ARTIST: Painter, Printmaker, Photographer, Designer, Exhibit Curator
EDUCATOR: Professor, Art and Architectural History, Public Speaker
WRITER: Editor, Author and Designer of Books and Newsletters
COMMUNITY: Founder, Director Non-Profit Preservation Organization, Activist, Community Affairs and Urban Design, Founder of Community Arts Organizations
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
My art is rooted in German Expressionism, a period of social upheaval and cynicism similar to our own. Satirical in nature, the work is based on the humanist tradition and my desire to see people as more than objects to be manipulated for personal gain.
SUMMARY ART RESUME
Renee Kahn graduated from the High School of Music & Art in New York City and received her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Art from the City College of New York. She continued her studies at Columbia University’s School of Architecture and Planning and ventured into printmaking with Antonio Frasconi at the Pratt Graphic Art Center in New York City.
Kahn taught art history at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford Campus from 1973 to 1998, specializing in American art and architecture as well as early 20th century art. She used her expertise in American architecture to work as a consultant in the field of historic preservation and to form the Historic Neighborhood Preservation Program, Inc., a non-profit organization specializing in the rehabilitation of inner-city housing. Her book, Preserving Porches, published by Henry Holt in 1990, sold over 12,000 copies and is considered a classic in the field.
While raising a family, Kahn continued her creative life. After leaving the Ward-Nasse Gallery on Prince Street in SOHO in the late ‘70s, she removed herself from the New York art scene, but continued to develop her distinctive satiric language, transforming her experiences as an art historian and a preservationist into art. A monumental construction, Box City, consisting of over 150 tableaux that displayed the panorama of urban life was shown to critical acclaim in 1996 at the SOHO 20 Gallery in New York City and a portion is currently on permanent display at the Tully Center in Stamford.
Kahn has shown her work in close to one hundred group and one-man shows throughout New England, including large-scale exhibits at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, N.H., the Hurlburt Gallery in Greenwich, CT., the William Benton Museum in Storrs, CT. and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. In 2000, she curated and participated in a group show entitled Vulcan’s Forge at the Museum, featuring sculptors who use scrap metal in their work. In 2007, Kahn was invited to participate in a group show of “shrines” at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, N.Y., curated by conceptualist artist, Lee Ming Wei. Her shrine was entitled Memorial to a Lost City and reflected her dual life as an artist and preservationist. In 2007, her boxes appeared in a one-man show at the University of Connecticut gallery in Stamford and in 2009, she had a solo show of paintings at the Loft Artists Gallery in Stamford. In the summer of 2010, she participated in two exhibits entitled: Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA. and the HP Garcia Gallery in Chelsea in New York City.
Kahn is a founder of the Loft Artists Association, a collaborative of artists working in Stamford’s South End. Over the years, she has created monumental pieces for their annual open studios, including a satiric performance piece for the overhead projector entitled Dance to the Music. Her most recent example of art by projector was presented in March, 2012 at Franklin Street Works, a non- profit, experimental artists’ space in Stamford and consisted of super sized images she took of the Lower East Side when she was in her twenties. She is currently working on a performance piece involving a cast of 8 foot tall cardboard puppets influenced by the German satirist playwright, Berthold Brecht.