A painting by Suzan Frecon, titled vernal breath of plum, dated 2019.
Suzan Frecon

For her contributions to the field of art, Suzan Frecon will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters alongside 17 other new members and three honorary members during its annual Ceremonial on May 18, 2022.

Membership in the Academy is limited to 300 architects, visual artists, composers, and writers who are elected for life and pay no dues. New members were elected by vote of the existing membership. The honor of election is considered the highest form of recognition of artistic merit in the United States.

In addition to its regular membership, the Academy’s American Honorary membership recognizes up to twenty Americans of extraordinary artistic achievement whose work falls outside of or transcends the fields of architecture, art, literature, and music composition, while Foreign Honorary membership celebrates up to seventy-five distinguished architects, artists, writers, and composers from other countries whose work the Academy’s membership greatly admires.

Learn more at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

An installation view of two paintings by Suzan Frecon, titled vermilion mummy and dark lumiere, both dated 2020.

From left to right: Suzan Frecon, vermilion mummy, 2020; Suzan Frecon, hot, and dark lumiere, 2020. Photo by Suzan Frecon

On Wednesday, March 23, Suzan Frecon will give a public lecture hosted by the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago titled the experience of painting. Known for her abstract oil paintings and works on paper, Frecon’s work is made over long stretches of time, embodying the durational activity of painting itself. Inviting the viewer’s sustained attention, Frecon says that these “are not pictures that you look at. They are paintings that you experience.”

Learn more and register for this virtual lecture at the Society for Contemporary Art

Suzan Frecon gave a talk at the Menil Collection in Houston in conjunction with the public opening of the Menil Drawing Institute on November 3. Frecon spoke about the different elements that compose her abstract practice, in which subtle, interacting arrangements of color appear to blur the distinction between matter and transcendence.

Wednesday, November 7, 7–9 PM
Main Building, The Menil Collection
Free and open to the public

First shown in a solo exhibition at David Zwirner in 2010, Frecon’s painting version 13 (2010) is currently on view at the Menil Collection. In 2008, her work was the subject of a large-scale solo exhibition at the museum, titled form, color, illumination: Suzan Frecon painting, which was accompanied by the first major monograph on the artist.

"Ms. Frecon’s images are obviously landscapes," Roberta Smith writes in a review of the artist’s solo exhibition at David Zwirner in 2015, "but they also resemble something stranger: actual sculptures completely flattened against the surface, with traces of light and space lingering behind them that go beyond simple illusionism into actual perception. This balancing of nature and artifice is both exquisite and witty. Part of the physicality of the work stems from Ms. Frecon’s earthy color sense but also from her subtle yet decisive contrasts of matte and shiny surfaces. The paintings have a profoundly odd optical reality that is all their own. They are obdurate objects that don’t quite dwell in our space, which is what makes them so exceptional." In Frecon’s own words, "I have spent my life trying to make art/painting that has the singular purpose of speaking for itself."

Cover of a book titled Tell Me Something Good: Artist Interviews from The Brooklyn Rail, published by David Zwirner Books in 2017.

Tell Me Something Good: Artist Interviews from The Brooklyn Rail brings together 60 of the New York-based journal's most important interviews, and includes conversations with gallery artists Suzan Frecon, Richard Serra, Luc Tuymans, and Lisa Yuskavage. Selected and co-edited by Jarrett Earnest, a frequent Brooklyn Rail contributor, and Lucas Zwirner, Editorial Director at David Zwirner Books, Tell Me Something Good includes an introduction to the project by Phong Bui as well as hand-drawn portraits of all the artists interviewed for the book. Published by David Zwirner Books

Suzan Frecon was the recipient of the 2016 Artist's Legacy Foundation Artist Award. The honor recognized her subtle, meticulous compositions and attention to the physical qualities of her works. Discussing this aspect of her practice, Frecon has said: "I need to mix the colors myself; I need to know how the colors feel—I need to be in touch with everything I do."

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the award, which was celebrated with a video documentary on Frecon and past honorees. For the award, painters and sculptors are anonymously selected by a group of distinguished nominators and jurors with expertise in their fields.

Suzan Frecon

Oil on linen
Overall: 108 x 87 3/8 inches (274.3 x 221.9 cm) Each panel: 54 x 87 3/8 inches (137.2 x 221.9 cm)

Published to accompany Suzan Frecon’s third solo exhibition at David Zwirner in New York in 2015, oil paintings and sun documents the artist’s engagement with natural light, the varying subtleties of which she integrates into the creation of her paintings.

The publication features color plates illustrating fourteen paintings by Frecon, many of which are depicted several times in different types of light and from multiple angles. Also included is an essay by David Cohen, details and installation views of the exhibition, color photographs of the artist’s studio and materials, and an illustrated visual appendix showing a selection of Frecon’s reference sources for the works with commentary written by the artist. Published by David Zwirner Books

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