There is Nothing Superficial About the Art of Eric Fischl

eric-fischl-bad-boyAmerican painter, sculptor and print-maker Eric Fischl was born in New York City on March 9, 1948. Fischl grew up in suburban Long Island until his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1967.

  • His artistic education began at Phoenix College, followed by a year at the Arizona State University with further studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1972.
  • Fischl then moved to Chicago, taking a job as a guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art. His own website recounts, “It was in Chicago that [he] was exposed to the non-mainstream art of the Hairy Who [along with] the underbelly, carnie world of Ed Paschke and the hilarious sexual vulgarity of Jim Nutt”.
  • In 1974, Fischl accepted a teaching position at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where he met fellow artist April Gornik, with whom he moved back to New York City in 1978 and later married. (The couple now live in Sag Harbor, in New York).

His first New York City solo show was at Edward Thorp Gallery in 1979, during a time when suburbia was not considered a legitimate genre for art. His early work focused on the rift between what was experienced and what could not be said. Fischl’s website describes his later influences developing “against a backdrop of alcoholism and a country club culture obsessed with image over content.

eric-fischl-sleepwalkerHe has received critical attention for depicting the dark, disturbing undercurrents of mainstream American life; including themes of adolescent sexuality and voyeurism; such as Sleepwalker (1979) [see above] which depicts an adolescent boy masturbating into a children’s pool and Bad Boy (1981) [main picture for article] which depicts young boys looking at older women shown in provocative poses on a bed.

Fischl’s works are represented in many galleries and museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modem Art in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, St. Louis Art Museum, Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, Musee Beaubourg in Paris, The Paine Weber Collection, and many others.

Fischl is a senior critic at the New York Academy of Art. He is also the founder, President and lead curator for America: Now and Here, a multi-disciplinary exhibition of 150 of America’s most celebrated visual artists, musicians, poets, playwrights, and filmmakers who have focused on American identity through the arts.

‘Bad Boy‘ he may be, ‘Sleepwalker‘ – who knows; but I will never wish ill of the art of Fischl for his contribution to modern art is most certainly beneficial!

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