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 David Rabinowitch  (1943 - )

About: David Rabinowitch
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Ontario / Germany/Canada      Known for: minimalist sculpture, graphics, printmaking, art theoretician

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BIOGRAPHY for David Rabinowitch
Facts/Data
Birth
1943 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
 
Lived/Active
New York/Ontario / Germany/Canada


Courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada
© 2001 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Often Known For
minimalist sculpture, graphics, printmaking, art theoretician

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
David George Rabinowitch BA, ARCA  (b. 1943)

“…the concept for Rabinowitch was not simply form as composition, but the process of how we think about sculpture…” – Professor Robert C. Morgan Ph.D., Pratt Institute, New York (2008) (1)

David George Rabinowitch (AKA: David Rabinowitch) is a sculptor, graphic artist, draughtsman, printmaker and art theoretician.  His works have been the subject of numerous exhibitions and serious study around the world for over forty years. They are also in dozens of museums in Canada, the USA and Europe. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and several Canada Council Grants.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; he has lived in New York since 1972, and has had a second home in Wiesbaden, Germany. (2)

His mediums include steel in several forms – galvanized, hot rolled, solid mild, enameled, plated with zinc, etc. He also works in aluminum, wood, concrete, charcoal, pastel, graphite, felt pen, ink, mixed mediums, woodblock prints*, monotypes*, etching*, Ozalid print*, aquatint* and lithography*. His subjects include those of pure abstraction – shape, texture, color; as well as the nature of art itself.  His style is Minimalism*. (3)

Quote - “…the more I learned of his [Rabinowitch’s] work, which has developed in highly complex ways for more than three decades, the more I realized the difficulty of finding adequate ways of responding to his body of work. The individual pieces themselves were highly demanding, and the internal logic of his development took time to understand. Art as entertainment; art as political critique or social commentary: these have never been of interest to him. Nor have the problems dealt with by post minimalist or post modernist American art been relevant to his achievement. His sculpture and drawing have remained firmly grounded, always, in the concerns of what might be called High Modernism… Rabinowitch’s fundamental philosophical concern, I believe, is with the structure of perception as a source of knowledge, and the relation of everyday visual experience to the specifically aesthetic experiences provided by art.” –   Professor David Carrier Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Bomb Magazine 1997). (4)

Rabinowitch has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Western Ontario (1966); however, as an artist he is a largely self taught. He is a devoted reader of Spinoza, Einstein, Kant, Plato and Hume; his works are also informed by architecture, science, music and art history. (5)

Quote: “When I first worked on the sculpture in Sonoma and Steven Oliver [Oliver Ranch Foundation] said I could carve the concrete directly, I immediately knew how to proceed. I knew that the sculpture would be involved with my experience of the totem poles in Toronto. It was a delightful moment when I realized they were a necessary context. I mean, I’ve connected to those a lot of times in different ways … I began to draw them [the totem poles at the Royal Ontario Museum] in 1960.  I’ve looked at them off and on my whole life. I still think there are no greater works in the world.” – David Rabinowitch (2003) (6)

Quote: “A true polymath, Rabinowitch is also a writer, composer and printmaker. All of his activities, however, are permeated with references to the written word. He thinks of his drawings as “little experiments,” that — like the conceptual notes he often makes about his work — help clarify the properties and connections of his physical objects.”  – “Stung by Splendor”, exhibition at Cooper Union, NYC, essay by Thomas Micchelli and Robert Rindler (1997). (7)

His art has been publicly exhibited since the late 1960s. The full list of public and commercial venues from his CV has over 100 solo shows and over 300 group shows; it includes numerous exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as shows in most other major Canadian museums. It also includes major venues in the USA such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles); and in Europe such as the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (Paris), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (Germany), Kunstmuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), and the National Gallery (Prague, Czech Republic). (8)

Hundreds of Rabinowitch’s works are in the permanent collections of museums in Canada, the USA and Europe. According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* there are 316 David Rabinowitch works in the permanent collections of Canadian museums. They include: Museum London (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec) and the National Gallery of Canada. (9)

In the USA his works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Fogg Art Museum (Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts), St. Louis Art Museum (Missouri), Washington University Gallery of Art (St. Louis, Missouri), Berkeley Art Museum (University of California, Berkeley, California), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). They are also in the museum sculpture park collections of the Chinati Foundation (Marfa, Texas) and Oliver Ranch (Sonoma County, California).

