Press Releases

Exhibition Announcement - “Louise Fishman: A Retrospective”

Release date: September 12, 2017

Exhibition Announcement - “Louise Fishman: A Retrospective” image

September 30 - December 22, 2017

[scroll to bottom for downloadable documents]

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is delighted to be the only southern venue for the exhibition, Louise Fishman: A Retrospective. Organized by curator Helaine Posner for the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, the exhibition is the first comprehensive look at five decades of Fishman’s artistic production and the range, authenticity, and originality of her work.

Featuring more than fifty painting and drawings from 1968 to the present, the exhibition traverses Fishman’s career from hard-edge grid paintings to recent work inspired by late Venetian Renaissance painting and the work of British artist J.M.W. Turner.  Filling the span between these bodies of work are the “Angry Paintings” of the 1970s; “Remembrance and Renewal”—works acknowledging her Jewish heritage and made in response to a transformative trip to Auschwitz and Terezin; and the large gestural abstract paintings for which she is best known.

Fishman was highly influenced by the physicality and emotional force of Abstract Expressionism as practiced by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, embracing it but re-defining it into works both more visually poetic and intimate in tone. The 1960s were a tumultuous time on many fronts: The women’s liberation movement was emerging and spawned consciousness-raising groups, while gay and lesbian groups struggled for recognition and acceptance; and Fishman became an activist. It was at this point that she began to approach male-gendered forms of painting as a feminist and lesbian. The indignation that Fishman and others in her woman’s group felt found full expression in a series of 30 “Angry Paintings,” each a kind of “portrait” of friends who were artists, writers, and spokeswomen for the feminist cause. 

Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Fishman was raised in a conservative Jewish family. Both her mother and paternal aunt were practicing artists who had studied at the Barnes Foundation school. After receiving her BFA degree from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fishman moved to New York City.

In 1990, a fire at her NYC studio destroyed her tools, equipment and a number of paintings. She moved upstate and, in 1997, began introducing calligraphic marks into her work, derived from Hebrew, Japanese, and Chinese writing. But as Nancy Princenthal, in one of the exhibition catalogue essays points out, abstraction itself operates like a language that is at once structural, metaphoric, and literal.

Louise Fishman: A Retrospective is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, and curated by Helaine Posner, Chief Curator. Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and by Susan and James Dubin. Additional support has been provided by Lauren B. Cramer, Helen Stambler Neuberger and James Neuberger, and Sara and Michelle Vance Waddell. Support is also provided by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and by the Purchase College Foundation.

Image: Louise Fishman, Crossing the Rubicon, 2012, oil on linen, 66 x 57 in. Private Collection. Image: Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York.

Related Program

Artist Conversation and Public Reception
Friday, October 6, 6 pm
6 pm:
Conversation between the artist and Weatherspoon Director, Nancy Doll. No reservations required. Location: Museum auditorium. Free. 7-8:30 pm: Public Reception. No reservations required. Free. 

Public Tour Louise Fishman: A Retrospective
Thursday, October 26, 6:15-6:45 pm
Join us for a pre-concert tour of Louise Fishman: A Retrospective before indulging in the contemporary sounds of Blue Mountain: Forecast. Free. 

Concert - Blue Mountain: Forecast
Thursday, October 26, 7-8 pm
Blue Mountain: Forecast presents a concert of colorful depictions and visual references through sound. Experience moods and environments that have inspired composers and visual artists for centuries: calm, playful, angry, passionate and political. Concert begins at 7pm in the Museum atrium. Free and open to the public. This concert is made possible with generous support from Lincoln Financial Foundation.

Blue Mountain: Forecast is an adventurous, flexible ensemble based in North Carolina. As members of orchestras and university faculties across the state, BMF collectively presents new and innovative music in relaxed, alternative performance spaces while mixing aesthetic styles and trends. This program features musicians John Beck, Michael Burns, Jacqui Carrasco, Carla Copeland-Burns, Jim Douglass, Susan Fancher, and composer-curator Eric Schwartz. This concert is made possible with generous support from Lincoln Financial Foundation. Free. 

Panel Discussion: Feminism and Gay Women's Lives
Thursday, November 2, 7 pm
Participants: Dawn Chaney, Sydney Gingrow, Arlene Gutterman; moderated by Nancy Doll. Free. 

Noon @ the 'Spoon Public Exhibition Tour
Tuesday, December 12, 12 pm
Noon @ the 'Spoon features a 20-minute tour of a new exhibition. Offered every second Tuesday of the month. Free.  

For a complete, updated list of programs, visit:

Guided + Self-Guided Visits
School and community groups are invited to visit the museum on their own or via a docent-led tour. Admission and tours are free. Please contact us at least three weeks in advance to schedule your visit, 336.334.5770 or

About the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets modern and contemporary art for the benefit of its multiple audiences, including university, community, regional, and beyond. Through these activities, the museum recognizes its paramount role of public service, and enriches the lives of diverse individuals by fostering an informed appreciation and understanding of the visual arts and their relationship to the world in which we live.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was founded by Gregory Ivy in 1941 and is the earliest of any art facilities within the UNC system.  The museum was founded as a resource for the campus, community, and region and its early leadership developed an emphasis—maintained to this day—on presenting and acquiring modern and contemporary works of art. A 1949 bequest from the renowned collection of Claribel and Etta Cone, which included prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse and other works on paper by American and European modernists, helped to establish the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection. Other prescient acquisitions during Ivy’s tenure included a 1951 suspended mobile by Alexander Calder, Woman by Willem de Kooning—a pivotal work in the artist’s career that was purchased in 1954, and the first drawings by Eva Hesse and Robert Smithson to enter a museum collection.
In 1989, the museum moved into its present location in The Anne and Benjamin Cone Building designed by the architectural firm Mitchell/Giurgola. The museum has six galleries and a sculpture courtyard with over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space. The American Alliance of Museums accredited the Weatherspoon in 1995 and renewed its accreditation in 2005 and 2015.

Collections + Exhibitions
The permanent collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum is one of the foremost of its kind in the Southeast.  It represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Of the more than 6,000 works in the collection are pieces by such prominent figures as Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Cindy Sherman, Al Held, Alex Katz, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Louise Nevelson, Mark di Suvero, Deborah Butterfield, and Robert Rauschenberg. The museum regularly lends to major exhibitions nationally and internationally.

The Weatherspoon also is known for its adventurous and innovative exhibition program. Through a dynamic annual calendar of twelve to fourteen or more exhibitions and a multi-disciplinary educational program for audiences of all ages, the museum provides an opportunity for audiences to consider artistic, cultural, and social issues of our time and enriches the life of our university, community, and region.


Weatherspoon Art Museum
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Spring Garden and Tate Streets, PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, 336.334.5770,

For more information or press images, contact: 
Loring Mortensen, 336-256-1451,


Download the PDF version
Download the Microsoft Word version

Contact our Public & Community Relations Officer, Loring Mortensen, for press-related requests, images and information.

Back to all Press Releases