Jonathan Santlofer

American, b. 1946

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Jonathan Santlofer

American, b. 1946

Biography

In the early 1980s, Jonathan Santlofer began painting vibrantly colored and dramatic abstract works said to resemble idealized human organs. However, since the 1990s, he is more known for his figurative, sometimes naughty, depictions of art-historical, political, and pop culture icons and for penning murder mysteries set in the New York art world. His signature use of trompe l’oeil and montage characterize “Scrapbook”, an ongoing series of pencil drawings and works on paper revisiting culturally momentous events—the Kennedy assassination, for instance—of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has also produced a drawing series of re-creations of works by artists labeled “degenerates,” such as Wassily Kandinsky, who were banned by the Nazis; these “faux prints” evoke German Expressionist woodcuts or etchings. Santlofer admires Marcel Duchamp for moving beyond painting to question the nature of art itself, and echoes his mix of intelligence and playfulness.

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Career Highlights
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Group
Group show at a major institution
New Museum
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Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Biography

In the early 1980s, Jonathan Santlofer began painting vibrantly colored and dramatic abstract works said to resemble idealized human organs. However, since the 1990s, he is more known for his figurative, sometimes naughty, depictions of art-historical, political, and pop culture icons and for penning murder mysteries set in the New York art world. His signature use of trompe l’oeil and montage characterize “Scrapbook”, an ongoing series of pencil drawings and works on paper revisiting culturally momentous events—the Kennedy assassination, for instance—of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has also produced a drawing series of re-creations of works by artists labeled “degenerates,” such as Wassily Kandinsky, who were banned by the Nazis; these “faux prints” evoke German Expressionist woodcuts or etchings. Santlofer admires Marcel Duchamp for moving beyond painting to question the nature of art itself, and echoes his mix of intelligence and playfulness.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
New Museum
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum