Date of this Version
Sheldon Museum of Art, October 23- January 31, 2010
Art critic Clement Greenberg described Dan Christensen (1942-2007) as "one of the painters on whom the course of American Art depends." 1 This retrospective exhibition documents Christensen's life-long quest to understand the possibilities of color, paint, and pictorial space. Though long associated with Color Field painting, Christensen's relentless experimentation with style and technique places him among this country's most ambitious abstract and gestural painters.
Christensen was born in Lexington, Nebraska and grew up outside of Cozad. As a teenager Christensen listened to music on radio stations from Shreveport and Little Rock and grew fond of soul, blues, and pop music. His early aspirations to reach beyond his Midwest roots and experience a larger world, coupled with a youthful sense of independence and self-reliance, contributed to his eventual move to New York City. In 1964 he graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and after one year of graduate school moved to the East Coast where he spent the rest of his life. Although he was painting the figure when he arrived in New York, he soon made an abrupt break from this style.
Artists in Christensen's circle met and shared ideas at Max's Kansas City, a bar on Park Avenue South in New York City. There, Christensen met Minimalist artists Carl Andre and Brice Marden, whom he considered important early influences. Max's is also where Christensen met art dealer Rich8rd Bell8my, who offered to represent him in 1966. Shortly afterward, Bellamy brought art collector and author James Michener for a studio visit. Michener bought a paintingthe first real sale Christensen made