Painter and sculptor Robert Kushner (b. 1949) is one of the few American decorative painters of our era, producing colorful, florally embellished work since 1971. Kushner is also one of the few men who had a key role in the Pattern and Decoration Movement. Originating in New York in the mid-1970s, the movement was one aspect of the reaction against the stark impersonality of Minimal art and also represented a defense of the idea that decorative art is a humanizing influence that should not be regarded as inferior to “fine” art. Many of the artists involved in the movement were women who were interested in exploring how the decorative crafts that have traditionally carried feminine associations could bear renewed, progressive meanings. Notable artists in this group include Joyce Kozloff and Miriam Schapiro. Kushner continues to work in this mode; on the occasion of his twenty-five year retrospective at the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts he noted, “I really believe the public deserves something beautiful.”
Robert Kushner, French Tart (1978). Acrylic on cotton, 96" x 127".
Anderson-Spivy, Alexandra, Robert Kushner, and Holland Cotter. Robert Kushner: Gardens of Earthly Delight. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1997.
Kardon, Janet, and Robert Kushner. Robert Kushner: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, October 9-November 29, 1987. Philadelphia, PA: The Institute, 1987.
Kushner, Robert, and Michael Duncan. Robert Kushner: Wild Gardens. San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2006.