Jim Radakovich

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Jim Radakovich
Peepers, Acrylic on Canvas , 16" x 20", 1984
EducationMaryland Institute College of Art
Known forPainting, Sculpture
MovementEast Village

Jim Radakovich is an American sculptor and painter living and working in New York City. He was a key figure in the East Village art scene in New York from 1982 to 1987 often showing together both Neo-Surrealist paintings and totem-like sculpture. He frequently exhibited with other artists who emerged at the time, including Kiki Smith, David Wojnarowicz, George Condo, Rick Prol, Peter Schuyff, Mark Kostabi and Marilyn Minter.[1]

Early life[edit]

Radakovich was born in Illinois, the son of a corporate executive and an opera singer. His sister is the writer Anka Radakovich. He grew up in Ohio and finished high school in Maryland. After graduating from the Maryland Institute, College of Art with a BFA, he moved to New York City.


Radakovich's style is a combination of Appropriation, Neo-Expressionism and Neo-Surrealism. In his paintings, he uses cryptic relationships, sexual scenarios and psychologically charged tableaux. His Surrealistic atmospheres, cartoon like drawing and appropriated Modigliani-like heads are painted in a linear but expressionist technique. The paintings are frontal and highly colored often evoking the space of Indian miniatures. The sculptural works often incorporate totem structures that stack body parts and biomorphic elements. Although inspired by primitive cultural forms, the totems are modern urban signposts containing the dramas of city life. Disrupted narratives beg the viewer to unravel the tale that is set before them. His paintings are filled with urban dramas where the participants struggle with the problems of modern life, often with comical results. The figures in his work are posed in psychologically ambiguous terms. The elongated heads are Icons of humans in a mechanized society grappling with the questions of desire and nature.

Radakovich's work has entered the collections of many prominent American tastemakers including fashion designer Todd Oldham, Ford Model's owner Katie Ford and hotelier Andre Balazs.[2]



As the East Village art scene gained momentum in 1982, numerous group shows lead to his first one-person show at Kamikaze in Chelsea in 1983. He came to prominence by exhibiting, in the East Village, both paintings and sculpture at shows at Sensory Evolution[3] in 1984[4] and again in 1985.

Radakovich and his contemporaries were first documented in Arts Magazine in September 1985. Written by critic Robert Pincus-Witten and photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for Arts Magazine, "The New Irascibles" an essay and portfolio of photographs was based on the celebrated photograph "The Irascibles" of the Abstract-Expressionist Group taken by Nina Leen in 1951. It was meant as a historical overview and photographic record to preserve the participants of a short-lived scene in Manhattan where entrepreneurial artists and dealers opened their own galleries during the period between 1982 and 1987. After that time, most of these galleries and artists were absorbed into the Soho art world eager for new talent and they ultimately ushered in the explosion of the 80's art market boom.[5][6]

Solo shows at Bridgewater/Lustberg in 1986 and 1987 were followed by B-Side Gallery in 1986 [7] and St. Marks Gallery in 1987.[8]


An important survey of work from 1984 to 1991 was exhibited at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in 1991.[9] Radakovich had one person shows at the Takahashi Gallery in 1993 in Nagoya Japan, John McAdams Gallery 1995 in Chicago and Mat Thornton Gallery 1998 in Washington D.C.

2000 and after[edit]

After a one-person show in 2001 at the Sarah Denning Gallery in Chelsea, Radakovich continued to exhibit in groups shows in New York.

An update of the East Village Art scene was included in the November 1999 issue of Art Forum. The historical significance of this group of artists was established by "East Village USA" at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City in December 2004 [10] and satellite shows at the B-Side Gallery's "East Village ASU" and the Hal Bromm Gallery's "Vintage East Village" in January 2005 in which Radakovich's work was exhibited.[11]

Recent exhibitions[edit]

In September 2011 Radakovich was exhibited at The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, West Virginia, as part of their permanent collection,[12] called “Preserving a Legacy: 25 Years of Collecting”.[13]

The group show, “Crossing Houston” at the Smart Clothes Gallery on the Lower East Side in New York City, featured Radakovich in a survey of important artists from the East Village scene. September 11 to Oct. 11, 2012.[14]

Radakovich recently participated in December 2012 at the Overture | Miami pavilion with the Sensory Evolution Gallery as part of the Art | Basel Miami Beach contemparary art fair.[15]



  1. ^ "New York's East Village art scene (VHS tape, 1985)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  2. ^ "Jim Radakovich New Work" (Press release). Mio Leonardi. March 13, 1987.
  3. ^ Stover, Laren (Oct–Nov 1984). "Stretching Fashion's Outer Limits". Sportswear international. No. 20 (Oct/Nov): 172. Retrieved 2012-06-01. Jim Radakovich
  4. ^ Flash art. G. Politi. 1984. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Arts Magazine - East Village ancient history". Scribd.com. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  6. ^ Thomas, Walter (1988-12-01). "Paint It Black". In Fashion. 4 (Dec.): 124, 125. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  7. ^ New York Media, LLC (21 April 1986). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 116–. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  8. ^ New York Media, LLC (6 April 1987). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 113–. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  9. ^ Lisa Tedrick Prejean (January 10, 1991). "East Village Artist". The Daily Mail. pp. C1. Radakovich's work shows trademark urban 'look'
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-10-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Vintage East Village - Hal Bromm Gallery". ArtCat. 2005-04-29. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  12. ^ http://www.theclaycenter.org/art/collectorsclub/selectionsaspx/1988acquisitions.aspx
  13. ^ Busse, Sara (2011-09-10). "Clay exhibit showcases 25 years of collecting - Life - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports". Wvgazette.com. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  14. ^ http://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/234693-crossing-houston
  15. ^ http://overturemiami.com/exhibitors/galleries/


  • Pincus-Witten, Robert (1987). Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art 1966-1989. Studies in the Fine Arts Criticism. Umi Research Press. p. 410. ISBN 0835717631.

External links[edit]