“From the Bowery to Bushwick” EtAl Projects, Brooklyn, NY, January 2013

et al projects | 56 Bogart Street | Brooklyn | NY | 11206
info@etalprojects.com | 914.498.8328 | etalprojects.com

et al projects is pleased to present From the Bowery to Bushwick a special exhibition
of Three Men in Hats, 1964 a seminal painting by Lester Johnson.
Lester Johnson (1919-2010) was an artist from the Second Generation of Abstract
Expressionism spending his time between New York City’s Lower East Side and the
summer art colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Johnson was an influential painter
who challenged the Abstract authority, with an avant-garde manifestation of expressionism,
using the figure as the key structural element in his compositions.
Scenes in Johnson’s paintings transcend psychical life and are an exposure to the psyche
of contemporary life. There is a combination of tightness and looseness, colors, textures,
scale and subject. Visual archetypes are often apparent and evoke classical forms in
contemporary climates. Bodies are massed together in throngs of simultaneous behavior
each isolated within a vast group of figures, poignantly blended into the paint.
Three Men in Hats (1964) is one of Johnson’s exemplary paintings during the time he had a
studio on the Bowery, and could witness the movement and interactions of people in the
Lower East Side neighborhood. Three dark silhouettes of men in bowler hats move from
right to left on the canvas plane and crowd and press together to form a tension in the
closeness of the figures.
The brims of their hats align with one another, however their shoulders do not, suggesting
that these men are in motion. The three figures are pushing against the surface and span
the width of the canvas, and appear almost about to walk right off the plane. The painting
should bring about a familiar emotion amongst many New Yorkers of all generations.

opening reception: Friday, January 25, 6-9pm
on view: January 25, 2013 – February 3, 2013
Lester Johnson (1919-2010). His works are included in such public collections as the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of Art, and the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among many others.
For more information, please contact info@etalprojects.com. The gallery is located in the
arts building of 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn and open to the public Thursday –
Sunday, 1pm – 6pm.

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