Don Van Vliet
Works on Paper
New York, 4 East 77th Street # 2
When Don Van Vliet passed away in 2010 in his home state California, he was widely recognized with his stage name Captain Beefhat who had built an exceptional rock and roll career with his band Magic Band. While Van Vliet had come into recognition at the age of 10 as a prodigious sculptor, his musical career put him in the spotlight for decades until he revisited his studio practice from 1980s until his passing. Michael Werner Gallery’s Works on Paper brings attention to drawings and paintings the artist created until 2000, marking the return of the artist’s work to New York after a decade.
With their tempestuous forms and unabashed color spectrums, the works on view do the justice to an artist who built himself a career as an influential rock start. Bold and edgy depictions of the body interrupted by abstract and chaotic smears of color convey phantasmagorical and highly subliminal narratives. “Captain Beefheart continued to release records through the 1970s, though none captured the acclaim of Trout Mask Replica. Van Vliet retired from music after 1982's Ice Cream Cow and began a new career as a painter. For the past three decades he was a rock and roll recluse, though unlike Sly Stone and Syd Barrett he continued to communicate with his audience through his artwork,” said Maura Johnston about the connection between Van Vliet’s musical and artistic careers in a Rolling Stone obituary upon his passing.
Works on Paper runs through September 9, 2017