The Nasher Museum presented Irwin Kremen’s first retrospective, including more than 160 works—collage, painting and sculpture—spanning 40 years of Kremen’s career since he began making art at age 41. The longtime North Carolina resident and Duke emeritus professor of psychology was inspired to make art by poet/potter M.C. Richards, with whom he studied literature at the famous Black Mountain College in the mid-1940s. In 1951, in New York, Richards introduced him to celebrated artists associated with Black Mountain—John Cage, David Tutor and Merce Cunningham—all of whom became close friends and eventually ardent supporters. After playing with different materials, Kremen began to make intensely beautiful collages, mostly created from scraps of weathered paper he gathered during overseas travels. His sculptures are composed of iron, saw blades and steel, among other materials. Kremen’s work has been shown in more than 30 venues at museums and contemporary art centers nationally and abroad.
IMAGE: Irwin Kremen, Countdown 3 (neo-Boogie Woogie), 2003. Paper and acrylic on canvas, 6 1/6 x 5 3/4 inches. Collection of Anya Nicole Fineman. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.