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Greg Colson

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Title: Greg Colson  
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Subject: Appropriation (art), Found object, Collage, List of Claremont Graduate University people, Conceptual art
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Greg Colson

Greg Colson
Born Greg Colson
Seattle, Washington, United States
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Printmaking, Photography
Movement Assemblage (art), Lowbrow (art movement)

Greg Colson is an American artist best known for wall sculptures constructed of salvaged materials. Colson has had solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including Sperone Westwater (New York), Patrick Painter (Los Angeles), Galleria Cardi (Milan), Kunsthalle Lophem (Bruges, Belgium), Konrad Fischer (Düsseldorf), and the Lannan Museum (Lake Worth, Florida). Colson’s work is in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (DC), the Panza Collection (Lugano, Switzerland), Sammlung Rosenkranz (Berlin), and the Moderna Museet (Stockholm).[1]


Colson was born in Seattle, Washington (1956) and grew up in Bakersfield, California with his parents and two brothers Jeff and Doug. His father Lewis Colson was a social worker, but was also a skilled mechanic and inventive with makeshift repairs and adapting materials to new uses – which inspired his son’s appreciation of the ordinary and the rejected. The severe industrial environment of the Bakersfield area, and its accompanying attitudes and outlook, also affected Colson – particularly in its contrast to the large urban/cultural centers he would later inhabit as an artist. He earned an M.F.A. at Claremont Graduate School. He works and lives in Venice, California with his wife Dinah Kirgo.[2] [3]


Among Colson’s body of work is a series of “stick maps” of cities such as Cleveland, San Jose and Baton Rouge. These sculptures are built of found lengths of various materials; ski poles, curtain rods, plastic plumbing pipe, wood molding – the structure becoming a metaphor for the manifold influences on a city. In another series of constructed “pie chart” paintings (based on socio-cultural surveys), Colson mocks the deluge of analysis that is so much a part of our daily existence by playing up the material and iconographic elements to such a degree that any actual understanding is subverted. Roberta Smith put it like this in her early New York Times review: “In nearly all of Mr. Colson’s works, the combination of modesty and grandiosity, of mental exactness and physical imprecision adds up to an odd, sad beauty. Elliptical as they are, his pieces often seem to scrutinize the conflict between the active center and deserted margins of industrialized society".[4]

Selected Collections[1]

  • Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA
  • Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • New York Public Library, New York, NY
  • Panza Collection, Lugano, Switzerland
  • Sammlung Rosenkranz, Berlin, Germany
  • Tsaritsino Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
  • UBS Art Collection, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY


  1. ^ a b Greg Colson: The Architecture of Distraction, Griffin Editions, 2006 
  2. ^ Hulten, Pontus and Wegner, Peter (1999), Greg Colson, Whale and Star Press 
  3. ^ Rothman, Tibby (2006), Beyond the Image – Interview with Greg Colson, Venice Paper , Retrieved on 2009-6-27
  4. ^ Smith, Roberta (January 5, 1990), These Are the Faces to Watch, The New York Times, retrieved May 4, 2010 , Retrieved on 2009-6-27

Selected bibliography


  • Greg Colson, Galleria Cardi, Milan. Essay by Robert Evren, 2001
  • Greg Colson, Whale and Star Press. Texts by Pontus Hulten and Peter Wegner, 1999
  • Greg Colson, Lannan Museum, Lake Worth, FL. Essay by Bonnie Clearwater, 1988
  • Greg Colson: The Architecture of Distraction, Griffin Editions, Los Angeles. Interview with Genevieve Devitt, 2006
  • Greg Colson: Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois. Essay by David Pagel, 1996

Selected Books and Catalogues

  • American Bricolage, Sperone Westwater, New York. Todd Alden, David Leiber and Tom Sachs, 2000
  • Mapping, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Essay by Robert Storr, 1994
  • Panza: The Legacy of a Collector, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Texts by Kenneth Baker, Cornelia H. Butler, Rebecca Morse and Giuseppe Panza, 1999
  • Giuseppe Panza: Memories of a Collector, Abbeville Press, New York. By Giuseppe Panza, 2007
  • Gian Enzo Sperone: Torino, Roma, New York, Hopefulmonster Editore, Turin. Texts by Anna Minola, Maria Cristina Mundici, Francesco Poli, Maria Teresa Roberto, 2000
  • Sammlung Rosenkranz im Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Germany. Texts by Sabine Fehlemann, Peter Frank, Pontus Hulten, 2002

Selected Articles

  • Maartje Den Breejen. “Intentie en Ongeluk-Als het Leven Zelf.” Het PAROOL (Amsterdam), September 6, 2002, p. 11
  • David Hunt. “Spotlight: Greg Colson.” Flash Art, November–December 1998, p. 105
  • Ken Johnson. “Greg Colson-review.” The New York Times, February 16, 2001, p. B37
  • George Melrod. “Greg Colson at Sperone Westwater.” Art in America, September 1994, p. 112
  • Sharon Mizota. "Art review: Greg Colson at Griffin." Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2010
  • Sally O'Reilly. “Greg Colson at Sprovieri.” Time Out (London), January 16, 2002, p. 48
  • Tibby Rothman. “Beyond the Image – Interview with Greg Colson” Venice Paper, October 2006
  • John Russell. “Greg Colson-review.” The New York Times, January 12, 1990, p. C27
  • Jerry Saltz. “Greg Colson: Liberating Materials From Materiality.” Flash Art, May–June 1990, p. 150
  • Roberta Smith. “These Are the Faces to Watch.” The New York Times, January 5, 1990, p. C21

External links

  • Official Website
  • Greg Colson at MOCA
  • Greg Colson at the Hirshhorn
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