(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Self-taught artist Paul Graubard is the subject of a retrospective exhibition of his paintings at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in December 2014. The show opens Friday, December 5 and runs through December 27. There will be a reception with the artist on Friday, December 5, from 5 to 8pm during the city’s First Fridays Artswalk. Musician Paul Green will perform klezmer music during the reception.
“Graubard Retrospective” will feature paintings of dancers, scenes from the North, circus paintings and Judaica, and will feature a recent painting, “My Tribe,” a triptych that measures 48×108 inches. Each panel consists of a large Jewish star that is filled with portraits of prominent Jews, ranging from Moses to Woody Allen to Jonas Salk to Emma Goldman. Each of the 116 portraits is numbered and identified by name and number in the night sky.
Paul Graubard was born in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1932 and grew up in Passaic, N.J., a mill town 15 miles from New York City and 50 years behind the times. He spent his early school years reading, doodling and playing hooky and dropped out in the 10th grade to hitchhike around the country. After taking a high school equivalency exam, he went to college, married and settled down in New York City to raise a family. He worked as a teacher, professor, and a psychologist, always finding work that gave him the autonomy he craved. His eldest daughter’s untimely death from cancer hit him hard, setting off a period of too much smoking and drinking. On a whim, and maybe out of desperation, he started to draw. Two years later he discovered painting, gave up his practice as a psychologist, and has been working full time as a painter since then. He believes that stumbling on art saved his well-being if not his life. He now lives in Lenox, Mass., with his wife, the poet Karen Chase.
Graubard’s work is in the permanent collection of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and the Sanskriti Foundation in Delhi, India, as well as in private collections – including the Seth Rogovoy collection – in America and abroad.
Also in December, Graubard’s work will be exhibited in the window of the Brothership Building on North Streey in Pittsfield.
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 4pm.
The city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is located at 28 Renne Avenue in downtown Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District. It features a gallery/performance space featuring changing exhibitions, classes, meetings and performances; a ceramic studio; a dark room; and nine working artist studios.