Nicholas Krushenick

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Nicholas Krushenick
Born (1929-05-31)May 31, 1929
New York, New York
Died February 5, 1999(1999-02-05) (aged 69)
New York, New York
Nationality American
Education Art Students League of New York.
Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts
Known for Painting, Abstract art
Movement Pop art, Op Art, Color Field, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism

Nicholas Krushenick (May 31, 1929 – February 5, 1999) was an American abstract painter whose artistic style straddled the line between Op Art, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Color Field. He was active in the New York art scene in the 1960s and 1970s, before he withdrew and focused his time as a professor at the University of Maryland for almost thirty years until his death in 1999. Initially experimenting with a more Abstract Expressionist inspired style and cut paper collage, Krushenick is more well known for his paintings which use bold Liquitex colors and juxtaposing black lines, which fall under the category of pop abstraction. In fact, he is a singular figure within that style.


Born in New York City in 1929, Krushenick dropped out of high school, served in World War II, worked on constructing the Major Deegan Expressway, and then returned to art school, with the help of the GI Bill. He attended the Art Students League of New York (1948–1950) and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art (1950–1951). In 1957, he and his brother, John Krushenick, opened a framing shop on Tenth Street, which quickly turned into an artists' cooperative called Brata Gallery. Artists such as Al Held, Ronald Bladen, Ed Clark, Yayoi Kusama, and George Sugarman exhibited there. In 1962, Krushenick left the gallery and began receiving solo-exhibitions around the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a prominent painter in the New York art scene. However, in his later years, Krushenick taught at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1977 to 1991. He died in New York on February 5, 1999, at age 69.

Artistic Style[edit]

Krushenick was part of a generation emerging at a time when Abstract Expressionism had fallen out of fashion; these artists were trying to distance themselves from this style and create something new. As a result, Krushenick's work in particular straddled the lines of many styles, including: Op Art, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Color Field. Some of his inspirations were Henri Matisse, J. M. W. Turner, Henri Rousseau, Fernand Leger, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. The last two, in particular, Krushenick considered the fathers of pop.

In 1956, Nicholas Krushenick debuted alongside his brother at Camino Gallery. At this stage, Krushenick's paintings resembled the Abstract Expressionist style considerably, yet already he was starting to poise masses next to each other in something of a "Cubist persuasion."[1]

By 1959, he switched from oil paint to liquitex painting, which had an immediate effect on the brightness and saturation of his paintings. This could be considered his breakthrough moment. His paintings start to feature black lines, first as a framing device for both every individual form in the painting and the painting itself. At this stage, Krushenick was painting at a time when the art world was polarized without much respect for pop art; his sense of humor and overall joyfulness did not rest easy with the styles of the time.

In 1965, one art critic, Vivien Raynor, noted "...he is now beginning to look Pop. Whether this is because he anticipated the movement and now looks more official, or because he's using acrylic colors, or simply because everyone to an extent becomes a victim of the audience's compulsion to organize artists into groups I can't tell."[2] Yet it is important to note that only his palette resembled pop art, his subject matter made no references to Pop Culture, nor did it make any reference to any recognizable object. However, he did find inspiration in cartoon illustration and the subject matter did vaguely appear sexual: vulvar and even penetrative. By this time, he had honed in on his style, totally obscuring the visibility of the artist's hand. At first he did this with the aid of extensive drawings that became like maquettes for the painting. Overtime, these drawings would become less precise and, instead, he'd rely on using tape directly on the canvas surface. This technique, in particular, was less improvisational, and thus, can be seen as a way that Krushenick further distanced himself from the Abstract Expressionist movement. By 1967, his style had become increasingly tighter, without losing its emotionality. John Perreault explained, "In spite of the hard black, coloring-book lines that divide one shape or super-color from another, the neat flatness, and the often symmetrical composition, these paintings are systematic visual manifestations of the emotionally organic, executed with cool precision, but conceived with great gusto. The raucous candy-cane stripes that Krushenick uses as the basic device of his abstractions do not 'contain' the painting."[3] In 1969, Krushenick gave up his soft brush abstract expressionist technique for bolder colors and lines similar to illustration, yet maintaining use of abstract figurative forms. This style marked him as one of the original practitioners of pop art.

