Jim Dine (b. 1935)

Biography

“I always have to find a theme, some tangible subject matter besides the paint itself.  Otherwise I would have been an abstract artist.  There are times when I would have loved to have been…a non-objective artist…but I always have to find something to hang the paint on.  I have tried painting without objects, painting without subject matter except the paint.  It comes to nothing because it is nothing.  It doesn’t interest me.  I’m not a minimal person, hardly an abstract person.  I need that hook… something to hang my landscape on…”

(Graham W.J. Beal, Jim Dine: Five Themes, Minneapolis, 1984, p. 11)

Jim Dine was born June 16, 1935, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied at night at the Cincinnati Art Academy during his senior year of high school and then attended the University of Cincinnati, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Ohio University, Athens, from which he received his B.F.A. in 1957.

After graduation, he moved to New York City and became involved with a circle of artists including Claus Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein.  His most significant contribution to the art world during this era was his ‘Happenings’ 1959-1960.  Very much influenced by John Cage’s radical approach to musical compositions and choreographer Merce Cunningham’s exploitive body movements, he and his collaborators, Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, created artworks with the assistance of audience participation and chance which they dubbed ‘Happenings’.

During this time, his work began moving into the realm of Pop Art through his incorporation of everyday objects such as tools, clothing, hearts and more recently images of Pinocchio.  Today, he is best known for his works depicting these strong, recognizable themes.

In 1965, Dine was a guest lecturer at Yale University, New Haven, and artist-in-residence at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. He was a visiting artist at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1967. From 1967 to 1971, he and his family lived in London. Dine has been given solo shows in museums in Europe and the United States. In 1970, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, organized a major retrospective of his work, and in 1978 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented a retrospective of his etchings. Dine currently lives in New York and Putney, Vermont.


 

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