Collage of Photos from School of Fine and Performing Arts

Press Releases

Don Nice: The Nature of Art

Bookmark and Share


NEW PALTZ -- An exhibition of 50 paintings by contemporary American realist painter Don Nice will open at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on Saturday, February 5, with a reception from 2:00-4:00 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through April 22, 2005.

Image available at Nice is a classic figure in American art of the past half century. He burst upon the scene in the early 1960's as one of the innovative groups of "new perceptual realists" who wanted to put content back into painting. Nice integrates a gestural technique gleaned from earlier Expressionist and Abstract Expressionist painters with a realist focus and energy derived from Pop Art. Combining a naturalist's interest in observation with an artist's compulsion for artistic vision, Nice embraces aspects of popular culture and certain critical issues of our time. He paints classic American products like sneakers, candy wrappers, and soda bottles and juxtaposes them with natural elements, such as bears, fish, birds and fruits -- in site-specific landscapes from the Hudson River Valley to the Sierra Nevada. In doing so, he has created a distinctive vision of civilization's detritus in league with cultural concerns for the environment. He has conjured and created a singular pursuit of new formal ideas and formats in which he visualizes the complicated and often organic interplay between process and product, between that which is common and that which is classic. In all aspects of this endeavor, Don Nice gives definition to the nature of art.

"Among contemporary American realists, the New York painter Don Nice ranks as one of the most innovative....The work is closer now to the affirmation of life that usually marks the most popular realist art. Mr. Nice manages this with refreshing originality." -- Phyllis Braff, The New York Times Image available at has had more than 60 solo gallery and museum exhibitions and is represented in more than 70 major collections throughout the world.

The exhibition is accompanied by a monograph written by John Driscoll, who authored John F. Kensett Drawings, All That Is Glorious Around Us, and The Artist and the American Landscape. He has co-authored John F. Kensett, An American Master and George Curtis: Coming to Light. Driscoll is also a contributor to Macmillan's Dictionary of Art, and has written many articles on American artists.

About the museum: The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is dedicated to collecting, researching, interpreting, and exhibiting works of art from diverse cultures. The permanent collection spans a period of almost 4,000 years. Areas of specialization include 20th century paintings and works on paper, Asian and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts, metals and photographs. SDMA has a special commitment to collecting and exhibiting important works of art created by artists who have lived and worked in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. The museum is a major resource in the Hudson Valley serving a broad-based constituency from both on and beyond the New Paltz campus.

Image available at Hours and other information Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1-5:00 p.m. Closed on Monday and Tuesdays, university intersessions and national holidays Museum Information: (845) 257-3844 or on the Web at Museum accommodates the disabled Admission is free


The State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley between New York City and Albany. New Paltz is ranked 10th among the best public universities and 50th among public and private universities in the North that offer bachelor's and master's degree programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for America's Best Colleges 2005.

Degrees are offered in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.