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b. 1958, El Segundo, CA.

Currently lives and works in upstate New York.


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Joan Nelson paints detailed intimate paintings of nature, landscape, and sky on two-inch thick plywood board. The glossy surfaces of her works reveal distressed cracks, reminiscent of aged pictures and paintings of early American landscape artists. Nostaglic and mystical, the paintings make a quiet reference to mythic narrative, not telling the story outright, but hinting at its passing. Her works are represented in public and private collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among others. Joan Nelson received her BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and currently lives and works in upstate New York.

2010 - present

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2010 - present

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Knight, Christopher. “Art Review: Joan Nelson at Michael Kohn Gallery.” Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2011.


Chow, Elaine. “Virtually Real.” Visual Arts Journal, vol. 12, no. 1, Spring, pp. 13-15, illus. [Reproduction of Untitled #385, 1993, p. 15.], 2009.


Johnson, Ken. “Joan Nelson.” The New York Times, February 2, p E37, 2001.


Korotkin, Joyce. “Chelsea.” The New York Art World, February, illus. [Untitled (#453), 2000, reproduced], 2001.


McAuliffe, Michael J. “Joan Nelson.”, January 15, 2001.


Fox, Catherine. “Visual Arts: The New Landscapes.” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 19, p. Q8, 1999.


Glueck, Grace. “Joan Nelson.” The New York Times, January 16, 1998.


Kernan, Nathan. “Joan Nelson: Paintings on Paper.” On Paper, March-April, pp. 50-51, illus. [Untitled, 1997, reproduced, p. 50], 1998.


“Joan Nelson.” The New Yorker, January 12, 1998.  

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Solo Exhibitions

























Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Fleicher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

David Floria Gallery, Aspen, CO

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Paintings Over Prints by Joan Nelson, Cirrus, Los Angeles, CA

The Nave Museum, Victoria, TX

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

Joan Nelson: New Paintings and Works on Paper, Michael Kohn Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, PA

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

Michael Kohn Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

Currents 39, St. Louis Arts Museum, St. Louis, MO

Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX

Fawbush Gallery, New York, NY

Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, NY

Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions




























































































































Woods, Lovely, Dark and Deep, curated by John Zinsser, DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY

25th Anniversary Show, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Power to the People, Feature Inc., New York, NY

Small Spaces, J. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville Beach, FL

The Tree, James Cohen Gallery, Shanghai, China

Landscape Today, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Natural Order, The Painting Center, New York, NY

Flip Viola an the Blurs (Misrepresenting an artwork can result in a non-art expience of comparable value.) Triple Candie, New York, NY

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL

The Contemporary Landscape,” Ebert Art Center, The College of Wooster, OH

Northern Light, Danese Gallery, New York, NY

Secret Victorians: Contemporary Artists and a 19th-Century Vision, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Maxfield Parrish: 1970-1966, Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Waxing Poetic: Encaustic Art in America, The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ

Of Darkness and Light, Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA

Shifting Ground: Transformed Views of the American, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA

Nature: Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Contemporary Gallery, Marywood University, Scranton, PA

Conceptual Realism, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Cityscape/Landscape, Karen McCready Fine Art, New York, NY

Encyclopedia 1999, Turner & Runyon, Dallas, TX

Equilibrium of the Senses, Nohra Haime Gallery, New York, NY

As Far As the Eye Can See, Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Wildflowers, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY

Why Draw a Landscape?, Karen McCready Fine Art, New York, NY

Rediscovering the Landscape of the Americas, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM [itinerary: Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX; Western Gallery; Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, NY; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC]

Landscapes, Meyerson & Nowinski, Seattle, WA

Movements of Grace: Spirit in the American Landscape, Winston Wachter Fine Art, New York, NY

Gathered Into Earth, Sheehan Gallery, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Elusive Nature, Cuenca Bienal of Painting, Municipal Building, Cuenca, Ecuador

Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Gallery, Greensboro, NC

Annual Benefit and Silent Auction, White Columns, New York, NY

Landscape: The Pastoral to the Urban, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

The Small Painting, O’Hara Gallery, New York, NY

Landvermesser, Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim, Germany

Changing Horizons: Landscape on the Eve of the Millenium, The Katonah Museum, Katonah, NY

Summer Group Show, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY

The Artist’s Camera: Photographs by Contemporary Artists, Thread Waxing Space, New York, NY

Salut au Monde, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, Friesland, The Netherlands

Down the Garden Path, The Work Space, New York, NY

A Romantic Impulse: Seventeen American Artists, O’Hara Gallery, New York, NY

Insights: A Distant View, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA

Degrees of Abstraction: From Morris Louis to Robert Mapplethorpe, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Songs of the Earth: Twenty-two American Painters of the Landscape, AHI Gallery, New York, NY

Changing Views, Feigen Incorporated, Chicago, IL

To Enchant (blue), Cynthia McCallister Gallery and Bixler Gallery, NY

Landscapes…Ideas, Apex Art, New York, NY

A Woman’s Nature: The Landscape as Seen by Jennifer Bartlett, April Gornik, Joan Nelson, Idelle Weber, Jan Abrams Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Les Environs, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, New York, NY

Drawing the Line Against AIDS, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Living with Art: the Collection of Ellyn & Saul Dennison, The Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ

Rewriting History: The Salon of 1993, Montgomery Glasoe, Minneapolis, MN

Magical Mystical Landscapes, Renée Fotouhi Fine Art, East Hampton, NY

Elemental Nature, Midtown Payson Galleries, New York, NY

Contemporary Icons—From the Sublime to the Fetishistic, The Bertha & Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College, New York, NY

