Hunt Slonem American, b. 1951

Overview

Hunt Slonem is undoubtedly one of the most renowned contemporary artists of the 21st century. Working as a painter of animals, portraits, and murals, as well as a sculptor and interior designer, Slonem has garnered widespread acclaim for his signature imagery and vibrant aesthetic. As poet and critic John Asbury observes, "Slonem summons dazzling explosions of the variable life around us that need only to be looked at in order to spring into being." During his collegiate years, Slonem attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he was exposed to influential artists from the New York area including Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Richard Estes, Jack Levine, Louise Nevelson and Al Held. He moved to New York in 1973, quickly ingratiating himself into the city's art scene and befriending the likes of Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Andy Warhol. To date, he has engaged in successful collaborations with designer Jason Wu and auto manufacturer Audi, and his work has appeared in movies including All the King's Men, Slaves of New York, The Namesake, Broken City, and Misconduct. He boasts an innumerable roster of solo exhibitions and epitomizes the definition of a modern celebrity artist.

 

Rabbits and birds figure as the two most prominent motifs in Slonem's visual vocabulary. He often repeats imagery in series, as he finds the act to be similar to spiritual meditation. Slonem believes that "repetition is very important" and begins each day painting, treating each moment as one of profound meditation. In the early 1980s, Slonem began working on his critically acclaimed series of "bunny paintings" after discovering that he was born in the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. A trip to Nicaragua early on in his career had a lasting impact on the artist, and ever since he has invested much of his energy into rendering compositions of exotic animals in vivid color. He maintains personal aviary in which he keeps anywhere from 30 to 100 birds of various species, and is known to work with a bird on his shoulder. Slonem's monumental sculpture Tocos stands as an 18-foot acrylic and aluminum tower of toucans; birds also fill the surface of the artist's largest project to-date, a 6-foot by 86-foot mural painted for the iconic Bryant Park Grill in New York City. His devotion to image, craft, and process prompted Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler to declare, "Slonem is a painter, a painter's painter with an enormous bag of technical tricks which become apparent to the viewer the longer he stands before the work." His work is included in numerous prestigious private collections including those of Brooke Shields, Julianne Moore, Sharon Stone, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Lopez. Out of his studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, he continues to produce work that is bright, cheeky, and perennially eye-catching.

Awards

2015    Russian Academy of Art Medal of Merit

2013    Louisiana State Arts Council Inaugural Lifetime Cultural Achievement Award

2013    The Horticultural Society of New York Award of Excellence, NYC

2009    D&D’s Stars of Design, Award in Art, New York, NY

2007    ARTrageous Children’s Expressions Project, Gala Dinner and Art Auction Honoree, NY

2006    Urban Stages Award for Fine Art, New York NY

1991    National Endowment for the Arts

1986    MacDowell Fellowship, Peterborough, N.H.

1984    MacDowell Fellowship, Peterborough, N.H.

1983    MacDowell Fellowship, Peterborough, N.H.

1983    Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL

1982    Millay Colony, Austerlitz, NY

1978    Cultural Council Foundation Arts Project, NY

1976    Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation; Grant for Painting, Montreal, Canada

1968    Rotary International Exchange Student, Managua, Nicaragua

Museums and Public Collections

Academy of the Arts, Easton, Maryland

American Banaco, New York, NY

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Art Museum of West Virginia, Roanoke, VA

Artbank Program, United States Department of State, Washington D.C.

Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain UAE

Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL.

Bates College Museum of Arts, Olin Art Center, Lewiston, ME

Bergen Museum of Art and Science, Paramus, NJ

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL

Borough Hall, Brooklyn, NY

Bowdoin Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME

Brandeis University Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA

Alexander Breast Gallery, Jacksonville University Museum, Jacksonville, FL

Children’s Museum of Naples, Naples, FL

Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

Colegio de Architecto, Quito, Ecuador

Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

Coral Springs Museum, Coral Springs, FL

Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH

Customs House Museum, Clarksville, TN

Danville Museum, Danville, VA

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO

Davenport Museum of Art, Davenport, IA

Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH

Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

Delgado University, New Orleans, LA

Drury Univ., Springfield

Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY

Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, Evansville, IN

Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY

Farnsworth Library & Art Museum, Rockland, ME

Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC

Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

The Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI

Florida International University Art Museum, Miami, FL

Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain

Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, NY

Guilin Art Museum, Guilin Guang XI P.R. China

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Hovikodden, Norway

Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Housatonic Museum, Bridgeport, CT

Human Systems Technology, Baltimore, MD

Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN

Jedco, Jefferson Parrish, LA

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design of Kansas City Art Institute, MO

J. Patrick Lannan Gallery, Palm Beach, FL

Community College Museum of Art, Lake Worth, FL

Le Musée d’Art Haitian, Port au Prince, Haiti

The Von Liebig Art Center, Naples, FL

Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY

Louisiana Arts & Science Museum, Baton Rouge

Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Women’s College, Lynchburg, VA

Memphis Brooks Museum, Memphis, TN

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manila, Philippines

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Miami-Dade Community College South Campus, Miami, FL

Miami University, Oxford, OH

Michener Museum of Art, Doylestown, PA

Mills College Art Museum, Mills College, Oakland, CA

Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC

Miro Foundation, Spain

Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Miss.

Missouri State University, Springfield

University of Missouri, Columbia

Mita Corporation, Fairfield, NJ

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Neuberger Museum, Purchase College/State University of New York, Purchase

Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

New York Academy of Art, New York, NY

New York Historical Society, New York, NY

Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

Northfield Nt. Hermon School, Mt. Hermon, MA

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA

Ohio Wesleyan Univ. Delaware, OH

Olin Gallery, Roanoke College, Salem, VA

Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL

Ozark Community Technical College, Springfield

Port Authority, One World Trade Center (Mural), New York, NY

Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

Pulitzer Collection, Amsterdam, Holland

Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY

Saint Louis University, Cupples House & McNamee Gallery, St. Louis, MO

Saint Mary’s College, Saint Mary City, MD

Saint Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, FL

Samford University, Birmingham, AL

San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX

Salt Queen Foundation, Southampton, NY

Sidney Art Gallery and Museum, Port Orchard, WA

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Syracuse University Art Collection, Syracuse, NY

Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Stamford, CT

Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL

Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN

Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel

Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

United States Department of State, Washington, D.C.

University of Arizona, Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

University of Maine at Machias Art Galleries, Machias, ME

University of Michigan, Art Museum Project, Dearborn, MI

University of Oklahoma, Fred Jones Art Center, Norman, OK

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Vero Beach Museum of Art, Vero Beach, FL

Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

Von Leibig Art Center, Naples, FL

Wasmer Gallery, Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, OH

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS

Wurth Museum, Kunzelsau, Germany

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