Larry Poons

Statement/Biography


Larry Poons is an American artist known for his pursuit of painting, which began in 1959 and continues apace today.


From 1955 to 1957 Poons studied composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 1959, he saw Barnett Newman’s exhibition at French & Company in New York and subsequently relinquished music studies to enroll at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. After graduation, he moved to New York where he had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at Richard Bellamy’s Green Gallery.


In 1965, MoMA curator William Seitz included Poons in The Responsive Eye along with Josef Albers, Larry Bell, Ellsworth Kelly, and Ad Reinhardt. In 1969, Poons was the youngest artist to participate in New York Painting and Sculpture, 1940–1970, curated by Henry Geldzahler at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other artists included in the landmark survey were Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Jules Olitsky. In the early 1960s, Poons was the guitarist for The Druds, a short-lived avant-garde band, which featured Walter de Maria on drums, LaMonte Young on saxophone, and Patty Mucha as the lead singer, while Jasper Johns wrote the lyrics.


At first associated with geometric imagery, in 1966 Poons reacted against Clement Greenberg’s pictorial theories to return to the essence of painting—tactile pigment itself. His paintings from the early 1960s consist of optical arrangements of dots and ellipses that float against monochromatic backgrounds. The formal elements of each of these paintings were determined by plotting points on a gridded matrix according to predetermined mathematical principles. By establishing rules that generated each painting, thus eliminating the artist from the process, Poons marked a development in the history of painting shared by his longtime friend and close collaborator Frank Stella. His paintings from the next five decades characterize the artists continued commitment to fomenting radical developments.


Beginning in the 1970s Poons began pouring, throwing, and splashing paint onto the surface of the canvas. By the late 1970s, he had begun to build the surface of his paintings with foam, rubber, rope, and typewriter paper, causing the works to become increasingly heavy and extending dramatically into space. In the early 1990s, Poons returned to his use of the paintbrush, and his work continues in this vein today. Working in the surround, he continues to paint on an entire roll of canvas which is hung on a circular framework that stretches the length of his studio in East Durham, New York. Following the completion of a roll—a process that may take weeks—Poons then crops each individual painting.


Born 1937, Tokyo, Japan

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Green Gallery, New York, 1963
Green Gallery, New York, 1964
Green Gallery, New York, 1965
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1965
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1967
Kasmin Ltd, London, 1968
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1968
Lawrence Rubin Gallery, New York, 1970
Lawrence Rubin Gallery, New York, 1971
Kasmin Ltd, London, 1971
Lawrence Rubin Gallery, New York, 1972
David Mirvish, Toronto, 1972
Knoedler Contemporary Art, New York, 1973
Lawrence Rubin, New York, 1973
Edmoonton Art Gallery, Canada, 1974
Galerie La Bertesca, Dusseldorf, Germany, 1974
Knoedler Contemporary Art, New York, 1974
Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, 1975
Galerie Andre Emmerich, Zurich, 1975
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, 1976
Daniel Templon, Paris, 1976
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1976
Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, 1977
M. Knoedler & Co, New York, 1977
Watson/de Nagy, Houston, Texas, 1977
Knoedler Contemporary Art, New York, 1977
Galerie Ninety-Nine, Bay Harbour Islands, Florida, 1978
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1978
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1979
Amerika Haus, Berlin, Germany, 1979
Amerika Haus, Hannover, Germany, 1979
Douglas Drake, Kansas City, Kansas, 1979
Galerie Ulysses, Vienna, Austria, 1980
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1980
Gallery One, Toronto, 1980
Galerie Artline, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1980
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1980
Galerie Ninety-Nine, Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, 1981
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1981
Richard Hines Gallery, Seattle, Washington, 1981
Gallery One, Toronto, 1981
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1982
Meredith Long & Co, Houston, Texas, 1982
Gallery One, Toronto, 1982
Theo Waddington Gallery, Montreal, 1982
Hett Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, 1982
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1983
Gallery One, Toronto, 1984
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1985
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1986
Gallery One, Toronto, 1986
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, 1988
Gallery One, Toronto, 1989
Galerie Montaigne, Paris, 1989
Helander Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida, 1990
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1990,
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1991
Gallerias Afinsa-Lagasca and Afinsa-Almirante, Madrid, 1991
Meredith Long & Co, Houston, 1991
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Berlin, 1992
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1992
University of Miami, Florida, 1993
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1994
Frederick Spratt Gallery, San Jose, California, 1995
Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, California, 1995
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1995
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1996
Frederick Spratt Gallery, San Jose, California, 1996
Art in Public, Geneva, 1997
Larry Evans/James Willis and Fredrick Spatt Gallery, San Jose, CA, 1997
Claudia Carr Gallery, New York, 1997
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 1998
Galeria Metta, Madrid, 2000
Theo Waddington Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida, 2000
Perella Gallery, Johnstown, New York, 2000
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, 2001
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, 2002
Jacobson Howard Gallery, New York, 2004
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, 2004
Jacobson Howard Gallery, New York, 2005
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, 2005
Jacobson Howard Gallery, New York, 2008
Danese, New York, 2008
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, 2008
Danese, New York, 2009
Esther Massry Gallery, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York, 2010
Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, 2010
Danese, New York, 2011
Lori Bookstein Fine Art, New York, 2011
SAGG, New Berlin, New York, 2011
Mark Borghi Fine Art, Palm Beach, Florida, 2012
Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, Larry Poons: Geometry and Dots, 2013
Danese and Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, 2013
Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2013
Danese/Corey, New York, 2014
Marjory Stoneman Doublas Bisayne Nature Center, Key Biscayne, Florida, 2014
Danese/Corey, New York, 2015
Michael Jon & Alan, Miami, Larry Poons, 2016.


