Housatonic Museum hosts traveling Boxer retrospective
By Phyllis A Boros, Staff Writer, CT Post
p.m., Friday, February 5, 2010
A major traveling exhibition celebrating the life's work of one of
America's most prolific 20th century artists opens in Bridgeport on
Thursday, in yet another coup for Housatonic Museum of Art.
The exhibition will feature about 50 works from Stanley R. Boxer (1926-2000),
renowned internationally for his spirited, thickly painted abstract
works of art.
"Rememberingstanleyboxer: A Retrospective 1946-2000" will
open with a free, public reception Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in
the museum's Burt Chernow Galleries at Housatonic Community College.
Instrumental in organizing the show was Boxer's widow, artist Joyce
Weinstein, of Ancramdale, N.Y., who is scheduled to attend. Abstract
and figurative paintings, as well as examples of his sculpture are
included in the show, which runs through March 28.
Organized by the University of Richmond (Va.) Museums, where the tour
opened last August, the exhibit travels next to the Boca Raton Museum
in Florida, where it will be on exhibit through spring. The exhibit's
title references Boxer's penchant for naming many of his works by stringing
together words without regard to punctuation, spaces or uppercase letters
(an acknowledgement of sorts of his fondness for the German language,
which often combines words). Among the highlights, for example, are
such paintings as "Plumagesoftempts," "Paleplainswhitechants" and "Gleedtwistofflayeddanknessassunder."
Weinstein, in a telephone chat from the rambling home-studio complex
that she shared with her late husband, said she has spent the past
decade planning the retrospective exhibition as a way to honor Boxer
and promote his legacy. All the works are from Weinstein's personal
collection, representing a miniscule percentage of Boxer's professional
"He was very prolific," Weinstein pointed out. "After
he died, we cataloged all the works -- more than 7,000 paintings, drawings
and wood and marble sculpture. And that (figure) doesn't even include
The artist explained that Housatonic Museum's inclusion in the tour
was important for two reasons dear to her heart:
The late Burt Chernow, the museum's founder and one-time director, "was
one of Stanley's earliest collectors" and supporters, she explained.
She also wanted each of the participating venues to have Boxer works
in their permanent collections that could be used locally to augment
The HMA owns two Boxer's: "Lafayette Night Bloom," 1972,
an oil on canvas that's 18.5 inches square, which will be displayed
in the Chernow Galleries, and "Beach Figure No. 3," (undated)
a wood totem that is 108 inches high by 14 inches wide, which will
be on view in the college's atrium.
The museum -- founded in 1967 by Chernow, an artist and former HCC
art department chairman -- has one of the largest and most distinguished
collections of any two-year college in the country, valued at more
than $11 million, assembled through donations from artists, commercial
galleries and private collectors, and through gifts by such groups
as the college's student government. Among the masters included are
Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Christo, Chagall and Mary Cassatt.
Robbin Zella, the HMA director for the past 12 years, "came
up (to Ancramdale) and looked at what we had here at the studios .
. . She liked what she saw . . . she's been really wonderful to work
with," helping to get the project off the ground.
(In recent years, Zella has attracted several exceptional shows to
the museum, including those devoted to Rembrandt prints, Ansel Adams
photographs, and Frank Warren's "PostSecret" postcards, and
organized several innovative shows of her own.)
Works for the Stanley Boxer tour were chosen by Elizabeth Stevens,
an independent curator and arts scholar, who had met Boxer in 1996.
In the handsome 56-page color catalog that accompanies the show, Stevens
"Boxer, like my father, was from a generation who grew up with
an understanding of sacrifice -- a child of the Depression, Boxer lied
about his age, and, at 16, enlisted in the Navy. When boxer returned
from (World War II), he was without direction ... (and so) signed up
for classes at the Art Students League in New York" where he was
born and raised.
"The life of an artist or the art world was not something that
he aspired to, but making art and pictures was always something that
was part of his psyche. Boxer was a natural draftsman," Stevens
Stevens points out that for Boxer, art was a passion, "a calling
-- not ... a career."
"Boxer saw his success as great luck and with this he continued
with what he felt he wanted to pursue. Stanley was a man who did what
he wanted, not what was in fashion, following his intellect passionately."
The show includes works created over a 54-year period, from his student
years in Manhattan to shortly before his death, offering "some
of the best examples created by a prolific, focused artist," Stevens
Boxer is represented in scores of museums throughout the United States,
including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Manhattan's Solomon
R. Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern
Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In Washington, D.C., Boxer's
work can be found at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn
Museum at the Smithsonian Institution.
His work also is included in many of the most prestigious international
museums, among them the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of
the Twentieth Century in Vienna, the Tate collection in London and
the Singapore Art Museum.
"This will be such a wonderful opportunity for residents in Bridgeport
and throughout the region to see and experience the works of Stanley
Boxer, the work of an artist of this caliber and reputation" in
an intimate gallery setting, said HMA's Zella.
WHEN YOU GO
Housatonic Community College is at 900 Lafayette Boulevard in downtown
Bridgeport. The HMA galleries are open Monday through Friday from 8:30
a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3
p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. The galleries are closed on all
college holidays, including Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents' Day. Admission
is free. For additional information on the museum, visit www.hctc.commnet.edu/artmuseum/.
Additional information on the artist is available at www.stanleyrboxer.com/.