Glowing and contemplative, Ross Bleckner’s work blends abstraction with recognizable symbols to create meditations on perception, transcendence and loss.

Birth Year


Glowing and contemplative, Ross Bleckner’s work blends abstraction with recognizable symbols to create meditations on perception, transcendence and loss.

Ross Bleckner was born in 1949 in New York and grew up in the prosperous town of Hewlett Harbor on Long Island. The first art exhibition he saw—The Responsive Eye, a show of Op art on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965—had a strong impact on him. He decided to become an artist when he was in college, studying with Sol LeWitt and Chuck Close at New York University, where he earned a BA in 1971. Two years later, he completed an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he met David Salle.

After moving back to New York, Bleckner purchased and moved into a Tribeca loft building in 1974. Painter Julian Schnabel rented three floors of the building, and the Mudd Club, a nightclub frequented by musicians and artists, occupied space there from 1977 to 1983. Bleckner sold the building in 2004. His first solo exhibition was held in 1975 at Cunningham Ward Gallery in New York. In 1979 he began his long association with Mary Boone Gallery in New York, which championed several of the so-called art stars of the 1980s. In 1981 Bleckner met Thomas Ammann, an important Swiss art dealer who went on to collect his work.

Bleckner’s early 1980s Stripe paintings, which pay homage to the work of Bridget Riley, were not particularly well received by critics. His atmospheric Weather series (1983) followed. In 1984 Bleckner’s art attracted a burst of attention when he had a single large painting on view at Nature Morte in New York’s East Village. Around this time, he was painting canvases he viewed as memorials, in which candelabras, vases, chandeliers, and rococo motifs seem to float against dark grounds. This imagery was in part a response to the AIDS crisis. Later paintings also manifest his sense of loss stemming from the disease. Some paintings, such as 8,122+ as of January 1986 (1986), bear titles reflecting the number of people who had died of AIDS to date; others are commemorative works dedicated to individuals; still others employ patterns of dots to suggest the lesions produced by AIDS-related sarcomas.

In the following years, Bleckner commenced his Constellation paintings (1987–93), suggestive of night skies, and the Architecture of the Sky canvases (1988–93), which call to mind domed interiors. In the early 1990s, he made his first Cell paintings, which make reference to diseased human cells. From that time, he has continued to paint aspects of the body viewed at the microscopic level, including forms related to DNA and cancer cells, the latter in response to his father’s unsuccessful battle with the disease. He has also created a series of bird paintings (1995–2003) and experimented with varied surfaces as well as the use of an airbrush. In 1993 Bleckner bought a property formerly belonging to Truman Capote in Sagaponack, Long Island.

Bleckner’s first solo museum exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1988. His work has since been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including a midcareer retrospective organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1995. He has been represented in many group exhibitions devoted to abstraction, among other themes, as well as the Whitney Biennial (1975, 1987, and 1989), Biennale of Sydney (1988), and Carnegie International (1988). He continues to live and work in New York.

2009 – The first visual artist to be named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

1973 – California Institute of the Arts, Valencia; MFA

1971 – New York University, New York City; BA

Lives and works in New York City

Ross Bleckner: Forever Overhead, on Display at Leila Heller Gallery

Artist Website



Maruani & Mercier Gallery, Paris, “Time of Disquiet”
Maruani & Mercier Gallery, Brussels, “Time of Disquiet”


Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX
Meyerovich Gallery, San Francisco, Ross Bleckner: New Paintings & Works on Paper


Bohm Chapel, Cologne, Germany
Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai, UAE
Meyerovich Gallery, San Francisco, Ross Bleckner: Flowers – Works on Paper from the 1990’s


Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO.


Maruani & Mercier Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Mary Boone Gallery, New York, NY.


Jablonka Galerie, Cologne, Germany


Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Scott White Fine Art, San Diego, CA.


Mary Boone Gallery, NYC, NY.
Emilio Mazzoli gallery, Modena, Italy
Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland


Baldwin Gallery, Aspen


Thomas Ammann; Zurich: “Works from the Eighties and Now”
Mary Boone, NYC: “Ross Bleckner”


Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki: “Ross Bleckner”


Ruzicska, Salzburg


Baldwin Gallery, Aspen
Lehmann Maupin, New York City
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Alain Noirhomme, Brussels


Scott White Contemporary Art, La Jolla
Galleria in Arco, Torino
Studio d’arte Raffaelli, Trento
Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
Alain Noir Homme, Brussels


Wilma Tolksdorf Gallery, Frankfurt am Main
Galleria in Arco, Torino
Galleria Raffaelli, Trento
Narco Gallery, Italy
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City


Vaknin Schwartz Gallery, Atlanta
Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta
Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens
Interim Art, London
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
Lococo Mulder Fine Art, Berlin
Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston
Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Maureen Paley Interim Art, London
Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore


Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
Richard Levy Gallery, Alberquerque
Betsy Senior Gallery, New York City
Martin Browne Fine Art, Melbourne
Emilio Mazzoli Galleria D’Arte Contemporanea, Modena
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Lehmann Maupin, New York City
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Patrick Painter, Santa Monica
Glenn Horowitz, East Hampton
Julie M. Gallery, Tel Aviv
Baldwin Gallery, Aspen


Galleri Larsen, Stockholm
Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris
Turner & Runyon Gallery, Dallas
Robert McClain & Company, Houston
Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris
Bawag Foundation, Vienna


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Baldwin Gallery, Aspen
Galerie Kyoko Chirathivat, Bangkok
Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome
Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills


Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston
Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston
Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo
I.V.A.M. Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia
Off Shore Gallery, East Hampton
Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens
University of San Diego Art Gallery, La Jolla
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Galerie Ghislaine, Paris
Galeria Soledad Lorenzo, Madrid
Turner and Byrne, Dallas


Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne
Kohn Abrams Gallery, Los Angeles
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton
Baumgartner Galleries, Washington
Jason Rubell Gallery, Miami Beach
Galeria 56, Budapest


Galerie Ghislaine, Paris
Galerie Samia Saouma, Paris


Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Fred Hoffman Gallery, Santa Monica
Jason Rubell Gallery, Palm Beach


Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich
Galeria Soledad Lorenzo, Madrid
Heland Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm


Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Galerie Max Hetzler, West Germany
Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Waddington Gallery, London


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles


Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston
Mary Boone Gallery, New York City


Boston Museum School, Boston


Nature Morte Gallery, New York City


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City


Patrick Verelst Gallery, Antwerp
Portico Row Gallery, Philadelphia


Mary Boone Gallery, New York City



Ross Bleckner: Remember Me

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