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC, Formalist, 1963
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, American Drawings, 1964
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, The Classic Spirit, 1946
Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, New York Group, 1964
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, The 1964 Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Art, 1964
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, Abstract Trompe l'Oeil,1965
Allen Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio, Three Young Americans: Hinman, Poons, and Williams, 1965
Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Responsive Eye,1965
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Young America, 1965
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, 1965
Sao Paulo, Brazil and the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC The United States of America, Biennial,1965
San Francisco Museum of Art, Six Artists from New York, 1966
Public Education Association, Cordier-Ekstrom, New York, Seven Decades of Modern Art, 1966
The Jewish Museum, New York, Harry Abrams Family Collection, 1966
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Systemic Painting, 1966
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, Group Show, 1966
Art Institute of Chicago, 68th American Exhibition,1966
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 30th Biennial Exhibition, 1967
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, Ten Years, 1967
Museum of Modern Art, New York, The 1960's: Painting and Sculpture from the Museum Collection , 1967
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 1967
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual, 1967
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Two Decades of American Painting, 1967
Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Art of the Real: 1948-68, 1968
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Plus by Minus: Today's Half-Century, 1968
Kassel, Germany, Documenta IV, 1968
Art Students League, New York, Art Students League, Centennial Decade, 1968-1969, 1968
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual, 1969
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 31st Biennial Exhibition, 1969
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York Painting and Sculpture, 1940-1970, 1969
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, The George Waterman Collection, 1969
Steinburg Art Gallery, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, The Development of Modern Painting: Jackson Pollock to the Present, 1969
Kunstmarkt, Cologne, Germany, One Tendency of Contemporary Art, 1969
Pasadena Art Museum, California, Painting in New York: 1944-1969, 1969
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (traveled to Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH), Color and Field: 1890-1970, 1970
New City Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, Collection of Graham Gund, 1971
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Structure of Color, 1971
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (traveled to Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin), Six Painters,1971
Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Massachusetts, Abstract Paintings in the 70's: A Selection, 1972
Edmonton Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada, Masters of the 1960's,1972
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Color Field Painting to Post Color Field Abstraction, 1972
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, MO Post 1945 Paintings,1972
Knoedler & Co., New York, Giant Paintings; Monuments and Murals, 1972
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, A Look at New York, 1973
Houston Museum of Fine Art, The Great Decade of American Abstraction: Modernist Art, 1960 to 1970, 1974
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Contemporary American Artists, 1974
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Florida, Less is More: The Influence of Bauhaus on American Art, 1974
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela , El Lenguaje del Color, 1974
Marlborough Gallery, New York, Select Works from the collection of Carter Burden, 1974
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 34th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, 1975
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Florida, Today/Tomorrow, 1976
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (traveled: The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Canada), New Works in Clay by Contemporary painters and Sculptures, 1976
Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont, Artists at Bennington, Visual Arts Faculty 1932-1976, 1976
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Surface, Edge, and Color, 1977
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1977
Madison Art Center, Wisconsin, Recent Works on Paper by American Artists, 1977
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 1978
Park McCullough House Association, North Bennington, Vermont, Fifteen Sculptors in Steel around Bennington, 1963-1978,1978
