Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910–83), was a Milwaukee-based, self-taught artist, active from the early 1940s through the early 1980s. Living in a modest house, which served as both a studio and exhibition space, with his wife and muse, Marie, he created a world of highly original beauty steeped in an idiosyncratic synthesis of non-Western art and architecture, girly magazine archetypes, theories of cosmic genesis, and current events like the Cold War fear of nuclear annihilation. Fleisher/Ollman will present a selection of his ceramic vessels composed of leaf patterns made from clay sourced from local construction sites, fired in the couple’s small parlor stove, and often spray-painted with automobile enamel.
Von Bruenchenhein was recently the subject of a major retrospective at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2017-18). He was included in the 2013 Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace. Other recent exhibitions include The Alternative Guide to the Universe, Hayward Gallery, London and Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art From the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, both in 2013. Von Bruenchenhein’s work is in the collections of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, among others.
National Gallery of Art
Jan 28–May 13, 2018
Curated by Lynne Cooke, and including Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, James Castle, Howard Finster, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Elijah Pierce, Horace Pippin, Christina Ramber, Martín Ramírez, Edgar Tolson, Bill Trayor, P.M. Wentworth, H.C. Westermann, Joseph Yoakum, Forrest Bess, Roger Brown, William Edmondson, Lee Godie, Morris Hirshfield, among others.