Brief chat with Dona Nelson

We were up at Tyler the other day and bumped into Tyler painting prof Dona Nelson. The artist told us she’d been mentioned in Roberta Smith’s recent rant in the New York Times about the lackluster curating in NY museums. Just to be clear, Smith shouted out Nelson as an example (along with Thomas Nozkowski, Larry Poons, and Stanley Whitney) of an artist who deserves inclusion in a New York museum show.

Dona Nelson double-sided painting from a show at Thomas Erben Gallery, Jan. 2009

Here’s the quote from the article.

You’d never know from looking at museums that figurative painting, running the gamut from realist to quasi-expressionist, is on the rise. (Speaking of which, if some New York curator didn’t see Nicole Eisenman’s recent show at Leo Koenig and at least consider doing a show, we are in trouble.) Some kind of local museum attention could be given to the realist painter Rackstraw Downes, the abstract painters Thomas Nozkowski, Larry Poons and Stanley Whitney, or to an artist like Dona Nelson, who refuses to commit to either camp and whose eccentricities are a good match for Joe Zucker’s. These painters seem slated to become the forgotten artists of the future. David Bates is having a perfectly interesting career without any attention from the New York art establishment, thank you very much.


If you want to see what Smith is talking about you can check out Nelson’s work in the real New York world  at two different sites — in a 4-person show at her gallery Thomas Erben opening Feb. 25 and at Volta NY art fair March 4-7 in Erben’s booth.