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Jim Kempner Fine Art
New York, NY
Jim Kempner has been an art dealer, based in New York, since 1987. His focus has always been to be accessible to everyone, from the new collector, to the museum curator, to the curious neighbor who walks in off the street. For over three decades he has placed work in major private collections and museums, worldwide. Since moving to Chelsea in the fall of 1997, Jim has created a program that represents nearly 30 artists of different generations, whose work crosses a broad spectrum of mediums, from painting, drawing, and printmaking to sculpture and multi-media installation. Aside from the artists Jim Kempner Fine Art represents, the gallery spotlights work from the mid- to late-20th century. As a leading expert in prints, Jim represents the Dedalus Foundation (Robert Motherwell’s print archive) and has been a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) for over 25 years.
Jim thrives on the relationships he fosters with his artists and his clients. These relationships have led to many artist commissions and projects such as published editions with Bernar Venet, Paula Scher, Robert Indiana, Charlie Hewitt and Rinaldo Frattolillo, as well as Gianfranco Gorgoni’s photographs of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Other significant gallery publications/collaborations include the book Tracks, published in conjunction with the gallery’s 2015 survey exhibition of Rauschenberg’s Tracks series; LigoranoReese’s Line Up portfolio - in collaboration with Dru Arstark (under the name “Madness of Art Editions”) - as well as their 2020 sculpture, The Persistence of Truth. The gallery has worked with Yoko Ono three different times including, in the sculpture garden, her interactive Wish Tree.
Robert Rauschenberg, Made in Tampa Clay Suite installation at Jim Kempner Fine Art
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In 1971, my friend and artist, Charlie Hewitt, was having a miserable winter down on the Bowery. His flat was cold and he was struggling with his art. He remembers grumpily taking a walk and cursing the trash and cardboard boxes that littered the streets. Then he stumbled upon an opening at Leo Castelli's. He walked in and saw cardboard boxes strewn about on the walls. He shook his head. "I was looking for inspiration while cursing what I thought was trash on the streets. Many years later, that's what Rauschenberg did for me as well. Suddenly everywhere I turned I saw art or the potential for anything to become art.
At home I have Rauschenberg's Cardbird Box which I keep under a vitrine. I cherish the looks on the faces of my friends when they try to figure out
why I have a cardboard box situated like a ming vase.
Rauschenberg spent years deeply focused on global and environmental politics but by the beginning of the 70's he needed a respite. From the catalogue to his Cardbirds Exhibition he says: "...a desire built up in me to work in a material or waste and softness. Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes.
Labored commonly with happiness.
43 x 34"
Edition of 250
Price upon request
Cardbird Door (from Cardbird Series)