June 20 – August 8

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 20th, 6-9pm


Children’s Art: Selections from the Steve Feldman Collection


Delia Brown - Precious

NEW YORK – Inspired by Alfred Steiglitz’s 1912 showcase of children’s art at his storied gallery 291, 57W57Arts is pleased to present two exhibitions that encapsulate the raw creativity of childhood and the multilayered expressions of child-rearing. A selection of works from Steve Feldman’s collection of children’s art will be on display in the Waiting Room, and paintings from Delia Brown’s 2008 series “Precious” will be exhibited in the Project Space. Please join us for an opening reception on Thursday, June 20th. The exhibitions will be on view to the public through August 8th.

For the last 10 years, Steve Feldman has been scouring estate sales and flea markets in search of specific subject matter that is at once pervasive and yet seemingly rare (when it’s special) – children’s artwork.  Drawn to the lucid creativity and intrinsic freedom of a child’s artistic expression, Feldman has amassed hundreds of pieces of ephemera, as well as antique toys, dolls and stuffed animals. Likening children’s artwork to Outsider art, Feldman is intrigued by the honesty and soulfulness of a child’s untrained hand and pure imagination. Many of the drawings and paper collages encircling the Waiting Room walls serve as a humble reflection of the American classroom over time. Nearly every child is first handed a box of crayons and given no direction or formal instruction. What they create is instinctual, fearless and often very funny. Their artwork is then displayed on the classroom walls and then at home. Commonly repeated themes such as holidays (especially Thanksgiving and Halloween), the alphabet and the US presidents are carried down through the generations. Feldman considers the oldest artwork in his collection, the pieces that have been saved for the longest amount of time, to be the most fascinating. Searching through discarded scrapbooks, portfolios and the pages of vintage school books, Feldman has discovered hand-drawn treasures that depict both a moment in time and it’s passage.

VIEW EXHIBITION - Children’s Art: The Steve Feldman Collection

VIEW Press Listing - AUTRE Magazine

Delia Brown’s writing on her series Precious:

The idea for Precious came about in 2008 when I was getting close to the end of my "child bearing years". I didn't (and still don't) have a child or a husband/life-partner, nor did my friends. We were in that period of life when you really feel social pressure to settle down and build a family, but it just wasn't happening for us -- for some of us that was by choice, and some simply didn't have the luck. For Precious, I approached a few well-to-do families in NYC and asked them if I and my childless friends could play mother to their children. We borrowed their children and their homes to capture images of idealized motherhood and domestic perfection such as is conveyed not only in contemporary lifestyle magazines and television commercials, but which was also the subject of the female painters of early modernism: Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, for example. Such scenes of tranquil daily life inside the home and in the garden were talismans of the upper classes, and were considered acceptable subject matter for women painters, who did not have the run of the streets, cafes, and night clubs, like their flâneur male counterparts such as Edgar Degas and Toulouse Lautrec. Additionally, the term "precious" is often used in art school -- or was, at least, when I was an undergraduate -- by painting professors who espouse and encourage masculine painting attitudes such as bravura and strength, as opposed to "sentimental" (read: feminine)  treatment of the canvas. In naming the project Precious, I was consciously calling into question the primacy of in-your-face painting, and suggesting that perhaps a diminutive painting could provide a different but equally affecting experience: that of intimacy. 

Delia Brown is a California-based artist who grew up in Berkeley and Venice Beach, demonstrating a gift for drawing and poetry from a young age. She majored in Fine Art at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and earned an MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. After undergrad, Brown pursued a career in hip hop, as part of a two-girl rap group. Her work has spanned the mediums of performance, installation, video and painting. She is represented in US museum collections, and has been the subject of over twenty solo shows in the US and abroad.