Riverside CA, 1990 A Different War. Vietnam in Art. Whatcom Museum of Art, Bellingham WA, 1989 The Unquiet Landscape. Arts Club of Chicago, traveling to Frumkin Adams Gallery Sculpture. Katzen-Brown Gallery, New York, 1988 Fetishes, Figures, and Fantasies. Kenkeleba House, New York, 1986 Selected Works from the New York Collection Members Gallery. Albright-Knox Gallery Paradise Lost American Visions of the New Decade. Venice Biennale, 1984 Apocalyptic Vision: Four New Imagists. Galleri Bellman, New York, 1983 The Painterly Figure: Veteran Expressionist Figure Painters. Monique Knowlton Gallery, American Drawings. Galerie Roger D'Amacourt, Paris, 1978 American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, 1973 Rhino Horn. The New School for Social Research, New York, 1970, 32nd Corcoran Biennial of American Painting. Washington DC, 1971 III Bienal Internacional del Deporte en las Bellas Artes. Barcelona, 1971 II Bienal Internacional del Deporte en las Bellas Artes. Madrid, 1969 Grotesque, Fetishes, Fantasy. Allan Stone Gallery, New York, 1969 SELECTED COLLECTIONS Art Institute of Chicago Ghent Museum of Modern Art, Ghent, Belgium University of Texas at Austin Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca NY Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte NC National Gallery of Art, Washington DC New Orleans Museum of Art New York Public Library Rhode Island School of Design SELECTED APPOINTMENTS Distinguished Beaumont Professor of Art: Washington University, St. Louis Visiting artist: Colgate University Cranbrook Academy of Art Louisiana State University Princeton University Skidmore College University of Texas University of Washington, Seattle Yale University GRANTS National Endowment for the Arts, 1981, 1987 New York State Council of Arts, 1975

Details

  • Creator
    Peter Dean (1939-1993, American)
  • Creation Year
    1983
  • Dimensions
    Height: 21 in. (53.34 cm)Width: 29.5 in. (74.93 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU3822504883

Shipping & Returns

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    Ships From: Bal Harbour, FL
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