Dusti Bongé in New York: 1956 and 2022

1956 was a big year for Dusti Bongé in New York and hopefully 2022 will be as well. 1956 was the year of her first gallery show at Betty Parsons and she was also included in a group show at the Whitney Museum of American Art which featured many of the biggest figures in American art history.

This October, Hollis Taggart gallery opens “Kinship: Dusti Bongé and Betty Parsons.” It is the first exhibition to explore the close relationship between artist Dusti Bongé and legendary gallerist and artist Betty Parsons. Bongé’s work is underrecognized in today’s art historical narratives, despite the success she had in her lifetime. This is partly because of her decision to live and work on the Gulf Coast, rather than making a permanent move to New York.

At SeeGreatArt, we’re working with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi, MS to help raise awareness around Bongé’s career.

The forthcoming exhibition at Hollis Taggart will feature 35 works by Bongé, reintroducing audiences to all parts of her career, as well as 15 works by Parsons, most of which were gifted to Bongé throughout their friendship and have never been seen before. It will also feature archival material, such as vacation photographs from the duo’s travels to Mexico and the Gulf Coast.

This week for our partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation, we look back at Bongé’s 1956. Analysis, as always, comes from DBAF Executive Director Ligia M. Römer:

“In 1956 Dusti Bongé had her first solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. That same year she also had an ink drawing in the Annual Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibit featured over 200 artists, including many famous ones like Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Asawa, and Andrew Wyeth, to name just a few.

The Whitney is dedicated to art and artists of the United States. It started in 1914 as the Whitney Studio, founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, to allow a venue for those artists who were doing new and innovative work not recognized by the established academies. By 1931, the Whitney was established as a museum and in the early 1960s it opened in the iconic Marcel Breuer building where it stayed for half a century.

As you can see on the catalog list, Dusti had a “Pen, brush and ink” drawing in this exhibition titled Music. During those years, in addition to her many oil paintings, Dusti produced quite a few large works on paper, many of them monochromatic works in black ink.

In an (undated) handwritten letter to Betty Parsons from that time period, she wrote “Have a new ink brush, going mad drawing with it.”

Perhaps this was one of those drawings. Later, her 1958 solo show at the gallery featured several of her works on paper in addition to paintings.”

1956 Whitney Museum exhibition catalogue featuring Dusti Bongé
1956 Whitney Museum exhibition catalogue featuring Dusti Bongé
1956 Whitney Museum exhibition catalogue featuring Dusti Bongé
1956 Whitney Museum exhibition catalogue featuring Dusti Bongé

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