In Europe his works are in the permanent collections of the Arp Museum (Remagen, Germany), Collecció d’Art Contemporani (Fundació "la Caixa," Barcelona, Spain), Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany), New National Gallery (Berlin, Germany), Goetz Collection (Munich, Germany), Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum (Krefeld, Germany), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (Germany), Museum for Contemporary Art (Karlsruhe, Germany), Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), Musée de Grenoble (France), Marzona Sculpture Park Collection (Udine, Italy), Museum of Modern Art (Lodz, Poland) and the City Museum for Contemporary Art (Ghent, Belgium). (10)

Among Rabinowitch’s numerous awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975; Canada Council Grants in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974; and the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 1976. (11)

Footnotes:

(1) Source: Peter Blum Gallery (2008) – http://peterblumgallery.com/press/sculpture/march-2008/new-york-david-rabinowitch-peter-blum-gallery.

(2) Sources: “Canadian Who's Who 2004”, by Elizabeth Lumley; and the Chinati Foundation – http://www.chinati.org/visit/openhouse.php. Note: David Rabinowitch’s twin brother is sculptor Royden Leslie Rabinowitch (see AskART).

(3) Sources: AskART Images; and museum illustrations and descriptions of mediums in the Canadian Heritage Information Network* data base.

(4) Source: BOMB magazine winter/1997 –  http://bombsite.com/issues/58/articles/2011.

(5) Source: Canadian Who's Who 2004, by Elizabeth Lumley (see AskART book references); and “Stung by Splendor”, exhibition at Cooper Union, NYC, essay by Thomas Micchelli and Robert Rindler (1997) – http://www.cooper.edu/art/exhibitions/stung/rabino.html.

Notes:  A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald adds, ‘he attended the Ontario College of Art, Toronto’, but provides no dates. Contemporary Artists (1977), by Colin Naylor and Genesis P-Orrige adds, he was a, “Member of the Faculty, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 1974-75.” (See both in AskART book references).

(6) Rabinowitch is referring to the four monumental (one is 78 feet tall) 19th century totem poles at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto carved by the Nisga’a and Haida Indians of British Columbia’s Northwest Coast. The quote is taken from a  2003 interview with Joan Waltemath of The Brooklyn Rail – http://www.brooklynrail.org/2003/10/art/david-rabinowitch.  For more on totems, see Haida Art in the AskART glossary.

(7) Source: “Stung by Splendor”, exhibition at Cooper Union, NYC, essay by Thomas Micchelli and Robert Rindler (1997) – http://www.cooper.edu/art/exhibitions/stung/rabino.html.

(8) Source for exhibitions: CV posted by Peter Blum Gallery

Note: Rabinowitch became an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* in 1972, however it does not appear to have any presence in his exhibition history.
 
(9) The Canadian and American museums listed in the text have been confirmed by the author, using the specific museum’s website, Siris*, or the Canadian Heritage Information Network*. There are many more Canadian and American museums listed in Rabinowitch’s CV.
 
(10) Source for European museums: Peter Blum Gallery. http://peterblumgallery.com/artists/david-rabinowitch/biography

(11) Award sources: A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references); The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation –  http://www.gf.org/fellows/all?index=r; and the Canada Council for the Arts -  http://www.canadacouncil.ca/cgi-bin/MsmGo.exe?grab_id=0&page_id=5556&query=rabinowitch&hiword=rabinowitch%20.

Note: The Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards for outstanding artistic achievement by Canadian mid-career artists are worth $15,000 each. From their inception in 1971 through 2003 (no awards in 2004) they have been awarded annually to 3 or 4 visual artists or musicians per year. In 2005, a 7 category system was introduced to recognize the disciplines – Dance, Inter-Arts [circus art], Media Arts, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing and Publishing. Since that time 7 awards, one in each discipline, have been granted every year. Source: Canada Council for the Arts – http://www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/nw127246951630625000.htm.

For a list of all Lynch-Staunton winners see – http://www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/victor_martin_lynch_staunton/xn127238413539375000.htm.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.

 
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

 





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