It’s Day 132 and I’m sleepy from the hot day! Other than working on my painting today, I’m going to patch a hole in the ceiling of my kitchen! Pretty exciting huh? Oh yeah and my hubby took the day off, but it’s a semi-lazy day he’s spending playing video games. 🙂 Join me in honoring Ward Jackson today. He didn’t have a wikipedia entry (which is strange!) so I found his bio on a website called www.minusspace.com.
WARD JACKSON (1928-2004)
Ward Jackson was born in 1928 and grew up in Petersburg, Virginia. He studied painting at the Richmond Polytechnic Institute of the College of William and Mary, now Virginia Commonwealth University, earning his Master’s Degree there in 1952. While still in school Jackson began the correspondence with Guggenheim curator Hilla Rebay that would eventually lead to his long tenure with that institution. In a series of letters he sent drawings to her for comment and received critique and encouragement. Following graduation Jackson spent a summer studying under Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Mass., settling in New York in the autumn of 1952. Jackson’s student work had already attracted the attention of painter and critic George L.K. Morris who invited him to contribute to an American Abstract Artist annual exhibition in 1949. Morris, a founding member of the AAA, took Jackson under his wing and the two developed a close collegial relationship which lasted until Morris’ death in 1975. Jackson later was invited to join the group and was for many years its recording secretary.
Ward Jackson had his first solo exhibition in NYC at the Fleischman Gallery in 1956. In the early 60’s, inspired by the work of senior painters like Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers, Jackson moved away from the gestural style that had marked his work of the ’50’s, developing his signature style of austere, hard edged geometric compositions on square and diamond shaped canvases. In 1964 he showed a group of black and white diamonds in an important exhibition at the Kay Mar Gallery that included such figures as Jo Baer, Dan Flavin, Don Judd, Sol Lewitt, Robert Ryman, and Frank Stella, and which marked a pivotal moment in the early development of minimalism. For the rest of his life Jackson expanded upon this personal and rigorous approach to abstraction, developing his ideas in the 4″ x 6″ “drawing books” that he always carried with him.
Ward Jackson continued to exhibit widely in NYC and throughout the United States as well as in exhibitions in Germany, Ireland, the
Netherlands, Spain, and Japan. Some of the high lights of his career were solo exhibitions in the late 1960’s and 1970’s at the Graham Gallery, NYC, French and Company Gallery, NYC, and the short lived but seminal John Daniels Gallery, (founded by Dan Graham and David Herbert), NYC, and the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg. As winner of two Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowships; Ward Jackson had two solo exhibitions at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts during the 1970’s. In the 1980’s into the 90’s, Ward Jackson developed an active career in Europe with numerous solo exhibitions in Germany, in Berlin at Galerie Adlung & Kaiser, at the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, and the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg. He continued to have a foothold in the New York art world throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, with regular exhibitions at the John Woodward and Marilyn Pearl galleries in Soho. Ward Jackson continued to exhibit in the early 2000’s. A highlight being his inclusion in an invitational exhibition at his beloved The Mondriaan House, Museum for Constructive and Concrete Art , Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
Posthumously his work has been championed by Lisa Dennison who included his painting in the 2004 Guggenheim Museum exhibition: Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present. His obituary written by Ken Johnson appeared in the New York Times and also in Art in America. The Guggenheim Museum gave Jackson a memorial arranged by curator Lisa Dennison and attended by past and then current directors, Thomas Krens and Thomas Messer, all of whom gave wonderful and personal eulogies. In 2007 Ward Jackson had a comprehensive memorial retrospective at Metaphor Contemporary Art in Brooklyn NY, Ward Jackson: A Life in Painting, which included a catalog featuring an essay by Stephen Westfall, and a panel discussion with Westfall, Jed Perl, Phong Bui, and Matthew Deleget. The show received several good reviews and was recorded in a you-tube virtual tour with his nephew, artist and curator Julian Jackson by the James Kalm Report. An informative interview about Ward Jackson’s work and life is available on Minus Space’s Log: Ward Jackson — Heat at the Edges, A Conversation with Julian Jackson and Matthew Deleget. In 2008 the Museum of Modern Art, NY acquired the drawing, Passage Series, by Ward Jackson. Also in 2008, Gary Snyder included Ward Jackson’s paintings in “New American Abstraction 1960 – 1975” at his gallery in NYC. In 2010 Gary Snyder included Ward Jackson’s paintings in “1960’s Revisited,” which was exhibited at David Richard Contemporary in Santa Fe, NM, where the work was singled out for favorable review. In 2012, David Richard Contemporary mounted the retrospective Ward Jackson: A Survey of Five Decades, which included a catalog with essays by Lilly Wei and Stephen Westfall. A feature article by Stephen Westfall on hard edge painting in America discusses Ward Jackson’s art in depth and features two illustrations of his Virginia River paintings in the April 2013 issue of Art in America magazine.
Ward Jackson’s paintings and drawings can be found in numerous public collections including; The National Museum of American Art
Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., Museum of Modern Art, NY, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y., The Brooklyn Museum of Art, N.Y., San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, CA, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University MA, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Va., Edward Albee Collection, British Museum, London, and in Germany at the Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, the Museum Morsbruch, Leverkusen, the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg.
In addition to his long career as a painter, Jackson was the archivist and the director of the viewing program at the Guggenheim Museum for nearly 40 years. Apart from the archive itself, legacies from this long involvement included the remarkable group of photographs illustrating the history of the Museum and its’ associated artists that Jackson curated from the museum archives which was on permanent display in the Guggenheim cafe from 1996 until its recent renovation. Also a remarkable light installation from 1992 by Dan Flavin, titled: “To Ward Jackson, an old friend and colleague, who, during the fall of 1957 when I finally returned to New York from Washington and joined him to work together in this museum, kindly communicated.” in the collection of the Guggenheim utilizes the entire ramp, and commemorates both their long friendship and their formative time working at that museum together.
In 1969 Jackson joined forces with publisher Roger Peskin and Guggenheim staff photographer Paul Katz to found an experimental folio publication, ART NOW New York. This interesting venture paired loose 8 1/2 x 11 inch prints of art works recently exhibited in the galleries with brief statements solicited from the artists. Over a four year run ART NOW New York published the work of well over a hundred of the most significant figures of that period, from Jasper Johns and Brice Marden, to Louise Bourgeois and Robert Smithson. ART NOW gradually developed into the ubiquitous and well-known ART NOW Gallery Guide for which he served as advisory editor until 1998.
Widely known for his encyclopedic knowledge of art and artists, Ward Jackson was an active, opinionated, and informed participant in the New York art world that he so loved. He passed away in February 2004.
(Prepared by Julian Jackson & Rene Lynch)
I really enjoyed painting today’s piece. It was strange because I usually get stressed with geometric type artwork, but this was different for some unknown reason! Maybe I’m getting better at it. It’s funny how you assume something’s going to be simple because it looks simple. How wrong I’ve been. I’m learning so much about the process of art and painting techniques with this challenge. I love it. I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 133. I’m going to be doing a bunch of lyrical abstractionist pieces so I’m excited. Best, Linda