Final give away

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


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: or (781) 929 1346