Elizabeth Murray (artist)

Elizabeth Murray (artist)

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Elizabeth Murray was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, printmaker and draughtsman
Technical drawing
Technical drawing, also known as drafting or draughting, is the act and discipline of composing plans that visually communicate how something functions or has to be constructed.Drafting is the language of industry....

. Her works are in many major public collections, including those of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions...

, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an art museum beside the National Mall, in Washington, D.C., the United States. The museum was initially endowed during the 1960s with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn. It was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft and is part of the...

, the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

, the Whitney Museum of American Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art, often referred to simply as "the Whitney", is an art museum with a focus on 20th- and 21st-century American art. Located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street in New York City, the Whitney's permanent collection contains more than 18,000 works in a wide variety of...

, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a modern art museum located in San Francisco, California. A nonprofit organization, SFMOMA holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art...

, and the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

.

Life and work


Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Murray graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1958-1962. She earned her Master of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts
A Master of Fine Arts is a graduate degree typically requiring 2–3 years of postgraduate study beyond the bachelor's degree , although the term of study will vary by country or by university. The MFA is usually awarded in visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, dance, or theatre/performing arts...

 degree from Mills College
Mills College
Mills College is an independent liberal arts women's college founded in 1852 that offers bachelor's degrees to women and graduate degrees and certificates to women and men. Located in Oakland, California, Mills was the first women's college west of the Rockies. The institution was initially founded...

 in 1964. As a student, she was influenced by painters ranging from Cezanne to Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Rauschenberg is well-known for his "Combines" of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations...

 and Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns, Jr. is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking.-Life:Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina with his paternal grandparents after his parents' marriage failed...

.

In 1967, Murray moved to New York, and first exhibited in 1971 in the Whitney Museum of American Art Annual Exhibition. One of her first mature works included "Children Meeting," 1978 (now in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum, New York), an oil on canvas painting evoking human characteristics, personalities, or pure feeling through an interaction of non-figurative shapes, colour and lines. She is particularly noted for her shaped canvas
Shaped canvas
Shaped canvases are paintings that depart from the normal flat, rectangular configuration. Canvases may be shaped by altering their outline, while retaining their flatness. An ancient, traditional example is the tondo, a painting on a round canvas: Raphael, as well as some other Renaissance...

 paintings.

She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1998. In 1999, Murray was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. This grant led directly to opening of the Bowery Poetry Club
Bowery Poetry Club
The Bowery Poetry Club is a New York City poetry performance space founded by Bob Holman in 2002. Located at 308 Bowery, between Bleecker and Houston Streets in Manhattan's East Village, the BPC provides a home base for established and upcoming artists...

, a Lower East Side performance arts venue run by her husband, Bob Holman
Bob Holman
Bob Holman is a poet and poetry activist in the United States.- Career :After graduating from Columbia University in 1970, Bob Holman founded, with Sara Miles and Susie Timmons, the NYC Poetry Calendar, a free monthly publication with all the readings and poets "on the same page"...

.

In 2006, her 40-year career was honored at New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The retrospective was widely praised, with the New York Times noting that by the end of the exhibition, "You're left with the sense of an artist in the flush of her authority and still digging deep." As of 2008, Murray is only one of four women artists to have had a retrospective at the MoMA (the other three are Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois
Louise Joséphine Bourgeois , was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, best known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art, and for her spider structures, titled Maman, which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman...

 (in 1982), Lee Krasner
Lee Krasner
Lee Krasner was an influential abstract expressionist painter in the second half of the 20th century. On October 25, 1945, she married artist Jackson Pollock, who was also influential in the Abstract Expressionism movement....

 (in 1984), and Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankenthaler is an American abstract expressionist painter. She is a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work in six decades she has spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work...

 (in 1989)).

In 2007, Murray died of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

. In her obituary, the New York Times wrote that Murray "reshaped Modernist abstraction into a high-spirited, cartoon-based, language of form whose subjects included domestic life, relationships and the nature of painting itself..."

The Bowery Poetry Club
Bowery Poetry Club
The Bowery Poetry Club is a New York City poetry performance space founded by Bob Holman in 2002. Located at 308 Bowery, between Bleecker and Houston Streets in Manhattan's East Village, the BPC provides a home base for established and upcoming artists...

 held a Praise Day in her honor on August 30, 2007. Art Forum would write that the event "provided a blend of the poignant and the comic that threatened to bring it closer to a Saturday Night Live skit shredding avant-garde performance practice than an actual art-world remembrance." In attendance were artists Brice Marden
Brice Marden
Brice Marden , is an American artist, generally described as Minimalist, although his work defies specific categorization. He lives in New York and Eagles Mere.Marden is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery.-Life:...

 and Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro is an American sculptor renowned for his dynamic work composed of simple rectangular shapes. Shapiro is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York. He lives and works in New York City, with a summer house on the shore of Lake Champlain, in Westport, New York...

, writers Jessica Hagedorn and Patricia Spears Jones, and choreographers Elizabeth Streb and Yoshiko Chuma.

A second private memorial was held at the Museum of Modern Art later that fall.

Murray was survived by her husband, Bob Holman
Bob Holman
Bob Holman is a poet and poetry activist in the United States.- Career :After graduating from Columbia University in 1970, Bob Holman founded, with Sara Miles and Susie Timmons, the NYC Poetry Calendar, a free monthly publication with all the readings and poets "on the same page"...

, and three children: daughters Sophia Murray Holman and Daisy Murray Holman, and son Dakota Sunseri.

The Murray-Holman Family Trust is represented by The Pace Gallery
Pace Gallery
The Pace Gallery is a New York City-based exhibition space. It was founded in 1960 in Boston by Arne Glimcher.-PaceWildenstein:From 1993 until April 1, 2010, the gallery became "PaceWildenstein," a joint business venture between the Pace Gallery and Wildenstein & Co....

, New York.

External links