1 Jonathan Blum_Self Portrait
Artist Jonathan Blum will celebrate his 50th birthday with a major exhibition at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood at 18 Whitwell Place. 50 Years of Jonathan Blum: A Retrospective will run from June 27 to August 12. The opening party will take place on Saturday, June 27, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will be a huge public celebration featuring live music from Mil’s Trills, Michael Bates’ Northern Spy, and Sway Machinery. Everyone is invited.

Blum is especially excited to be marking his milestone birthday in Brooklyn. His Park Slope studio/storefront, with its sign announcing that he’s open “by appointment and by luck,” has been a fixture of 5th Avenue since 1999. “I’ve been able to make a living as an artist by bringing my work directly to the public,” says Blum, who has taken the unusual step of running his own small business rather than using galleries as middlemen. “My Brooklyn storefront has exposed me to a large and diverse customer base. And just as I like buying art directly from artists, it’s been gratifying to meet and get to know my customers all these years.”

Blum is a portrait painter whose work ranges from the fanciful to the classically realistic. His painting career grew from a cartoon he created in 1986 that depicted a forehead, a caricature of his own face from the eyes up. From there he started painting “forehead portraits” that captured his subjects from the nose up. He’s moved down the face over the years, but his focus on close-up portraiture remains. Whether painting a fraction or an entire face, in a whimsical or realistic way, what remains consistent is his interest in creating a well-crafted, arresting image. 50 Years of Jonathan Blum will include significant paintings, collages, and monoprints from 1986 till present.

Blum, a Washington DC native, has had one-man shows all over the world, in New York City; Washington, DC; Seattle; Provincetown, MA; Boston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; London; Berlin; Tel Aviv; and Prague.