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Herbert Brown

Last Name: 
Brown
First Name: 
Herbert

Herb Brown (b. 1923) is a second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter and member of the NOart! movement. As a young man, he took advantage of the GI Bill to study art at the Boston Museum School, and later moved to Brooklyn to study with the renowned German Expressionist Max Beckmann at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. In 1950, Brown moved to 10th Street; 'The 10th Street Scene,' as it was known, played a significant role in the development of American art during that decade, as it was primarily home to the artists and critics of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In 1966, Brown's studio, and most of his life's work, was destroyed in the famous 23rd Street fire, the biggest fire in New York City until September 11, 2001. Influenced by the Jewish painter Soutine and other European Expressionists, Brown's earliest paintings are largely figurative and painted over found subway advertisements. His 1960s series of erotic paintings, shunned to a closet because of obscenity laws, were not exhibited until 2010. In early 1960, Brown began painting on the glass of television sets, allowing the image and sound of the station to interact with the static painting. These early experiments, honored with a 2009 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, preceded Nam June Paik's earliest experiments with television by several years. Brown's works are in the collections of several public institutions, such as the Chrysler Museum of Art and Cigna Corporation, as well as numerous respected private collections.