Archie Rand: Psalm 68

On view September 21, 2014—January 4, 2015

Archie Rand, Psalm 68:26 (from the series Psalm 68), 1994, acrylic on canvas, 12  x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Archie Rand (b. 1949), the Presidential Professor of Art at Brooklyn College, has had more than 100 individual exhibitions. In the series Psalm 68 (1994), he uses abstract iconography to explore one of the oldest extant Hebrew poems and its compelling, if elusive, narrative.

The powerful emotions of Psalm 68—whether in the service of extolling the prowess of the military in battle or the rejoicing in gladness of peacetime—find a proper receptacle in Rand’s paintings. The intense color and black amorphous shapes in some of the canvases echo Surrealist automatic writing; still others feature tantalizing forms that suggest a wide range of images gleaned from an array of sources, including architecture and comic books. Natural, manmade and supernatural elements can also be discerned. Rand’s 36 exuberant 12×16-inch acrylic paintings, some with marker or hand-mixed with resins and acids, provide an impassioned foray into ancient perils–both awesome and delightful.

About the Artist

Rand was born in Brooklyn and graduated high school at the age of 15. He attended the City College of New York and also studied at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute. He was first included in a group show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1966, and went on to have a solo exhibition there in 1972.

A frequent collaborator with artists and poets, Rand has partnered with John Ashbery, Clark Coolidge, Robert Creeley, Kenneth Koch, David Plante and John Yau. His work has explored subjects as diverse as jazz, the Bible, and Jewish history. In 1974, he completed murals for the 13,000-square-foot interior of B’nai Yosef Synagogue in Brooklyn, a monumental three-year project. Rand has administered and taught at numerous graduate art programs and appeared in major art journals and newspapers for over four decades.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.