Selective Vision, TransAmerica Corporation, San Francisco, CA

Contemporary Uses of Wax and Encaustic, Palo Alto Cultural Center, CA

New Viewpoints: Contemporary Paintings by Distinguished American Women Artists, Seville World Expo ‘92, United States Pavilion

How It Is, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY

American Realism & Figurative Art: 1952-1990, The Miyagi Museum of Art, Miyagi, Japan [itinerary: Sogo Museum of Art; The Tokushima Modern Art Museum; The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga; Kochi Prefectural Museum of Folk Art]

Refiguring Nature, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX

1991 Invitational, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

Working with Wax: Ten Contemporary Artists, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, NY

Summer, Forum Gallery, New York, NY

A Dialogue of Images - Recent German & American Painting, Galerie Pfeferle, Munich, Germany

Harmony & Discord, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

The Ten Artists I Was Thinking of on May 3rd, 1990 at 7:00 o’clock, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

42nd Annual Academy—Institute Purchase Exhibition, American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters, New York

Von der Natur in Der Kunst, Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria

This Land is Our Land, Zoe Gallery, Boston, MA

The Garden, A/D, New York, NY

Romance & Irony in Recent American Art, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. [itinerary: National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand; Tampa Museum of Art, FL; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY]

Topology, Fuller Gross Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Painting Beyond the Death of Painting, Kunetsky Most Exhibition Hall, Moscow, USSR

Landscape: A Travelogue Painted from Memory, Imagination, or Reality, Ruth Siegel Gallery, Ltd., New York, NY

Landscape Re-Viewed: Contemporary Reflections on a Traditional Theme, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Nocturnal Visions in Contemporary Painting, Whitney at Equitable Center, NY

RePresenting Landscape, New York Studio School, New York, NY

Jack Barth, Michael Young, Joan Nelson, Blum Helman Gallery, New York, NY

Landscape: Common Ground, Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Of Another Nature, Loughelton Gallery, New York, NY

Landscape Anthology, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, NY

On Paper, Curt Marcus Gallery, New York, NY

Between Abstraction & Reality, Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, MO

The Great Drawing Show, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

New Impressions, Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Joe Fawbush Editions: A Selection, Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

The New Romantic Landscape, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Stamford, CT

Emerging Artists: Selections from the Exxon Series, 1975-1986, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Fictions: A Selection of Pictures from the 18th, 19th, & 20th Centuries, Kent Fine Art and Curt Marcus Gallery, New York, NY

Art of the East Village, Morris Center, Lafayette College, Easton, PA

Small Format, Lang O’Hara Gallery, New York. NY

NYC: New York, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

Forum, International Kunstmusee, Zurich, Switzerland

Painting and Sculpture Today: 1986, Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN

The Manor in the Landscape, Lorence Monk Gallery, New York, NY

Summer Invitational, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York

East Village at the Center, Saidye Bronfman Gallery, Montreal, Canada

East Village Artists, Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Places, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC

Minimal Representation, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Exxon Emerging Artists Invitational, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY

P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY

Nature Morte Gallery, New York, NY



Armstrong, Richard, and Richard Marshall. 1989 Biennial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1989.


Arthur, John. American Realism & Figurative Art: 1952-1990 (exhibition catalogue). Japan: The Miyagi Museum of Art, 1991.


Beckett, Wendy, Contemporary Women Artists, Oxford: Phaidon, 1988.


Cheim, John, Diego Cortez, Carmen Gimenez, and Klaus Kertess. Drawing the Line Against AIDS. New York: AMFAR International and Rizzoli International, 1993.


Combres, Chantal, and Peter Doroshenko. The New Romantic Landscape (exhibition catalogue). Stamford: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1987.


Dennison, Lisa. New Horizons in American Art (exhibition catalogue). New York: Exxon National Exhibition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1985.


Dokoupil, Jiri Georg. Die zehn Künstler an die ich am 3. Mai 1990 um 19.00 Uhr gedacht habe (exhibition catalogue), Rotterdam: Witte de With, 1990.


Gilbert, Rita. Living with Art. Third Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. 


Kuspit, Donald. Joan Nelson (exhibition catalogue), New York: Robert Miller Gallery, 1990.


Kuspit, Donald, and Paul Groot. Regreso al Futuro III Exposicion Internacional (exhibition catalogue). Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Casa de la Cultura, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Centro de arte La Regenta, 1990.


Merrill, Kathleen. Earth and Sky (exhibition catalogue). Hanover, NH: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 1992.


Price, Marla with Mark Strand. Refiguring Nature (exhibition guide). Fort Worth, TX: Museum of Modern Art, 1991.


Ranta, Rachel. “Perspectives: Joan Nelson: Incidental Deceptions.” Joan Nelson Paintings (exhibition brochure). Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum, 1988.


Rosenblum, Robert. On Modern American Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., pp. 298, 345. [Untitled (#292), 1991, reproduced, p. 299], 1999.


Rubin, David S. About Nature (exhibition brochure). Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art,1993.


Rufogg, Ralph, and Susan Stewart. At the Threshold of the Visible: Minuscule and Small-Scale Art, 1964 – 1996. New York: Independent Curators Incorporated, 1997.


Waldman, Diane. Emerging Artists 1978 ‑ 1986: Selections From The Exxon Series. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1987.


Walser, Robert. Joan Nelson. (exhibition catalogue). New York: Robert Miller Gallery, 1991.

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