In the 1970s, Krushenick began to withdraw from the New York art world. At this time, his vision began to falter and his focus turned towards education. Though he began teaching at the University of Maryland, he did continue painting. At this time, his style changed quite a bit; gone were the days of feathery, curvilinear forms. At this point, the form of the grid began to take precedent on his canvases, almost like a prescient depiction of the boom in technology that would soon arrive. Corinne Robins explains "The new paintings like the old have a tonal feeling; but now, rather than the blare of trumpets, the buzz of an IBM machine making crazy computations comes to mind."[4] In fact, during this time he was a guest artist in 17 art departments around the country. Into the 1980s and 1990s, his paintings would become busier but his colors quieter, favoring razor blade-like shapes over feathery forms and grids.


Solo Exhibitions[edit]


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Camino Gallery, New York, January 25–February 15


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Brata Gallery, New York, October 24–November 12


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Brata Gallery, New York, October 7–27


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Graham Gallery, New York, September 18–October 6


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Graham Gallery, New York, March 31–April 25


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Fischbach Gallery, New York, April 6–24


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Müller, Stuttgart, May 7–June 30


  • Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna
  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Sonnabend, Paris, January
  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings, Pace Gallery, New York, March 18–April 15


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, January 24–February 25
  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, October 19–November 11


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings, Pace Gallery, New York, April 26–May 21


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Fall Term Artist-in-Residence, Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 21, 1969–January 4, 1970


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Harcus/Kracow Gallery, Boston, February 24–March 21


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, May–June 15


  • Nicholas Krushenick: New Paintings and Collages, Pace Gallery, New York, January 8–February 2
  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, February 29–March 25


  • Galerie Denise René: Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf
  • Jack Glenn Gallery, Corona Del Mar, California


  • Recent Works by Nicholas Krushenick, Henry Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, November 10–December 8
  • Recent Prints and Collages by Nicholas Krushenick, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, November 30–December 29


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings/Collages/Prints, Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, January 17–February 10


  • Hank Baum Gallery, San Francisco


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings, Collages, Prints, University of Kentucky, Lexington, February 6–18


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Recent Paintings, Center Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, November 4–December 1



  • Pyramid Gallery, Washington, D.C.
  • Elizabeth Weiner Gallery, New York


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings & Collages, Gallery K, Washington, D.C., October 6–24


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Medici-Berenson Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, March
  • Nicholas Krushenick, River Gallery, Westport, Connecticut, April


  • Nicholas Krushenick, 18th Street Gallery, Santa Monica, California, September 19–October 24


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings, 1960–1990, Daniel Newburgh Gallery, New York, May 12–June 16



  • Nicholas Krushenick, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, September 6–October 4
  • Nicholas Krushenick, Mattatuck Museum, Westbury, Connecticut, December 12–March 16


  • Nicholas Krushenick: New and Early Paintings, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, May 22–June
  • Nicholas Krushenick: Pop-Abstract Painter, Lukacs Gallery, Loyola Hall, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, October 19–November 12


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Paintings of the 1980s, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, February 10–March 10


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, May 4–June 16


  • Nicholas Krushenick, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, August 31–October 31


  • Nicholas Krushenick, A Survey, Gary Snyder Gallery, New York, September 22–October 29


  • Nicholas Krushenick: Early Paintings, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, September 4–October 11


Group Exhibitions[edit]


  • New Experiments in Art, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, March 23–April 28



  • Post Painterly Abstraction, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April 23–June 7; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 13–August 16; Art Gallery of Toronto, November 20–December 20


  • The Twenty-ninth Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., February 26–April 18



  • Contemporary Art USA, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, Norfolk, Virginia, March 18–April 10
  • Systemic Painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, September–November
  • Musische Geometrie im Kunstverein Hannover, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany, October 16–November 13


  • Vormen van de Kleur, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, November 20, 1966–January 15, 1967
  • The 5th International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, December 4, 1966–January 22, 1967; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, January 27–February 19, 1967


  • Formen der Farbe, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, February 2–March 26; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, April 14–May 21
  • Highlights of the 1966–67 Art Season, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, June 18–September 4
  • The 180 Beacon Collection of Contemporary Art, 180 Beacon Street, Boston, October
  • Personal Preference: Paintings and Sculptures from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Brooks S. Barron, University Art Gallery, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, October 3–November 12


  • American Painting Now, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, December 15, 1967–January 10, 1968


  • Ornamentale Tendenzen in der zeitgenössischen Malerie, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, March 1–April 15; Städtisches Museum, Leverkusen, Germany, April 26–June 3; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany, June 22–July 14
  • Documenta IV, Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, June 27–October 6
  • Art of the ’60s: Selections from the Collection of Hanford Yang, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, September 29–December 22
  • Untitled, 1968, San Francisco Museum of Art, November 11–December 29


  • Tamarind: Homage to Lithography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 29–June 30
  • The Spirit of the Comics, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, October 1–November 9



  • Moon and Space, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, January–February
  • Painting & Sculpture Today, Indianapolis Museum of Art, April
  • American Art Since 1960, Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, May 6–27
  • Summertime, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, July–September


  • Aldrich Fund Acquisitions for the Museum of Modern Art, 1959 through 1969, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, September 27, 1970–January 3, 1971


  • Contemporary Selections, 1971, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama, January 24–February 20
  • Collages by American Artists, Art Gallery, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, October


  • Tamarind: A Renaissance of Lithography, International Exhibitions Foundation, Washington, D.C.


