- MOCRA Past Exhibitions
- Thresholds: Part One
- Jordan Eagles: BLOOD / SPIRIT
- Patrick Graham: Thirty Years
- A Tribute to Frederick J. Brown
- Archie Granot: The Papercut Haggadah
- Adrian Kellard: The Learned Art of Compassion
- James Rosen: The Artist and the Capable Observer
- Good Friday: The Suffering Christ in Contemporary Art
- Michael Byron: Cosmic Tears
- MOCRA at Fifteen: Good Friday
- MOCRA at Fifteen: Pursuit of the Spirit
- Miao Xiaochun: The Last Judgment in Cyberspace
- The Celluloid Bible
- Oskar Fischinger: Movement and Spirit
- Gorky: The Early Years, 1927-1937
- DoDo Jin Ming: Land and Sea
- Junko Chodos: The Breath of Consciousness
- Daniel Ramirez: Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus
- Radiant Forms in Contemporary Sacred Architecture
- Rito, Espejo y Ojo / Ritual, Mirror and Eye
- Tobi Kahn: Avoda
- Tony Hooker: The Greater Good
- Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds
- Robert Farber: A Retrospective, 1985-1995
- Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana
- Bernard Maisner: Entrance to the Scriptorium
- MOCRA: The First Five Years
- Tobi Kahn: Metamorphoses
- Manfred Stumpf: Enter Jerusalem
- Utopia Body Paint: Australian Aboriginal Art
- Steven Heilmer: Pietre Sante | Holy Stones
- Edward Boccia: Eye of the Painter
- Frederick J. Brown: The Life of Christ Altarpiece
- Eleanor Dickinson: A Retrospective
- Ian Friend: The Edge of Belief
- Keith Haring: Altarpiece: The Life of Christ
- Consecrations: The Spiritual in Art in the Time of AIDS
- Post-Minimalism and the Spiritual
- Georges Rouault: Miserere et Guerre
- Body and Soul: Alvin Ailey
- Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art
A Tribute to Frederick J. Brown
MOCRA presents a tribute to the late American painter Frederick J. Brown.
|June 12 - August 26, 2012|
General Exhibition Information
MOCRA was saddened to receive word that American painter Frederick J. Brown passed away on May 5, 2012.
Brown (1945-2012) was one of America's finest and most prolific expressionist artists. His paintings draw on many sources, including his African-American and Choctaw ancestry, his religious upbringing, and the folklore of the South. He referenced religious, historical and urban themes in his work, but was especially noted for his numerous portraits of jazz and blues artists.
In fact, the connection between music and painting was a constant in Brown’s life and art. In a 2005 interview, Brown spoke about the vibrant New York cultural scene in the 1970s:
. . . you had these people all around you who were at the top of their game and of the avant garde scene and of the aesthetic thing. . . . Plus, right in front of me, I saw the work ethic. You could go to their studio or they could come to yours, and you could partake in whatever you wanted to partake in and discuss aesthetics at the highest level. You had all this kind of wisdom, information, feedback and back-and-forth.
Brown had a grand piano in his SoHo loft, which served as a salon for artists and musicians. He called music “the catalyst for much of what I do” and frequently worked on a portrait while listening to the subject’s music.
Brown’s painting shows the influence of the German Expressionists and the American Abstract-Expressionists, especially that of his mentor and friend, Willem de Kooning. He exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, and his paintings are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and the White House, Washington, D.C. In 1988, Brown had the largest retrospective ever given a Western artist by the People's Republic of China, and he is the only Western artist ever to have had an exhibition at China's national museum in Tienanmen Square.
The Life of Christ Altarpiece
Frederick J. Brown, The Life of Christ Altarpiece, 1994-95.
In 1992 Brown offered to execute a large, multi-paneled altarpiece based on the life of Christ for the soon-to-open Museum of Contemporary Religious Art. A generous gift of UMB Banks and the Crosby Kemper Foundations helped make that project a reality. The resulting Life of Christ Altarpiece, dedicated to artist Max Beckmann, is comprised of a central triptych (depicting the Baptism, Descent From the Cross, and Resurrection of Christ), measuring over 15 feet wide; and two large side panels, depicting the Madonna and Child and the Descent into Hell. Through strong brushwork and brilliant coloration, Brown created a moving visual theological reflection on the life of Christ.
The work had its premiere exhibition at MOCRA in 1995, and the paintings have been shown both singly and as an ensemble frequently since. The Madonna and Child, the hallmark piece of the polyptych, is perhaps one of the most readily identifiable works in the MOCRA collection.
MOCRA is pleased to present the complete Life of Christ Altarpiece as a tribute to one of America's finest and most distinctive contemporary painters.