Roger Brown 1941-1997


Roger Brown is renowned for using a pop aesthetic to investigate a range of sociopolitical issues. His trademark silhouettes and curvilinear landscapes depict both the topical and uncomfortable.


Brown’s work is of startling contemporary relevance, cleverly approaching many topics: the natural and built environment, disaster, religion, popular culture, the art world, art history, eroticism, and sociopolitical concerns, from modern warfare to mortality during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Rich in content and innovative in methods of depiction, Brown presaged the subjective and surreal figuration seen in many threads of recent painting. During his lifetime, art dealer Phyllis Kind was Brown’s exclusive representative, and she was the first to exhibit his work in 1971.


Brown’s career abounded with solo and group shows internationally, and notable retrospectives of his work were shown by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in 1980 and at the Hirshhorn Museum in 1987. The Roger Brown Study Collection, maintained by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with curator Lisa Stone, makes Brown’s prolific art collection and archive available to the public. His political paintings were recently featured at DC Moore Gallery, New York, and his Virtual Still Life works were highlighted in a solo exhibition at Maccarone, New York. Brown received his BFA and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago partly under the tutelage of Ray Yoshida, as one of a generation who would later become known as the Hairy Who, or the Chicago Imagists.


Brown’s work is included in notable private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, National Gallery of Art, and National Portrait Gallery.