James Biederman

James Biederman

Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: Fine Arts

Competition: US & Canada

University of North Carolina, Pembroke

During his career of almost forty years, James Beiderman has become known both for his talent and for his uncompromising devotion to his art, demonstrated through his teaching and through the exhibitions he mounted for fellow painters at N3 Project Space, which he founded in 1998 in Brooklyn.

Soon after finishing his studies at SUNY New Paltz (B.A., 1969) and Yale University (M.F.A., 1973), with an intervening year in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Mr. Biederman was chosen by his peers for his first solo show, at Artist Space in 1974, which featured his Russian Constructivist-inspired sculptures and constructed drawings of graphite on cut and glued paper. Within a few years, he was mounting constructivist sculptures on the wall and painting them. His sculptures and minimalist drawings, exploring color and planes, were a kind of investigation of the interrelatedness of the two media, that is, between two- and three-dimensional ways of seeing. These early works won him two NEA grants (in drawing, 1979; in sculpture, 1982) and a spot at Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany, in 1982. They also caught the eye of John Weber, who would represent Mr. Biederman for fourteen years, from 1979 through 1994.

In later years his work became less minimalist as he taught himself to paint, grinding the pigments with oil himself. He describes his most recent paintings as having “a clearer and lighter chroma. . . . They relate to the wall sculptures from the 1980s without the weight of the materials. Structures are overlapping, off center, not complete. The eye is in constant movement laterally, and spatially.”

Mr. Biederman’s art has been shown throughout the United States as well as in Germany in scores of group and solo exhibitions, and he has contributed works to numerous charitable causes. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; the Kroller-Mueller Museum in Otterlo, The Netherlands; the National Gallery of Australia in Sydney; and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris are just a few of the institutions that have his work in their permanent collections.

James Biederman has had artist residencies at the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Jentel Foundation, and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony. His work has also been supported by the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Pollock-Krasner, Rauschenberg, Adolf Gottlieb, and Joan Mitchell foundations, and the North Carolina Arts Council. He has held adjunct or visiting positions at Hofstra University, William Patterson University, Western Wyoming Community College, and NYU. Currently he holds the Martha Beach Endowed Chair in the department of art at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. Janet Kurnatowski Gallery in Brooklyn represents his work.


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