Richard Merkin#9 Geeks and Gargoyles (for Nelson Algren)
#9 Geeks and Gargoyles (for Nelson Algren) Mixed Media and Collage Provenance: Obelisk Gallery, Boston, 1967 (label verso) the word Chicago is featured prominently in this piece. Sometimes described as Rhode Island’s most famous New York artist, Richard Merkin has led a dual life for nearly 40 years - teaching at RISD while enjoying a celebrated painting career based in New York City. He has exhibited in countless gallery and museum shows in the US and abroad and is represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the RISD museum and many others. In addition to contributing drawings and paintings to The New Yorker (along with, Art Spiegelman, Saul Steinberg, Harper’s, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and several books on Erotica and Baseball, he is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and a former style columnist for GQ. Merkin’s honors include a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship and the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Museums and Selected Collections : The American Federation of Arts, New York, NY Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA First city Bank, Chicago, Ill Fisk University Art Gallery, Nashville, TN Hallmark Collections, Kansas City, MO Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Maimi-Dade Junior College, Miami, FL Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Minnesota Museum of Art, Minneapolis, MN Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, RI McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN Pennsylvania Acadamy of the Arts, Philadelphia PA Prudential Insurance Company, Boston, Ma Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, NJ Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Sara Robey Foundation, New York, NY Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC State University of Brockport, Brockport, NY Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Selected Publications : 1986-Present Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair ..1988-Present, New Yorker... 1988-Present, style column, GQ...1997, Text and Illustration for The Tijuana Bibles, published by Simon & Shuster, 1995, Illustrated book, Leagues Apart: the Men and Times of the Negro Baseball Leagues published by Morrow. 1967 Cover of the Beatles “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” Album (Mr. Merkin appears in the back row, right of center) RISD: MFA in Painting, 1963; Professor, Department of Painting special skill: Merging his role as flaneur (connoisseur of city life) with his role as painter and social historian, Merkin retrieves lost cultural artifacts – a Turkish cigarette, a gangster, a bowler and generally “things most people don’t know about” – and reconstitutes their Jazz Age virtues on canvas in cubist, comic-laced landscapes of tropical color. (ala Robert Crumb and Ben Katchor) breaking in: Perpetually on the fly from his middle-class Brooklyn background, Merkin found the perfect escape in the mid ‘60s in George Frazier, a dapper Boston columnist who inspired the emerging New York painter’s overnight reinvention of himself. The elements of structure, stability and surprise he admired in this well-dressed dandy – a cool linen suit, a splash of suspender, a polka dot scarf and pearl-handled walking stick – soon surfaced in paintings peopled by impeccable underdogs of café society along with his personal pop heroes: William Burroughs, Bobby Short and Krazy Kat. He was also afriend of the novelist Tom Wolfe and was influenced by the artist R.B. Kitaj
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