Dennis Kardon

Dennis Kardon (b. 1950, Des Moines, Iowa – lives and works in New York) is a graduate of Yale University, took part in the Whitney Independent Study Program, and was a student of Chuck Close and Al Held. Pervaded with a sense of untouchable intimacy, Kardon’s canvases are “generously painterly, voluptuously creepy narrative pictures of familial conflict, sexual angst and infantile yearning”, as Ken Johnson wrote in the New York Times in 2004.

For several decades, Dennis Kardon has been experimenting with painting’s ability to encompass the spectrum between abstraction and hyperreal representation. With an almost hallucinatory power, Kardon treats the surface of his canvases as a field with various properties of reflection or distortion, resulting in a narrative that seems to have been disrupted by an unexpected event. Kardon’s examination of the human figure digs into the psyche contradicting stereotypes and preformed ideas.

The artist’s whimsical tone serves to pervade his paintings with a discomforting feelingof familiarity: whatever you recognize is never exactly as you remember it to be. Critical comparisons have been made to David Lynch, for the ability to find the gothic in the every day, and to John Currin (who had a neighboring studio in the mid 90s). Ambiguity informs all the artist’s production: by playing with painting’s syntax and imaginatively re-contextualizing spontaneous painting from earlier stages, Kardon transforms each brushstroke into a possible signifier for something else. Thus, his paintings become a vehicle to examine how meaning is constructed, and allows viewers as partners in their creation. Kardon challenges painting’s potential by creating representational scenes that materialize from loose abstract brushstrokes. Moreover the endless intellectual challenge of Kardon’s practice has led him to counterbalance his painting with powerful writing and critical skills allowing him to become a highly respected contributor to several art publications.

Dennis Kardon has widely exhibited in the United States and beyond, and his work is part of public collection such as, among others, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Museum, the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


Solo exhibitions
Country, Exhibition Name, Location
UK, Strange Waters, MASSIMODECARLO, London
USA, Dennis Kardon, Fred Valentine Gallery, New York
USA, iPad Paintings Curated by Elena Sisto, Techonomy, New York
USA, Seeing Through Surfaces, Garrison Art Center, Garrison NY
USA, Dennis Kardon, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York
USA, Dennis Kardon, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York
USA, Dennis Kardon, Richard Anderson Fine Arts, New York
USA, A Conversation with Rococo Mirrors, A/D, New York
USA, Studio Space, Simon Watson, New York
USA, Dennis Kardon, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York
USA, New Paintings, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York
USA, The Science of Beauty, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York
USA, Dennis Kardon, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York
Group exhibitions
Country, Exhibition Name, Location
USA, Pictus Porrectus, Art & Newport Foundation in conjunction with Newport Preservation Society, Newport
F, In Bloom, MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique, Paris
Ulteriors Curated by Dennis Kardon, MASSIMODECARLO, VSpace
USA, Painting is Painting’s Favorite Food: Art History as Muse Curated by Alison Gingeras, South Etna Montauk, New York
UK, London Collective - Dennis Kardon and Matthew Monahan, Vortic Collect, Massimo De Carlo, London
USA, Within Reach (with Alexi Worth) Curated by Matthew Kolodziej, Emily Davis Gallery, Myers School of Art, University of Akron, Akron
USA, Beautiful Objects Curated by Patrick Neal, Jeffrey Leder Gallery, Long Island City
USA, Introspective, BravinLee Programs, New York
USA, Shaky Ground Curated by Dominick Lombardi, Leslye Heller Gallery, New York
USA, Who, Leslye Heller Gallery, New York
USA, Uncanny/Figure Curated by Lilly Wei, Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City
USA, Invitational Exhibition, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York
USA, Thanks (Organized by Adam Parker Smith), Lu Magnus Gallery, New York
TR, Octet, Pera Museum, Istanbul
B, That’s All Folks, Stadshallen, Bruges
D (Travels to Spertus Institute, Chicago, 2009 Jewish Museum, Vienna, and in 2010 to Jewish Museum, Munich), Twisted into Recognition. Clichés of Jewsand Others, Jüdisches Museum, Berlin
B, In My Solitude, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels
USA, Life and Limb, Feigen Contemporary, New York
I, Super Natural Playground Curated by Michael Steinberg, Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milano
USA, Self-Made Men, D. C. Moore Gallery, New York
USA, Private Worlds Curated by Joan Semel, Art in General, New York
USA, The Figure: Another Side of Modernism, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island
USA, Revealing and Concealing: Portraits & Identity, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
USA, The Nude and Narrative, PPOW Gallery, New York
D, Foreign Bodies, Foreign Beings, The German Hygiene Museum, Dresden
GR, Skin, The Deste Foundation, Athens
USA, Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews, The Jewish Museum, New York (travelling to the Muscarelle Museum, Williamsburg, Va., Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, and University Gallery, Amherst)
USA, Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities, The Jewish Museum, New York (Traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Baltimore)
USA, Being Human: Lucian Freud, Ann Hamilton, Lilian Hsu-Flanders, Dennis Kardon, Sol LeWitt, Ana Mendieta, Laurie Simmons, Kiki Smith, Raab Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
USA, A Millenium Celebration, The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia
USA, Inside Out, Psychological Self-Portraiture, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield
USA, In the Flesh, The Albright Gallery, Reading; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield,


