15/07/2024 3:45 PM


Adorn your Feelings

Rediscovered Beat-Era Artist Rick Barton’s Drawings Publicly Showcased for the First Time

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The Morgan Library & Museum’s Writing a Chrysanthemum: The Drawings of Rick Barton features over 60 never-before-seen works. On view in NYC through September 11.

, opening June 10 and running through September 11, 2022, is the first time his work will be seen in public.

The first museum exhibition dedicated to this largely undiscovered, yet extraordinary and original draftsman features 60 drawings, two accordion-fold sketchbooks, and five printed works by Barton. The title of the show comes from a story Barton told poet and artist Etel Adnan (1925–2021) in a San Francisco café in the early 1960s. Adnan, who was enthralled by Barton’s accordion-fold books, later wrote, “Rick Barton should have been a San Francisco legend.” However, he remained an obscure figure until now.

Barton’s subjects range from the intimacy of his bedroom to the architecture of Mexican cathedrals, and from the gathering places of Beat-era San Francisco to the sinuous contours of plants. Working almost exclusively in pen or brush and ink, he captured these subjects in a web of lines that evokes both drawing and writing. Though at times his work is simple and economical, more often it is complex and kaleidoscopic.

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