RICHARD TAITTINGER GALLERY is pleased to announce the representation of iconic American artist, Hunt Slonem (b.1971), presenting his first solo show in New York City in close to three years. SPIRIT IN NATURE. This marquee exhibition will showcase the artist’s expansive flora and fauna subject focuses, both in smallscale portraits and rare large-scale works, along with select pieces never presented before–all centered on Hunt’s deep intertwining focus toward the spirit of naturalism across the span of his muti-decade career.
Inspired by Nature and the Spirit of his 60 pet birds that surround the paint stacked easels of his Chelsea studio. Hunt Slonem is renowned for his distinct neoexpressionist style and best known for his series of bunnies, butterflies, and tropical birds.
“There is a unique spirit in the animals, plants, and our living environment— each that hint at a need for care toward our planet and the nature within it.”
After graduating with a degree in painting and art history from Tulane University in New Orleans, Slonem spent several years in the early 1970s living in Manhattan. It wasn’t until Janet Fish offered him her studio in the summer of 1975 that Slonem was able to fully immerse himself in his work. His pieces began showing around New York, propelling his reputation and thrusting him into the city’s explosive contemporary arts scene. He received several prestigious grants, including from Montreal’s Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cultural Counsel Foundation’s Artist Project, for which he painted an 80- foot mural of the World Trade Center in the late 1970s.
Numerous books and monographs have chronicled Slonem’s art, including Bunnies (Glitterari Inc., 2014), Birds (Glitterati Inc., 2017) Butterflies (Glitterati Inc. 2022), and The Bigger Picture (Scala Arts Publishers Inc., 2021) to name a few. His studios and homes have been profiled in such books as The Spirited Homes of Hunt Slonem (Gibbs Smith, 2023), World of Folly (Assouline Publishing, 2018), When Art Meets Design (Assouline Publishing, 2014), and Pleasure Palaces: The Art and Homes of Hunt Slonem (PowerHouse Books, 2007). He also received an introduction to the Marlborough Gallery which would represent him for 18 years.
As Slonem honed his aesthetic, his work began appearing in unique, contextual spaces. By 1995, he finished a massive 6-by-86-foot mural of birds, which shoots across the walls of the Bryant Park Grill Restaurant in New York City.
His charity contribution has resulted to dozens of partnerships, including a wallpaper of his famous bunnies designed specifically with Lee Jofa for the Ronald McDonald House in Long Island. Slonem continues to draw great inspiration from history, forging palpable connections to the past through his art.
Slonem’s works can be found in the permanent collections of 250 museums around the world including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Whitney, the Miro Foundation and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Since his first solo show at the Fischbach Gallery in 1977, Slonem’s work has been showcased internationally hundreds of times, most recently at the Vienna Kunstforum Museum (2023), the Art Museum Riga Bourse, Riga, Latvia European Union (2022), the Siauliai Aušros Museum, Lithuania (2022) and the Osthaus-Museum Hagen, Hagen, Germany (2022).
The opening reception will be at the Richard Taittinger Gallery, 154 Ludlow Street, on September 14th from 6 – 10 PM. The Opening reception is invite only. Spirit in Nature will be in show from September 14th – November 5th.More
For more than five decades artist Hunt Slonem has been painting and reimagining his obsessions: butterflies, birds, bunnies, and portraits of Abraham Lincoln, whom he refers to as his Warhol Marilyn.
The Warhol reference is no fluke. Repetition plays a huge role in his work—and excess and extravagance define his life and art—both he and his brother Jeffrey were frequent habitués of Andy Warhol’s legendary Factory in the 1970s. But unlike Warhol, who famously declared his art to be a mass-produced commodity, Slonem does it all with his own two hands.
In addition to painting multiples of his signature motifs, he sculpts, makes prints, does watercolors, creates installations and collects antique furniture and historic homes—seven of them to be exact: four mansions and three plantations (perhaps too much “Gone with the Wind” as a child?). He even owns an armory.
If not for the pandemic, Slonem might be in Latvia, where he has a major exhibition, or Los Angeles, for the installation of his 700-square foot bunny mural—or perhaps he would be visiting one of his three mansions in Louisiana. Instead, he’s cheerfully working away in his Brooklyn studio, where not even Covid can rein in his childlike urge to pull yet another rabbit out of a hat.
Each morning, when he enters his 30,000 square-foot studio, he warms up by painting bunnies, his most consistent subject. Rendered in almost childlike contour lines, his happy, colorful rabbits feel as if they hopped right out of “Alice in Wonderland.”
“I don’t believe people choose buildings, I believe buildings choose people,” said Hunt Slonem of his latest project, a complete redesign of the Colonel Louis Watres Armory in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I just fell in love with it.”
The acclaimed artist transformed the historic armory, which was built in 1900 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into an artistic design mecca. The space is truly a work of art: from the vibrant, multicolored interiors to the collection of rare items decorated throughout, Slonem’s transformative touch has brought a new life to the 102,000-square-foot space.
The project is the subject of a book recently published by Assouline, featuring Slonem’s work with text by Sara Ruffin Costello. The book takes readers through the Armory room by room, highlighting Slonem’s eclectic work and sense of wonder. Take a peek inside the stunning book and see Slonem’s project up close here.
ARTnews kicked off Frieze Art Week in New York early in partnership with the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District and Vilebrequin to celebrate the third annual Madison Avenue Gallery Walk. ARTnews started the morning with a tour led by Editor-in-Chief Sarah Douglas highlighting several of the important shows on Madison Avenue this spring. Participants this year were able to enjoy exhibitions at nearly 50 galleries and attend presentations led by artists and curators throughout the day. Later in the afternoon, ARTnews closed this action-packed celebration of art by hosting a cocktail hour honoring the launch of Vilebrequin’s limited-edition collection with Hunt Slonem. Commenting on the project, Slonem said, “I was thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Vilebrequin and bring my work to life. The inspirations behind this collaboration were my animal imagery reemerging in the elements, and my turtles returning to water. Vilebrequin’s masterful techniques in craftsmanship have resulted in our swimwear capsule as wearable art to be treasured for years to come.”
Inspired by nature and his 60 pet birds, Hunt Slonem is renowned for his large-scale sculptures and restorations of forgotten historic homes. Bunnies, butterflies and tropical birds burst from his works in a bold and vibrant style that’s unmistakable.
The artist Hunt Slonem has been very prolific at creating paintings – in both small and large scale – devoted to nature, specifically to animals like rabbits and birds and butterflies. (He has also done multiple portraits of Abraham Lincoln, which he was once quoted as describing as his Marilyn Monroe in reference to Andy Warhol’s repetitive portrait of the actress). His works have graced museums and art exhibits and many well-appointed homes.
In celebration of his new book Birds, a catalogue raisonee of sorts with hundreds of avian subjects rendered in every combination possible, from solitary to flocks, from black and white to brilliant, vivid coloring, I caught up with the artist to discuss his love for birds and the best way to enjoy his art.
Just a glimpse of his Manhattan studio makes it clear: The painter Hunt Slonem—the creator of a new line of fabrics, wallpapers, and rugs for Lee Jofa’s Groundworks brand—is a devout maximalist. Pictured above with his parrot Perky and samples from the collection, Slonem shares the 30,000-square-foot loft with, among other things, a menagerie of live birds, loads of antique furniture, marble busts by the dozen, and, of course, masses of his lavishly colored animal paintings. “I’m really into the ‘more is more’ mode,” says the artist, who has fashioned similar environments at the historic houses he owns in Louisiana and upstate New York. “Bare white walls scare me!” he adds. Indeed, with his collection, available in mid-November, Slonem has provided an exuberant antidote to blank spaces.