Born in the Bronx, New York in 1929, Nicholas Krushenick studied painting at the Art Students League of New York and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. After completing his training, Krushenick designed window displays and worked in the Framing Department of the Museum of Modern Art. From 1957 to 1962, the artist, along with his brother John, operated the now legendary Brata Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village. Brata displayed the works of many of the foremost artists of the day, including, among others: Ronald Bladen, Ed Clarke, Al Held, Yayoi Kusama, and George Sugarman.
Krushenick first developed his signature “pop abstract” style in the early 1960s. The loose geometries and web-like forms of his early paintings demonstrate his deliberate caricature of Abstract Expressionist “drips” or “skeins” into what more closely resemble details from cartoons—like Superman’s hair follicles, as critic Robert Rosenblum once described. The high-keyed color, formal rigor, and sheer graphic intensity of his paintings set Krushenick apart from his contemporaries. As a result, decades after its creation, Krushenick’s work still appears remarkably fresh.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Krushenick had solo exhibitions at many of the most influential and prestigious galleries, including: Graham Gallery (1958, 1962, 1964, New York), Fischbach Gallery (1965, New York), Galerie Sonnabend (1967, Paris), Galerie Ziegler (1969, Zürich), Galerie Beyeler (1971, Basel), and Pace Gallery (1967, 1969, 1972, New York). During this period, his work also figured prominently in many landmark museum exhibitions, such as Post Painterly Abstraction (1964, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Vormen van de Kleur (1964, Stedelijk Museum), Systemic Painting (1965, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), and Documenta 4 (1968, Fredericianum), among others. In 1968, the Walker Art Center mounted a retrospective exhibition of Krushenick’s work. His first European retrospective came four years later, in 1972, at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover, Germany. In 2015 he had a retrospective at the Tang Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York entitled Nicholas Krushenick: Electric Soup.
Krushenick’s work is featured in the collections of over sixty major museums, including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Cleveland Museum of Art; Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida; the Dallas Museum of Fine Art; the Empire State Art Collection; the Grey Art Gallery, New York University; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Stedelijk Museum; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.