I like to use this blog as a place to take notes on people and things that inspire me. I was first introduced to Wolf Kahn’s world of color over twenty years ago. He continues to influence my work, and I am lucky to have one of his small pastel works in my collection. I had the honor of meeting him at the opening of his most recent New York City exhibition.
“Both as a personality and an artist, Kahn is refreshingly forthright, confident in his ambitions and his stalwart corner of the art world. It would be a mistake to dismiss Kahn’s work as ornamental, soft, or decorative — a reading that Kahn himself seems poised to address. “I don’t want to be a pleaser,” he said. “I like to paint pleasant color, easygoing compositions, but not in such a way that people say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that before, that’s meant to stroke me.’ You have to have an edge.” He admires other painters — like Agnes Martin and Susan Rothenberg — but he doesn’t have much use for the contemporary gallery scene outside his doorstep (“I’m like all old guys — you deplore what goes after. You think it’s a terrible mistake, the fact that history goes on.”). And he offers some advice that, perhaps, might be of value to a younger generation of painters. “In order to make a living as an artist, you’ve got to be one of two things: A very nice guy, or a bad egg.” Personally, Kahn qualifies himself with a rather appropriate metaphor: ‘I like to think of myself as being a wide spectrum.’ “