  • Everybody Knows: Sammlung Dr. Hubert and Marie-Thérèse Peeters, Brügge, Landesmuseum, Münster, Germany, September 17–October 22


  • Segunda Bienal Americana de Artes Gráficas, Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia
  • 1973 Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, January 10–March 18
  • Graphic Image ’73, Tokyo Central Museum of Arts, July 31–August 19


  • A Selection of American and European Paintings from the Richard Brown Baker Collection, San Francisco Museum of Art, September 14 – November 11, 1973; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of *Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, December 7, 1973–January 27, 1974
  • Homage à Picasso, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, November 23, 1973–January 13, 1974


  • America on Paper, Galerie Beyeler, Basel, May–June
  • Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, 1974, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, March 10–April 21
  • Color Renaissance: Sculpture & Painting in the Sixties, Milwaukee Art Center, July 17–August 24
  • Contemporary American Paintings from the Lewis Collection, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, September 13–October 27



  • Tenth Street Days: The Co-ops of the 50’s, Amos Eno Gallery, New York, December 20, 1976–January 7, 1977


  • Fall 1977: Contemporary Collectors at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, September 25–December 18
  • Lithography II, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, October 9–November 13
  • Artists’ Sets and Costumes: Recent Collaborations Between Painters and Sculptors and Dance, Opera, and Theater, Philadelphia College of Art, October 31–December 17


  • Aspekte der 60er Jahre aus der Sammlung Reinhard Onnasch, Nationalgalerie, Berlin, February 2–April 23
  • Graphicstudio U.S.F.: An Experiment in Art and Education, Brooklyn Museum, May 13–July 16
  • 14: 7 artistes américains, 7 artistes européens, Casino de Deauville, Deauville, France, September 2–10
  • A Benefit Exhibition for the Yale School of Art: Works by Members of the Yale Faculty, 1950–1978, Harold Reed Gallery, New York, October 19–November 19


  • Selections from the Collection of George M. Irwin, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, March 2–April 13


  • The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, September 20–November 1


  • Art & Dance: Images of the Modern Dialogue, 1890–1980, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, November 9, 1982–January 8, 1983; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, March 6–April 24


  • Fifty Artists, Fifty Printers, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, February 2–March 24
  • Art Faculty Collects, Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, March 9–April 4
  • Profiles: 1984 Faculty Exhibition, Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, September 6–October 7


  • The 1987 Art Faculty Exhibition, Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Color: Pure and Simple, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, Connecticut, September 20–November 15


  • The Turning Point: Art and Politics in Nineteen Sixty-eight, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, September 9–October 26, 1988; Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, November 10, 1988–January 14, 1989


  • Graphicstudio: Contemporary Art from the Collaborative Workshop at the University of South Florida, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September 15, 1991–January 5, 1992




  • Three Decades of Contemporary Art: The Dr. John and Rose M. Shuey Collection, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, December 8, 2001–April 7, 2002


  • New York Cool: Painting and Sculpture from the NYU Art Collection, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, April 22–July 19, 2008; Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, September 16–December 14, 2008; University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, January 17–March 15, 2009; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, April 17–July 19, 2009; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 23–October 25, 2009



  • Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, October 1, 2011–April 2, 2012


  • Pop Abstraction, Garth Greenan Gallery/Fredericks and Freiser, New York, January 18–February 15


  • Rio, Office Baroque, Brussels, June 4–July 18


  • Big Art/Small Scale, Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri, May 20–June 25
  • Remember the Future, Pace Prints, New York, October 28-December 17


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tyler, Parker (1956). "Reviews and Previews: The Brothers Krushenick". Art News. 55 (3): 57–58. 
  2. ^ Raynor, Vivien (1965). "In the Galleries: Nicholas Krushenick". Arts Magazine. 39 (9): 65. 
  3. ^ Perreault, John (1967). "Krushenick's Blazing Blazons". Art News. 66 (1): 34, 35, 72. 
  4. ^ Roberts, Corinne (1975). "Nicholas Krushenick: New Paintings". Art Magazine. 50 (4): 86–87. 

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