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Parchment painting in Newark show

A newly conserved parchment painting by Irene Rice Pereira, Composition In White, was among the works shown in an exhibition at the Newark Museum called Constructive Spirit, Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s. The show opened Feb. 17, 2010, and closed May 23, 2010. Dr. Karen A. Bearor, Pereira’s biographer, contributed an essay to the catalogue entitled Light Play in Abstract Art and Film. In her essay she discusses Pereira’s work in relationship to other artists in the show who were also interested in light and light projection.

February 3, 2010   Comments Off on Parchment painting in Newark show

Pereira in Dorsky Exhibition

Work by Irene Rice Pereira was included in Body, Line, Motion: Selections from the Permanent Collection at the Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, New York from Jan. 10 to Apr. 11, 2010. The same day the artist was featured in an exhibition in Manhattan at the new Wendt Gallery in the Fuller Bulding at 57th Street and Madison Avenue.The Dorsky exhibition included works depicting human and animal forms that emphasize movement, dance, and ritualistic activity. It was curated by Amy Lipton.

Work by Irene Rice Pereira was included in “Body, Line, Motion: Selections from the Permanent Collection” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum  at the SUNY campus in New Paltz, New York, from Jan. 10 to Apr. 11, 2010. The exhibition, curated by Amy lipton, included works depicting human and animal forms that emphasize movement, dance, and ritualistic activity.

January 30, 2010   Comments Off on Pereira in Dorsky Exhibition

Pereira letter to Parker Tyler

Irene Rice Pereira was uncommonly aware of the culture in which she worked, as an index of the correspondence of the cultural critic Parker Tyler at The New York Public Library shows.The archive contains a letter from Pereira written in 1966. It is contained on page 14 of a pdf file.

Tyler was well known as a champion of the avant-garde in film, art and literature. HIs papers and those of his friend, Charles Boltenhouse, a poet and filmmaker, are available for viewing in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library of the main library.

Pereira wrote frequently to tastemakers and other artists, and so her correspondence is likely to be found in a broad spectrum of archival material. – DM

January 17, 2010   Comments Off on Pereira letter to Parker Tyler

Online art museum

Pereira-Irene-RicePereira’s Rose Planes, 1945, is one of more than 108,000 images from the AMICA (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library). More than 20 museums participate in this project. Rose Planes is owned by The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.

December 16, 2009   Comments Off on Online art museum

The Pereira-Reavey collaboration

I. Rice Pereira’s third husband, George Reavey, was the first translator into English of Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak. Reavey, an Irish poet and close friend of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, had been Great Britain’s cultural attaché in Moscow during World War II.

The Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Welleseley College in Massachusetts is offering a series of podcasts featuring the work of 42 poets and artists, including Thomas, Frank O’Hara, Reavey and the artists Helen Phillips and Willem deKooning.

A portfolio of 21 etchings and poems was published in 1960, 11 years before the death of Pereira. The audio track representing this collaboration features Kristina L. Szilagyi, Class of 200, reading Omega by Reavey. Each print integrates text and image, including a poem in the hand of the author. The Omega print was made by Pereira, an example of close collaboration  between Reavey and Pereira over a long period.

The artist and her husband were present at at the death of Dylan Thomas in November 1953 in Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, only a few blocks from her studio home at 121 West 15th Street in Manhattan.

Reavey, who was fluent in both French and Russian, was a meticulous reader of poetry, his voice reflecting his precisionist inclinations. Pereira’s own voice (she was a frequent lecturer) was hushed and musical. She was an even better listener than she was lecturer.

Pereira and Reavey were avid party-givers. Reavey would often break into Russian dances at these parties. Thomas was often their bartender. He was a jolly and mischievous bartender. –DM

December 10, 2009   Comments Off on The Pereira-Reavey collaboration

1940 Pereira featured at D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.

pereira_three_white_squaresThree White Squares, a 1940 Pereira oil painting, was on exhibit at The D. Wigmore Fine Art Inc., 730 Fifth Avenue, New York City, in an exhibition called Explorations in Black and White: The 1930s through the 1960s. This painting has been reproduced frequently and was included in the seminal 1953 Loren MacIver/I. Rice Pereira restrospective at The Whitney Museum. The show continued through December 23, 2009.

December 9, 2009   Comments Off on 1940 Pereira featured at D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.

Rare Pereira audio interview

The Smithsonian Institution has a unique audio interview with Irene Rice Pereira conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz. It was made July 26, 1966, five years before the artist’s death in Marbella, Spain. She was living at the time at her long-time studio on the top floor of a brownstone at 121 West 15th Street and was already suffering from the emphysema that was to end her life. This is the record number of this American Archives of Art interview is (DSI-AAA)11367. The Brooklyn Museum of Art also conducted a Pereira interview between 1965 and 1968. Throughout most of the artist’s career this Chelsea neighborhood just west of Sixth Avenue was a rather morose area, having the look of abandonment. A huge brick armory in the style of the Park Avenue armory loomed across the street, blocking southern light. Pereira painted in the back of the building, availing herself of north light. Her studio and its furniture were starkly white. Today the armory is gone, replaced by upscale apartments and the entire neighborhood has been transformed into something far more vibrant than Pereira would have remembered. At the time of her death Chelsea had not yet become an enclave of high-end galleries. – DM

November 16, 2009   Comments Off on Rare Pereira audio interview

Women Artists

Women Artists by Margaret Barlow (Rizzoli, 2008, 328 pp) offers an insightful appreciation of Pereira’s career and a color plate of the rarely reproduced What Is Substance?

Ms. Barlow is co-editor of the Woman’s Art Journal. The journal is associated with the Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers.

Pereira wrote extensively about the concept of substance and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, UK, has twelve volumes of Pereira notes on the subject.

Women’s Arts Journal.

April 14, 2009   Comments Off on Women Artists

Pereira in the Beat and Jazz eras

Jim Burns, the English poet, is a scholar of the Beat and Jazz eras. He is for this reason of interest to Irene Rice Pereira researchers. Pereira lived during her most creative years on Fifteenth Street just west of Sixth Avenue in Chelsea, the neighborhood just north of Greenwich Village where so much of those eras were lived.

(Because an imposing armory blocked her view from the front of her third floor flat, she painted in the rear where she could take advantage of north light).

Burns collects books about those formative times, and, as it turns out, a number of them refer to Pereira’s work. He has generously provided a list of such works in his personal library:

– Advancing American Art: Politics and Cultural Confrontation in Mid-Century by Taylor D. Littleton and Maltby Sykes, University of Alabama Press, 2005.

– Jackson Pollock: A Biography
by Deborah Solomon, Cooper Square Press, 2001.

– Clement Greenberg: A Life by Florence Rubenfeld, Scriber, 1997.

– Surrealism in Exile and the Beginnings of the New York School
by Martica Sawin, MIT Press, 1995.

– Abstract Expressionist Painting in America by William C. Seitz, Harvard, 1983.

– Most of the references are single ones, Burns says, thought the first book, Advancing American Art, has more details and reproduces her painting, Composition (1945), which was included in the exhibition, Advancing American Art, which was scheduled to tour in 1946-47 but was withdrawn after being attacked by some politicians and right-wing journalists.

Burns’s list prompted a recollection by Djelloul Marbrook, the artist’s  nephew. In 1963, he recalled, Pereira took part in picketing the Museum of Modern Art with other artists and writers. One of their complaints was that the museum had senabled Abstract Expressionism to steamroller other developments in American art.

Pereira was particularly articulate and passionate on this score, telling the BBC, which covered the event, that Abstract Expressionism had introduced a European angst to an exuberant American art scene. This remark was to prove problematical for her career, because it was misinterpreted in some quarters as an anti-Semitic sentiment, since many of the Abstract Expressionist painters were Jewish and had immigrated from Europe. Marbrook says this accusation stunned Pereira. She had meant simply that a more optimistic vein in American art had been shortchanged by the attention then being given Abstract Expressionism. The incident earned her important enemies.

Pereira participated in the life of Greenwich Village in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Marbrook remembers her sending him with some money for the hard-luck poet Maxwell Bodenheim. Pereira herself experienced hard times, but her  first inclination upon selling a painting and after paying her rent was to share some of her money with a fellow artist or poet.

The title on Surrealism struck another chord in Marbrook’s mind. His mother, the artist Juanita Guccione, Pereira’s younger sister, had been involved with the Surrealists in exile in New York City. She had done art work for their newspaper, Pour La Victoire. Both women studied with Hans Hofmann in Manhattan and Provincetown, MA.
Burns is the author of As Good a Reason As Any, Redbeck Press, UK, 1999;
Confessions of an Old Believer, Redbeck Press, 1996; Cool Kerouac, Limited and numbered edition, The Beat Scene Press, UK, 2008; What I Said, Eyelet Books, UK, 2008; and other books of poems, essays and stories.

September 2, 2008   Comments Off on Pereira in the Beat and Jazz eras

A rare gem in Utica, NY

Vacillating Progression, a Pereira oil on layers of coruscated glass is one of the artist’s best works. Displayed at The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York,it ranks with such other Pereira masterworks as Green Mass at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. There is hardly a better exemplar of the artist’s reputation than this singular work.  – DM

July 27, 2008   Comments Off on A rare gem in Utica, NY