Joan Brown

Memorial Exhibition

Sep 12 - Oct 23, 1991

On Thursday, September 12th the Frumkin/Adams Gallery will open a Joan Brown Memorial Exhibition. The exhibition will consist entirely of self-portraits dating from 1970 to 1983. A color catalog will document the show with a text by Marcia Tucker and contributions by Roy DeForest and Sanford Schwartz. 


During her lifetime, Joan Brown painted self-portraits to document events in her life and the current exhibition consists of approximately 20 such works from the middle years of her life. One of the earliest paintings in the show is Self Portrait with Fish, a life-size whimsical painting from 1970; the last is Homage to Akhenaton a self-portrait in front of a wall of Egyptian images from 1983. The core of the exhibition, however, is a selection of paintings from the mid-70's, including her best known body of work, the Alcatraz Swim series which documented her initial failure and subsequent success in swimming San Francisco Bay. There are a number of more eccentric works as well, including Girl with Gorilla and Wolf from 1971 and the The Misunderstanding, 1978 which features Joan, Krazy Kat, Ignatz and brick.


Joan Brown studied at the San Francisco Art Institute with Elmer Bischoff and David Park. She began exhibiting in 1957 and the age of 19 and in 1960 had her first exhibition at the Staemfli Gallery in New York. In 1964, however, Joan Brown withdrew from the New York scene and it was not until 1974, when she had her first on-person show at this gallery, that she again began to exhibit regularly in New York. Among her most recent exhibitions of note were Making Their Mar: Women Artist Move in the Mainstream, 1970-1985 which toured the US in 1989 and Bay Area Figurative Painting, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which toured the US in 1990. In addition Joan Brown was well known in California for her public sculpture, especially in San Francisco and San Diego where she completed several large, colorful obelisks. Joan Brown was killed last October at the age of 52 in a construction accident in Proddatura, India where she had gone to supervise the installation of a new obelisk. 


The Joan Brown Memorial exhibition will open September 12th and will continue through October 23. A full color catalog will be available for $10 post paid. The Frumkin/Adams Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 to 6 and from 10 to 5:30 on Saturdays.