Budd Hopkins, Untitled, 1987

Budd Hopkins (1931-2011)
Lithograph on paper
12 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (32.4 x 24.8cm)
The Mishkin Gallery
Gift of American Abstract Artists
Ed. 55/140

“An abstract painting at its most powerful was a kind of aesthetic scrim behind which lurks a concealed, obsessive ‘thing’ or image of some kind, transformed, made palatable by the artist’s mediating skills.”
——Budd Hopkins

This black and white lithograph was made for the American Abstract Artists 50th Anniversary portfolio. Hopkins contracted polio when he was 2 years old and developed a deep interest in painting during his long recovery process. As a distinguished Abstract Expressionist artist, he tried to create harmony by bringing jarring materials, ideas, and spaces together. His goal was to achieve harmony, clarity, precision, and to stay mysterious at the same time.

This piece uses calligraphic elements reminiscent of Chinese characters.
Chinese is a pictographic language.
Every character is a picture.
“A man is carrying weight on his back” viewed by a Chinese reader.

The smooth curved line and the sharp straight lines provide a strong visual impact.
In fact, the two forces are not against each other.
Instead, they support each other.
Their receptiveness helps them become whole.
This is the harmony Hopkins expressed.
This is the balance Chinese Taoism taught us.

The world is made up of opposing forces.
Fighting battles is pointless.
Embracing changes and differences is the way to find balance.
The balance leads the way to live in harmony with the current world.


Label by Jialu Tang, graduate student in the Arts Administration program at Baruch College.