New York, NY–September 22, 2021–Hollis Taggart is pleased to announce the first major exhibition about the trailblazing collector and gallerist Martha Jackson to take place in New York City. From 1953 to 1969, New York's Martha Jackson Gallery displayed the work of many young, emerging artists who would go on to become internationally renowned household names, including Grace Hartigan, Alfred Jensen, Willem de Kooning, Louise Nevelson, and Bob Thompson. Wild and Brilliant: The Martha Jackson Gallery and Post-War Art will feature over twenty works that were either exhibited at The Martha Jackson Gallery or which are similar to works that were shown there. The exhibition, on view from November 18 through December 30, 2021 at Hollis Taggart's Chelsea location, will also include archival materials, such as letters, photographs, and exhibition catalogues, from the Martha Jackson Gallery Archives at the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery.
Martha Jackson (1907–1969) was born Martha Kellogg in Buffalo, New York. In 1940, she married attorney David Jackson, with whom she moved to Baltimore during the war. While there, Jackson studied art history at John Hopkins University and the Baltimore Museum of Art before returning to Buffalo and being appointed to the advisory council of the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery). In 1949, newly divorced, she moved to New York City, where she became the student and friend of the artist and teacher Hans Hofmann, who encouraged her to open a gallery. In 1953, the Martha Jackson Gallery opened at 22 East 66th Street. Jackson quickly became known for her artist-centred approach, exceptional eye, and embrace of experimental and international perspectives.
Jackson's exhibition program challenged the national and stylistic boundaries that shaped the art world during the mid-twentieth century. In her autobiography, Jackson wrote, 'My basic objective for the gallery was to create a place where artists of similar vitality and creativeness from diverse countries and working in a diversity of personal idioms could be brought together.' Promoting an understanding of post-war art as shaped by cultural crosscurrents, Jackson brought together artists from around the world, offering New York debuts to artists such as Karel Appel, Sam Francis, Alfred Jensen, Louise Nevelson, and Bob Thompson. The Martha Jackson Gallery was also instrumental in promoting Abstract Expressionism, exhibiting the work of Norman Bluhm, Willem de Kooning, Michael Goldberg, and Adolph Gottlieb, among others.
'Over the past decade, through both the artists we choose to represent and the exhibitions we organise, the gallery team and I have been striving to tell a more comprehensive story of post-war art movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Op art,' said Hollis Taggart. 'We're thrilled to continue this with Wild and Brilliant, which illuminates the contributions of a trailblazing female gallerist, who, despite her seminal role in shaping art history, remains less well-known than her male contemporaries.' Curated by art historian and former Director of Exhibitions at Hollis Taggart, Jillian Russo, Wild and Brilliant brings together works by a number of artists Hollis Taggart has worked with or exhibited before, including Norman Bluhm, Sam Francis, Grace Hartigan, Hans Hofmann, and Sven Lukin, among others.
Works featured in Wild and Brilliant that were displayed in exhibitions at the Martha Jackson Gallery include: John Hultberg's Cloud Drama (from 1962; displayed at Martha Jackson in 1964), Grace Hartigan's Parson Brown, and Sven Lukin's Broken Heart, Open Form (both from 1962; both displayed in solo shows at Martha Jackson that same year). Following Jackson's death in 1969, her son, David Anderson, donated her collection to the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., who celebrated her legacy in exhibitions in 1975 and 1985. Wild and Brilliant is the first major exhibition about Martha Jackson's work and legacy in New York City.
About Hollis Taggart Founded in 1979, Hollis Taggart presents significant works of American art, showcasing the trajectory of American art movements from the Hudson River School to American Modernism and the Post-War and Contemporary eras. Its program is characterised by a deep commitment to scholarship and bringing to the fore the work of under-recognised artists. The gallery has sponsored several catalogue raisonné projects, most recently for the American Surrealist artist Kay Sage, and has been instrumental in advancing knowledge of such artists as Alfred Maurer, Arthur B. Carles, and more recently, Theodoros Stamos, Marjorie Strider, and Michael (Corinne) West. In the summer of 2019, the gallery announced the formal expansion of its primary market business and focus on the presentation of contemporary work. It continues to expand its roster of contemporary artists, focusing on emerging and mid-career talents. With more than 40 years of experience, Hollis Taggart is widely recognised by collectors and curators for its leadership, expertise, and openness, on matters of art history, and market trends and opportunities. The gallery's flagship location is in Chelsea, and it also operates a space in Southport, Connecticut.
Press release courtesy Hollis Taggart.