Author, Publication Title, Date
Turner, Anderson, Akron Beacon, September
Cohen, David, Artcritical, April
Anker, Suzanne, Octet, Exhibition Catalogue. Istanbul, Pera Museum
De Wilde, Michel, That's All Folks, Exhibition Catalogue. Bruges, Stadshallen
Fyfe, Joe, Art in America, December
Johnson, Ken, The New York Times, March 6,
Greenberg, Jeanne, Super Natural, Exhibition Catalogue. Milano, Marella Arte Contemporanea
Gilbert, Barbara, Revealing & Concealing: Portraits & Identity, Exhibition Catalogue. Los Angeles, Skirball Cultural Center
Wei, Lilly, The Figure: Another Side of Modernism, Exhibition Catalogue. Staten Island, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art
Gilbert, Andrea, Skin, Exhibition Catalogue. Athens, The Deste Foundation
Hürliman, A., Foreign Bodies, Foreign Beings, Exhibition Catalogue. Dresden, The German Hygiene Museum
Mahoney, Robert, Time Out New York, March 13-20,
Karmel, Pepe, The New York Times, March 22,
Smith, P.C., Art in America, July
Kleeblatt, Norman, Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities, Exhibition Catalogue. New York, The Jewish Museum
Snyder, Jill, In the Flash, Exhibition Catalogue. Ridgefield, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art
Humphrey, David, Art Issues, summer
Strauss, Mark J., Inside Out, Psychological Self-Portraiture, Exhibition Catalogue. Ridgefield, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art
A/D at the Peter Joseph Gallery
Westfall, Stephan, Art in America, October
Decter, Joshua, Arts Magazine, April
Mahoney, Robert, A/D Arts Magazine, September
Balcon #7
Zaya, Octavio, Body and Soil, Exhibition Catalogue. Barcelona, Fernando Alcolea Gallery
The 1980’s: Prints from the Collection of Joshua P. Smith, Exhibition Catalogue. Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art
Brody, Jacqueline, The Print Collector’s Newsletter, Jan-Feb
Maschal, Richard, The Charlotte Observer, February 22,
Hart, Claudia, Artscribe
1976-1986, ten years of collecting contemporary American art: Selections from the Edward R. Downe, Jr. collection, Exhibition Catalogue. Wellesley, Wellesley College Museum
Walker, Barry, Public and private : American prints today : 24th National Print Exhibition, Exhibition Catalogue. New York, Brooklyn Museum
Silverman, Andrea, Artnews, September
Ahrendt, Mary, Nude, Naked, Stripped, Exhibition Catalogue. Cambridge, List Art Center MIT

Public collections

United States of America
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines
Eskenazi Museum of Art, Bloomington
Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
New York Public Library, New York
Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Company, New York
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Speed Art Museum, Louisville
The Jewish Museum, New York
University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, Iowa City
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis


Dennis Kardon