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Susan Rothenberg

9 January – 29 February 2020
Sperone Westwater, New York
art gallery with paintings
art gallery with paintings
art gallery with paintings
art gallery with paintings
art gallery with paintings

Press release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to present eight new paintings and six works on paper by Susan Rothenberg for the artist’s twelfth solo show at the gallery.


Inspired by the artist’s surroundings in New Mexico, the animals and birds in these new works – pack rats, doves, and ravens – are caught in intense, fleeting moments. Rothenberg’s brushstrokes convey urgency and movement while building images that not only charge abstraction with representation but also confound figure and ground. These new works signal that she continues to be an independent figure, reimagining painting at a time when a new generation of artists is vitally taking up the question.


Susan Rothenberg’s first New York solo in 1975 took place at 112 Greene Street, an alternative space in SoHo. It consisted of three large paintings of horses. Almost 20 years later Peter Schjeldahl, when writing about Rothenberg’s 1993 Albright-Knox retrospective, called that 1975 exhibition, a “eureka” moment because, for him and some artists, it brought painting back from the dead. He described the critical significance of those paintings as having “introduced symbolic imagery into Minimalist abstraction” and characterized them as having “powerful vulnerability or vulnerable power” simultaneously. Early on, her practice encouraged many other female artists, who continue to regard her with admiration and gratitude. For example, Amy Sillman selected Rothenberg’s 1977 Untitled work on paper for her current curated show at MoMA, “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman – The Shape of Shape.”


Susan Rothenberg has had numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including early solos at Kunsthalle, Basel (1981-82), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1982) and an exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that traveled to seven institutions in the US and abroad (1983-85); a retrospective organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo that traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art (1992-94); a survey at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico (1996-97); “Susan Rothenberg: Paintings from the Nineties” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1999); and an exhibition of drawings and prints at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University that traveled to the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe (1998-99). A survey, “Moving in Place,” was organized by Michael Auping at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and traveled to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe and the Miami Art Museum (2009-11). Her work can be found in important public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Hall Collection; Hirshhorn Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum, New York. In 1987, Rothenberg had her first solo at Sperone Westwater, where she exhibits regularly (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2016).


“Susan Rothenberg” is on view at Sperone Westwater from 9 January – 29 February 2020, opening on 9 January 2020.

For press inquiries, contact Natasha Wolff at +1 212 999 7337 or

Artists in this Exhibition

Exhibition press

Border Crossings logo
Susan Rothenberg
by Gary Pearson
June 2020
the art section logo
Susan Rothenberg
by Nicolette Reim
18 March 2020
The Free Press logo
HiLo Art: We Went to NYC!
by Alan Crichton
3 March 2020
Delicious Line logo
Susan Rothenberg
by Suzanne Unrein
26 February 2020
The Brooklyn Rail logo
Susan Rothenberg
by Alfred Mac Adam
February 2020
Two Coats of Paint logo
Susan Rothenberg: Hope and discontent
by Sharon Butler
27 January 2020