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Kansas, Major Paintings, 1978
Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, New York, Works on Paper, 1979
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York (traveled to Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York), A Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978, 1979
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Display Area, Boston, Color Abstraction: Selections from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,1979
Brockton Art Museum, Massachusetts, Aspects of the 70's: Painterly Abstraction,1980
91e Exposition, Société des Artistes, Paris, L'Amerique aux Independants, 1980
Audrey Strohl Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee, Paintings from the Andre Emmerich Gallery,1980
State Museum of Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, Art In Embassies, Collection of US Ambassador and Mrs. Warren Manshe, 1980
Allen Rubiner Gallery, Royal Oak, Michigan, Works on Paper,1980
Meredith Long & Co., Houston, Texas, Contemporary Works on Paper, 1980
Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, International Florida Artists, 1981
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, New Works in Clay III, 1981
Museum of Fine Art, Boston, A Private Vision: Contemporary Art from the Graham Gund Collection, 1982
The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Miró in America, 1982
Oil and Steel Gallery, New York, 1982
Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Kansas, Works on Paper, 1982
Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio (traveled to Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, Living with Art, Two: The Collection of Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch, 1983
American Embassy, Madrid, Arte Contemporaneo Norte Americano, Coleccion David Mirvish,1984
William Beadleston Gallery, New York, An Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture, 1984
The Richard F. Bush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, Pre-Postmodern, 1985
Aspen Museum, Colorado, Pop Art, Minimal Art: Artists in Residence in Aspen, 1985
The Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas, Grand Compositions: Selections from the Collection of David Mirvish, 1985
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Selections from the William J. Hokin Collection, 1985
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, California, American Abstract Painting, 1985
Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, Lousiana, 1985
American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, New York, Paintings and Sculptures by Candidates for Art Awards, 1986
David Winston Bell Gallery, Definitive Statements-American Art: 1964-66, 1986
The List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1986
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, 1986
Galleria Chisel, Milan, Italy, 0-1+2, 1986
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, Selected 20th Century Paintings, 1986
RH Love Modern, Chicago, Abstraction by American Masters over 50, 1986
Hokin Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, 1987
Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico , Leo Castelli y Sus Artistas, 1987
Meadow Brook Art Gallery, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, Contemporary Art from the Collection of Marion and David Handleman, 1988
Helander Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida, Five Floridians, 1988
Meredith Long, Houston, Texas, Important Works on Paper, 1989
Daniel Newburg Gallery, New York, Before the Field-Paintings from the Sixties, 1990
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, Group: 1990,1990
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Group Show, 1990
Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, Group Show, 1991
William College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, Group Show, 1991
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, Gallery Selections, 1991
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, Berlin, Germany, Inaugural Exhibition, 1991
Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Stars in Florida, Museum of Art, 1992
P.S. 1, Long Island City, New York, Slow Art, 1992
Helander Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida, Summer Pleasure, 1992 C.S. Schulte Galleries, South Orange, New Jersey, Celebrating Formalism, 1992
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, Gallery Selections, 1993
New York Studio School, The Brushstroke and its Guises, 1994
Nicholas Alexander Gallery, New York, Seven Painters, 1995
Addison Gallery, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Addison Gallery of American Art: 65 Years, 1996
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, Abstraction: Steiner, Poons, Olitski, Noland & a Selection of Sculpture, 1996
Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, Color Field, The Classic Years: 1960-75, 1996
Museum: Museum Modern, Kunst Stiftlong Lugwig Wien, Germany, 1997
Sideshow 195, Brooklyn, New York, Pay per it, 1997
