‘A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman’

Poets Bill Berskon and Ron Padgett have curated a lovely exhibition of the work of the artist George Schneeman now on view at Poets House in Battery Park.  A friend to the curators, as well as many other notable New York City poets,  “A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman” showcases 40 years worth of Schneeman’s  paintings, collages, prints, and books, made in collaboration with his poet friends, as well as a large number of his portraits of them.

George Schneeman and Bill Berkson

George Schneeman and Bill Berkson, ‘Stars Fell’, 2008 (Photo courtesy Cameron Blaylock)

Hung in between the stacks of books, in the narrow hallways, and in the reading rooms, the show’s informal display echoes the loose, seemingly dashed-off quality of the collaborative paintings and drawings.  A sense of the artist and his poets’ sheer joy in the act of improvisational creation comes through strongly.

George Schneeman Poet Portraits

George Schneeman, Portraits of poets, left to right: Larry Fagin, John Godfrey, Ron Padgett (Photos courtesy Cameron Blaylock)

More formally displayed are Schneeman’s delicately rendered portraits of his poet friends, including Allen Ginsberg, Eileen Myles, and Anne Waldman, housed under plexiglass in a small round gallery near the entrance. Done in fresco on small, nearly square pieces of cinderblock, they show a delighful tenderness for his subjects.  Also housed in the gallery are a number of poetry books with covers designed by the artist, as well as small collages and books made in collaboration with poets.

While Schneeman died in 2009, there will be a panel discussion and poetry reading in conjunction with the exhibition, on Saturday, April 26, from 3:00PM to 6:00PM with collaborators Michael Brownstein, Larry Fagin, Alice Notley, Maureen Owen, Harris Schiff, Anne Waldman, Lewis Warsh, Bill Berkson, Ron Padgett and Peter Schjeldahl.

Admission to the exhibition is free.  Admission to the discussion and reading is $10, $7 for students and seniors, free to Poets House members.

A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman will be on view through September 20, 2014, at Poets House, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282