Closing event

In the last phase of a project spanning nearly seven years, alternative arts spaces leader and Clocktower Gallery and MoMA PS1 founder Alanna Heiss is disseminating hundreds of works by the late post-minimalist painter Dale Henry to artists, collectors, curators, critics, and institutions.

Please save the date for an intimate conversation celebrating the culmination of this project, and discussing some key topics raised by the Dale Henry story, including the organization of artists' archives and estates, preserving artistic and personal legacies, museum gifts and acquisitions, an artist's decision to leave New York, and the way personal artist narratives shape exhibition-making:

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
6:30pm - 9pm
87 Franklin Street, New York NY 10013

Speakers:
Andy Battaglia, Deputy Editor, ARTnews
Graham C. Boettcher, Director, Birmingham Museum of Art
Todd Eberle, Artist
Laura Hoptman, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art
Amy Oppenheim, Executor, Dennis Oppenheim Estate
Kirsten Weiner, MOVED PICTURES ARCHIVE/LAWRENCE WEINER STUDIO

Conversation moderated by Alanna Heiss and Beatrice Johnson

The evening will be recorded and made available on Clocktower Radio

This event is made possible with support from Lybess Sweezy

 Dale Henry,  Interiors  series,  Pure Cadmium Red, Medium – Bath , 1978  --  Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art

Dale Henry, Interiors series, Pure Cadmium Red, Medium – Bath, 1978  --  Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art

In 2011, Dale Henry (1931 – 2011) bequeathed his entire body of work to Alanna Heiss, with the proviso that it remain outside of the art market. Following a multi-part retrospective, Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York, and to satisfy Henry’s paradoxical wish that the work gain exposure but be devoid of any commercial value, Heiss has disseminated the most significant works to institutions in the US and abroad.

The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia, and the Sammlung-Hoffmann Collection in Berlin have all acquired major series.

Ongoing conversations include such institutions as the Walker Art Center, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, SFMOMA, the Hessel Museum of Art, and the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.

Many of the remaining 200 works have been disseminated to collectors, critics, curators, and artists, including Joan Jonas, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Eric Boman and Peter Schlesinger, Todd Eberle, Lawrence and Alice Weiner, Mickalene Thomas, and Dustin Yellin, among others.

Seating limited, RSVP necessary:
rsvp@sparkplug-pr.com

Final give away

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Final Works of Post-Minimalist Recluse Artist Dale Henry Gifted to the Public

(May 15th, 2018 - New York, NY) In the last phase of a project spanning nearly seven years, alternative arts spaces leader and Clocktower Gallery and MoMA PS1 founder Alanna Heiss disseminates hundreds of works by the late painter Dale Henry (1931 – 2011) to artists, collectors, curators, critics, and institutions.

“This bequest is the total of my art and comes without request or consultation. Please forgive me. You are the only person I trust who has the standards required. If you do not accept the placement of the art over a period of years, the art will be destroyed. I want the art to go only as GIFTS to persons who will look at them in situ over many years. I want NO SPECULATORS. We have had enough of those. If art is to be sustained, there must be some viewers remaining outside the speculative market.” - Dale Henry

Active in New York from the mid 1960’s to the early 1980’s, Henry belongs to a generation of artists whose work, whether in the realm of painting, sculpture, installation, performance, or a hybrid of the above, found radically new modes of production and presentation. The nascent alternative art spaces movement provided these artists with public spaces that acted as extensions of the studio, with experimentation and immediacy being primary concerns. Henry defined himself as a painter, but his work pushed the boundaries of the medium in various ways – outside of the rectangle, away from traditional pigments, and off the wall. He created delicate, cerebral, and painfully intimate works.

Heiss included Henry in the 1975 Collectors of the Seventies exhibition at the Clocktower Gallery, as well as in the historic 1976 inaugural exhibition at PS1, Rooms. These experiences left an indelible impact on Henry both professionally and personally.

 Dale Henry,  Shelving Lines Drawing Painting Sculpture , 1976, Site-specific installation at PS1, Photo courtesy Clocktower Productions

Dale Henry, Shelving Lines Drawing Painting Sculpture, 1976, Site-specific installation at PS1, Photo courtesy Clocktower Productions

  Shelving Lines Drawing Painting Sculpture , 1976, detail

Shelving Lines Drawing Painting Sculpture, 1976, detail

In spite of a series of exhibitions in New York, and representation in the well-regarded John Weber Gallery, Henry became so disenchanted with the commercialization of the art world that in 1986 he permanently left New York for the rural town of Cartersville, Virginia. There, from the bunker-style home and studio he designed, and where he lived as a near recluse for almost 30 years, Henry made elaborate plans for his artistic legacy.

Before his death in 2011, Henry wrote a letter bequeathing his extensive body of work, personal essays, letters, and photographs to Heiss, with the proviso that the work remain outside of the art market. Should Heiss decline the bequest, Henry’s lawyer had explicit instructions to destroy the works. Heiss visited Henry’s studio, found the work entirely unusual, the story compelling, and Henry’s person an enigma. She decided to embark on the unusual task.

 Dale Henry works installed in the home of Eric Boman and Peter Schlesinger, 2018

Dale Henry works installed in the home of Eric Boman and Peter Schlesinger, 2018

Since then, she has organized a multi-part retrospective, Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New Yor, and given the most significant groups of works as gifts to museums and collections in the US and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, and the Sammlung-Hoffmann Collection in Berlin. Many of the remaining 200 works have been disseminated to collectors, critics, curators, and artists, including Joan Jonas, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Eric Boman and Peter Schlesinger, Todd Eberle, Lawrence and Alice Weiner, Mickalene Thomas, and Dustin Yellin, among others.

Now, with just a selection of works left of this peculiar oeuvre, Heiss invites the public to view and receive the remainder of Dale Henry’s legacy. An overview of the oeuvre, as well as a list of the works available for give away, is available at www.dalehenry.org.

 

A small selection of works is on display in a loft space in TriBeCa, on view Tuesdays 12pm - 6pm, or by appointment.

 

For inquiries, contact Beatrice Johnson, Project Director:
beatrice@clocktower.org or (781) 929 1346

Museum of Modern Art Acquisition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Museum of Modern Art acquires major work by Dale Henry, as part of a 3-year giveaway project by Clocktower’s Alanna Heiss

(December 27th, 2016 – New York, NY) The Museum of Modern Art has acquired Primer Sets, a 1972 serial work by post- minimalist painter Dale Henry, who bequeathed his entire body of work to Clocktower Founder & Director Alanna Heiss. The day of his death in September 2011, Henry wrote a letter giving all of his work and papers to Clocktower Heiss, with the proviso that the work remain outside of any commercial activity.

 Dale Henry,  Primer Sets , Clocktower Gallery installation view, 2013

Dale Henry, Primer Sets, Clocktower Gallery installation view, 2013

Full title: Primer Sets of a Revealing Graphic and Personalized History of Western Painting using the Basic (and Complete) Iambus Throughout. Eighty Pieces in Eight Sets: Marster Buckt Tho Nitid / Makar Vanisht / Oyez Fúnnee

Primer Sets is one of Henry’s most visually imposing works, and considered by him as the key to understanding his oeuvre. The piece begins Henry’s project of collapsing the linear history of Western art and practices of perception into a flat medium. It is often described by the artist as the key to understanding his artistic project, a visual dictionary of his conceptual and material concerns. Just as poetry plays with structures of meaning in language, here Henry employs its form to disrupt and reveal ways of seeing art. The Iamb, a poetic foot comprised of first an unstressed ( ̆) and then a stressed (/) syllable, is invoked in the title of the piece. Read from left to right, the iamb emerges in the subtle, rhythmic play of visual qualities –light and dark, straight and curved, recessed and protruding, textured and smooth, finished and unfinished– on a grand scale.

In keeping with Henry’s wishes, Heiss has given the most significant groups of works as gifts to other museums and collections in the US and abroad, including the the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, and the Sammlung-Hoffmann Collection in Berlin. The goal is to bring forth seminal conceptual and post-minimalist works by an artist whose relative anonymity betrays the relevance of his work.

The remaining 150 works are being given away to artists, friends, and peers. Works will be directed to Clocktower’s family of artists, ranging from 1970’s pioneers to the youngest participants in Clocktower’s most ambitious new projects; to the artist advisors, scholars, researchers, and installers who made the Dale Henry exhibitions come to fruition; to the friends and contemporaries of Henry’s whose artistic role in that period gave the project conceptual foundations; to partner institutions who enabled the continuation of Clocktower operations after the 2013 relocation.

Dale Henry, Primer Sets, Clocktower Gallery installation - 2
Dale Henry, Primer Sets, Clocktower Gallery installation - 3

Museum and collection acquisitions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Museums Acquire Major Works by Dale Henry

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has accessioned Henry's 1973 series, Prosody Drawings, a delicate series of resin emulsion on plexiglass boxes.

  Prosody Drawings  And  Prosody Landscape Drawings , 1973, on view at Pioneer Works

Prosody Drawings And Prosody Landscape Drawings, 1973, on view at Pioneer Works

  Prosody Drawings  series : Watermill in Pyrrhics/Caesuras , 1973

Prosody Drawings series: Watermill in Pyrrhics/Caesuras, 1973

The thick emulsion records only the scansion marks ( ̆) and (/) of the poems referred to in the title. In prosody/landscape, Henry records the visual scene outside his window in terms of scansion marks, translating a visual image into the elements of poetic analysis. The viscosity of the emulsion meant that scissors were needed to cut it, and so like contour drawing, all the movements of artist’s the hand are recorded on the plexiglass. By putting the media behind the support surface, Henry worked to break down the divide between background and foreground, media and support.

  Interiors  series :   Cadmium-Vermillion (Barium) Red, Medium – Studio , 1978

Interiors series: Cadmium-Vermillion (Barium) Red, Medium – Studio, 1978

Two large-scale installations in the 1978 Interiors series, Cadmium-Vermillion (Barium) Red, Medium – Studio, and Pure Cadmium Red, Medium – Bath, have gone to the Brooklyn Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art, respectively.

The Sammlung Hoffmann collection, in Berlin, acquired three paintings from Henry's seminal 1971 body of work, Wet Grounds.

Clocktower Gallery Exhibition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Clocktower Gallery presents rarely seen works by post-Minimalist painter Dale Henry

(October 01, 2013 - New York, NY) The Clocktower Gallery presents Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York, an exhibition of painting, sculptural works and writing by Dale Henry, exhibited in the historic galleries of the Clocktower. The exhibition presents bodies of work not seen since the 1970’s, and in many cases, never shown.

Henry was a productive and respected figure in New York from the mid 1960’s to late 1970’s. His works were shown in renowned institutions including the Clocktower Gallery and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, and his gallerist, John Weber, was one of the best at the time. Henry worked primarily with paint, resin, glass and wood, creating diverse and challenging post-minimalist and conceptual bodies of work that not only embodied key artistic concerns of the period, but were often precursors. Many of Henry’s artworks were conceived as parts of a cohesive series and installed site-specifically, while exploring, experimenting with, and deconstructing medium and light. Henry wrote extensively about his inspiration from Western painting and history, and his work’s resulting conceptual basis.

 Dale Henry,  Wet Grounds , 1971, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry, Wet Grounds, 1971, installation at the Clocktower Gallery.
Photo by Dave Potes.

 Dale Henry,  Wet Grounds , 1971, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry, Wet Grounds, 1971, installation at the Clocktower Gallery.
Photo by Dave Potes.

One of Henry’s most unusual and memorable works was his installation at P.S.1 for the 1976 inaugural exhibition, Rooms, where the artist used decaying wall paint, carved walls and Fontana-style slits in the canvas to create site-specific paintings. He was one of the few painters included in the exhibition, and one of the few to create not a painting, but a true, three-dimensional installation.

In spite of his artistic achievements, Henry became increasingly disenchanted with the commercialization of the art world, and felt that he was underappreciated and misunderstood by critics, dealers, and even his peers. In 1986, he permanently left New York for the remote town of Cartersville, Virginia. There, Henry all but stopped making work, instead dedicating the last decades of his life to obsessively inventorying, annotating, packing, and organizing his oeuvre, with the goal of bequeathing it to someone who would take it on as a project, and keep the work outside of any commercial appraisal or venture. Henry eventually determined that Alanna Heiss, and the Clocktower Gallery, should be this individual. Henry gradually cut all ties with all but a handful of friends and peers, and died in September, 2011, a nearly forgotten artist.

 Dale Henry,  Stretcher Bar Drawings , 1976, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry, Stretcher Bar Drawings, 1976, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York opens at the Clocktower Gallery on Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, and is curated by Alanna Heiss, Clocktower Founder and Director, with Associate Curator Beatrice Johnson.

 Dale Henry,  Camera Obscura , 1996, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry, Camera Obscura, 1996, installation at the Clocktower Gallery. Photo by Dave Potes.

Dale Henry was born in 1931 to a humble, rural family in Anniston, Alabama. Throughout his childhood, Henry lived on and off with eight different families in Alabama, Nevada, Oklahoma and Michigan, and attended twelve schools. At 17, he left home and hitchhiked to Houston to begin working as an artist. He took life-drawing classes at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, his only formal artistic training. In 1951, he moved to San Francisco, where he began to exhibit his work through the support of curator Ross Smith. Henry moved to New York in 1967. Until 1986, Henry's work was shown at Fischbach Gallery, the John Weber Gallery , the Clocktower Gallery and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, among others. Henry’s last show, a site-specific installation entitled Naturalism in Late Twentieth Century, was presented at Sarah Lawrence College in 1985, and curated by Henry’s good friend Marcia Hafif. From 1970 to 1986, Henry was a professor at the School of Visual Arts. In 1977, Henry moved part-time to Bullville, NY, and in 1986, left New York permanently for Cartersville, VA, where he died in September, 2011.