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Regatta 98, 1998
Art Students League of New York, New York, Masterworks by Instructors of the Arts Students League, 1998
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Reflections of Monet, 1998
Axis Gallery, New York, "5" new works by Judith Downtick, Bruce Dorman, Robert Natkin, Joel Perlman, and Larry Poons, 1999
Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York, The 1960's, 1999
Seattle Museum of Art, Washington, The Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection of Modern Art, 1999
Staaliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany, Bad-Bad, That is a good excuse, 1999
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Eye Candy, 2000
Wingfield College Yard, England , Three American Painters, 2000
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, From Alf to Zox: Contemporary Art from the Museum Collections, 2001
Portland Art Museum, Oregon, The Clement Greenberg Collection, 2001
Art Students League of New York, Annual Instructors Exhibition, 2003
Jacobson Howard Gallery, New York, Geometric Abstraction & Beyond, 2004
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Merry Peace, 2005
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Extreme Abstraction, 2006
Art Students League of New York, Annual Instructors Exhibition, 2006
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, War is Over, 2006
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s, 2007
Denver Art Museum, CO (traveled: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN), Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-75, 2008
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, In the Eye of the Beholder, 2008
Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania, Alex Rosenberg: Collector and Patron, 2008
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, Expanding Boundaries: Lyrical Abstraction, Selections from the Permanent Collection, 2009
Loretta Howard, New York, Artists at Max’s Kansas City: 1965-1974, 2010
Chelsea Art Museum, New York, Abstraction Revisited, 2010
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, Colorscope: Abstract Painting, 1960 – 1979, 2010
New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, Case Studies from the Bureau of Contemporary Arts, 2011
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, Color Forms,2011
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, Silence and Time, 2011
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, All is Good, 2011
William Turner Gallery, Santa Monica, California, Ed’s Party: spheres of Influence in the LA Art Scene, 2012
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Mic:Check (The: human mic) (Occupy), 2012
Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, New York, What Only Paint Can Do: an erratic selection of Triangle Alumni, curated by Karen Wilkin, 2012
Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, Notations: Contemporary Drawings As Idea and Process, 2012
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Sideshow Nation, 2013
William Turner Gallery, Santa Monica, California, Ed Moses and Larry Poons: The Language of Paint, 2014
Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Vermont, Abstraction: Modernist Masters from the Bennington Collection, 2014
Danese/Corey Gallery, New York, Land & Sea, 2015
Caldwell Gallery Hudson, New York, Six Decades of American Abstraction, 2017.
Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, Summer Review: 2017, 2017.
Alpha 137 Gallery, New York Abstract Expressionist Paintings, Sculptures and Works on Paper, 2017.
Eckert Fine Art, Kent, American Works on Paper, 2017.
Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, Racers: Larry Poons and Frank Stella, 2018.
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, Armory Show 2018 (private), 2018.
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, Frieze New York Booth (private), 2018.
Alpha 137 Gallery, New York, The Mid Century Modern Aesthetic, 2018.
Berry Campbell, New York, NY, Summer Selections, 2018.
Taylor | Graham, New York, August Spotlight: Postwar Abstraction, 2018.
Alpha 137, New York, Political Art, 2018.
Alpha 137, New York, Staff Favorites, 2018.

SELECTED COLLECTION
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio
American Federation of Arts, New York
Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Art Institute of Chicago
Bennington College, Vermont
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Denver Art Museum, Colorado
Des Moines Art Center, Iowa
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Indianapolis Museum of Modern Art, Indiana
Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee
The Kreeger Museum, Washington, DC
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna Stiftung Ludwig, Austria
Palm Springs Desert Museum, California
Pasadena Art Museum, California
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania
Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO
Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
Wellington Management Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut