Articles and Reviews
Bibliography article icon

Eleanor Heartney, Jackie Lipton’s Paintings
Published by Danette Koke Fine Art, 1994

Bibliography article icon

John Ash, Jackie Lipton’s New Work,
Published by Danette Koke Fine Art, 1995

Bibliography article icon

Eleanor HEARTNEY, New Art Examiner 1984
“Jackie Lipton at the Condeso Lawler Gallery”

Bibliography article icon

Ken Sofer, Art in America, New Paintings by Jackie Lipton at the Condeso/Lawler Gallery, NYC, 1985


Jackie Lipton’s


By Eileen Myles


Bibliography article icon

Manuel Maccarula
Exhibition, Jackie Lipton at Corinne Robbins

Bibliography article icon

the Villager

West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Selected Website Listings
Bibliography external website link icon

Provincetown Arts Magazine

Bibliography external website link icon

WOMR Interview on Art Talk with Chris Busa, Part 1

Bibliography external website link icon

Bibliography external website link icon

WOMR Interview on Art Talk with Chris Busa, Part 2

Bibliography external website link icon

Bibliography external website link icon

The Villager

Bibliography external website link icon

Manuel Maccarula

Bibliography external website link icon

Kate Beck

Bibliography external website link icon

Books and Catalogues

“A Look Forward, A Look Back” catalogue, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1986

“New Visions” catalogue, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1980

IT’S HARD to believe that the Whitney once had

a program for street kids from 1968 to 1975.

Officially it was named the Art Resources Center

and unofficially it was Cherry Street, named

after the street it was on. It’s torn down now.

One of those buildings bought from the city for a

buck but, like others designated for public use,

when the thing that spawned them went away another

deal took hold. I mention this when I look

at and think about the paintings of Jackie Lipton—

lavish interiors—because she was one of those kids

herself: a self-described child of “poets and

painters.” The plural’s significant here, intentionally

vague from a time when those genres were. Or

the society itself got privileged over the genre.

Jackie remained at Cherry Street for as long as the

program did. She was a “peer studio artist” working

with the other kids. Most of whom she now

believes are dead. She had her first show at the

Whitney Museum in 1974, when Laurie Anderson,

then a recent product of the Whitney Program,

was briefly directing the street kid program.

Jackie’s fifty-nine, and once I had seen her work

and thought and then wrote something I asked

what she had in mind. “Something that wakes you

up,” she said. “That shakes you. I mean something

might seem central to a painting but the greater

fact of my work is always simultaneity.” She’s right.

It’s also “anticipatory.” I’m thinking of artists

working in any medium when technology hadn’t

already crowded out the majority of ways of looking

at the world. Yet the artist herself is managing

to presage the world to come in a funky almost

science club way. Like the technology may or may

not yet exist but she’s got the idea. She’s stating

the need. While constructing it on another plane.

I’m thinking of Smithson’s site non-site work or

abstract painting as told by Jackie Lipton. The entire

history of it. Somehow it feels like Web work.

Without leaving the body behind.

On Wednesday I scooted to Brooklyn on the

F to see her show. It’s at Corinne Robbins on Atlantic

Ave. Thirty-one paintings, mostly of

medium dimensions—(16 X 20)—modest-sized I

thought, though about a quarter of the paintings

in the show are “body-sized”—(64 X 52)—and a

couple even larger than that, then a slew of prints,

mostly monochromatic—one a chain of moody

diamonds in pale blue, and one of those diamonds

is rouged up slightly, casting its red light

on the rest. And another bunch . . . a wide color

wash of ecstasy, a rave X.

But her paintings are the thing and they have

enormous depth without being faintly morose.

Jackie makes abstract paintings of all kinds—some

seem kind of ab ex, but with circles; there’s some

early modern, and even some Impressionism. Yet

the show, a collection of six years’ work, coheres.

It feels like a vivid sampler, tiny visitations, abutting

moves, from the entire history of abstract

painting, a bunch of clicks.

I think of this show as mainly yellow (though

it’s many-colored) but yellow is certainly the predominant

experience of the show. Advertising has

proved that yellow is the color people love the

most. Is it just the sun? A buoyant public energy

informs her paintings though it comes from the

inside out. One I’m looking at is from her Breath

to Breath series. I really hate her titles. They’re sort

of touchy-feely and the work isn’t. From the bottom

of the price list I learn most titles are “courtesy

of Patti Smith with her permission.” Oh well.

Nobody ever claimed Patti is a vanguard poet.

The painting I’m standing in front of is fingerpainting-

y. Tactile. Thick bars of painted light tug

down the frame like an obstruction you’re viewing

a film through: a weighty scrim. Others pull

across. The energy is bracing and vivid. The honest

and scrappy action on the surface of the canvas

implies an interior to the painting while not

giving us much information about it. Other than

that it feels pretty good in there. It feels like a studio

where even more painting’s taking place. You

feel like you’re being given a piece of the map, just

a crop. Jackie’s privy to the entire vision though

she’s painting just this.

Ghost Dance, which I found downstairs (take a

left at a couple of fried eggs at the foot of the

stairs—yeah it’s a couple of fried eggs and furniture.

Just a curl.) possessed a vaguer and more interesting

squalor than Bonnard. I mean thinking

of those rooms of his where a door is open and a

woman is coming in but you hardly see her. Jackie

gives you less. There is no woman in the room.

There is maybe a spoon. A scoop shape. And

again the feeling, a dull tingle. And its roundness

fans out. You get it all in a bad video way, I mean

the space, the lighting one is not supposed to like

but helplessly we dwell in. This is not all presence

but all depth—regaling in its own perceptual moment—

when you’re standing there in your greasy

hands with a day’s schedule. These are the art. Is it

feminist work when there’s no woman. When it’s

all schedule. An index of color and a map of time.

You’re her and everything there is. The work simply

slows down, changes you. That seems immense.

Jackie’s mentor was Paul Brach, the New York

painter who died in 2007 but in his midlife

headed west to ride horses and to design the pedagogical

approach that informed Cal Arts, not a

big painting school at all. He came back to New

York. Jackie gleaned so much from Brach—both

teaching and painting. She’s spent her adult life

teaching art to autistic kids for the Board of Ed

and now works in the childhood and adolescent

Psych ward at Bellevue. The city keeps defunding,

deciding who doesn’t need art anymore, but she

manages to alight on the next right occasion. The

painting I turned toward when I entered the

show—a pouring abstract grey, a painting I felt I

already knew, even owned; but no, this time

there’s a thing in it. Which for me is her great

revelation. A car or a train, a box—something installed

within the force of her painting. To have

that external something in the painting, a sealed

thing that says stop but means go.

The Arthur Dove-looking paintings in what I’d

call the middle of her show were paintings full of

bright round things, areas outlined—my science

geek would call them vacuoles—yet I imagine

them painted one by one. The assortment drawn

quickly and then colored in. I’m not a painter.

Piles of fruit, people, things, a landscapey cumulative

effect, abundance. Seeing is accomplished

by using these portals of activity, this rudimentary

lens, her circle, a web of concurrent choices. Her

early moderns have a bright palette that lauds the

juiciness of the endeavor of working and living.

These are American paintings. In a very William

Dean Howells kind of way. I get giddy thinking

about how much they are not paintings of

agony—while also being not unaware of suffering.

Almost communal choices make these paintings

cohere. Their openness, their transparency of

structure. Their frankness about how the very obstructions

to our intended path—the building’s

pulled down, the train’s stuck, somebody died—

that next thing, something abstract, whatever

happens, is what keeps us in life. Horrifyingly

true. And that’s her strength here. Her view is

trusty. This very young show by an older person.

I love the fact of Jackie Lipton. The continuing

newness of her game.

EILEEN MYLES is a poet (Sorry,Tree) who writes fiction

(Chelsea Girls, Cool for You) and an art writer and

journalist whose The Importance of Being Iceland,

a collection of writings on art, culture, and queerness for

which she received a Warhol/Creative Capital grant, will

be out in July from Semiotext(e)/MIT. She is Professor

Emeritus of Writing & Literature at UC San Diego. She

lives in New York


Jackie Lipton’s


By Eileen Myles