September 6, 1940. Born in Chicago, IL.

I remember something that happened when I was three years old that was fundamental. I was at a nursery school and the teacher sat me down to color with him. He took a big piece of paper and a big red crayon and he started to color, and I watched him go from the corner of the page coloring the whole page red . . . Then I took a piece of paper and the red crayon and I started to color with it, and it didn’t go as fast as it did with him, and I realized there was some kind of challenge there. That was really intriguing to me . . . the physicality of a surface being covered with color . . . There is no question that the physicality of the making is very intense for me.[1]

The family resettles in Bloomington, IL

Studies at The Art Institute of Chicago and receives her BFA. Also takes academic courses during the late afternoons and evenings at the University of Chicago.

I learned how to paint figures and landscapes, how to draw and use watercolors. The training was very traditional, but in retrospect I’m glad I had it. I was very determined to learn everything. I wouldn’t miss a class.[2]

My art teacher in high school, Elizabeth Stein, who had her own money, told me I was getting a scholarship from the Bloomington-Normal Art Association, but really, the first year, it was Elizabeth putting up the money. I was going to go to ISU [Illinois State University], and Elizabeth came to the house one day and said, "Want to go to the Art Institute? Send in your portfolio and the money is going to get worked out." So I went up to Chicago, just with my little suitcase, terrified, and started my first year there.[3]

Meets future husband Don Sunseri, a sculptor, at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Travels with friends to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York, visits The Museum of Modern Art.

Murray graduates from The Art Institute of Chicago, B.F.A.

I was a teenager from Bloomington in my little Pendleton skirts and my bobby socks; by the time I left, I was in kohl eye makeup, hip boots, the works. But it was as much the way people were, how people talked to each other. Men weren't afraid to like poetry and be painters, it was a whole different way of being in life that really impressed me.[4]

Attends Mills College, Oakland, CA and meets Jennifer Bartlett while working as a resident assistant in the dorm.

Of course, I lasted about two months in that job. I was coming from The Art Institute of Chicago and here I was at this college with these girls in a dorm and these eucalyptus trees, and everybody had their beehive hairdos. I ended up locking myself in my room and drawing.[5]

Marries Don Sunseri in San Francisco while living on Haight Street. Among the guests is Jennifer Bartlett. November.

Graduates from Mills College with an M.F.A.
Makes first object paintings, including “Poverty,” (1964) [now destroyed].

Moves to Buffalo, New York to teach at Rosary Hill College, a Catholic women's college, under the assumption it would be an easy commute to New York City.

When I started teaching in Buffalo in 1965, I concentrated on [Claes] Oldenburg, who has been a big influence on me. I loved his fan, hamburger, and car: I worked with wood and cloth; I got an old treadle sewing machine and made things like a huge armchair with a figure in it which I called “Daddy Reading the Newspaper.” I did an enormous pair of pants with huge shoes. I put motors in the knees so they turned around![7]

My work changed radically because it was very lonely there, just the two of us in this old house. That was Pop art time . . . I was using images more and more, but I got something out of my system, which was very good because I began doing sculpture--these incredible things you just couldn't get out of the studio, made of plywood and stuffed canvas and things like that.[8]

Murray moves to New York City and rents a loft at 211 West 28th Street, then moves to WestBeth.

The word being spread was, “Haven’t you heard? Painting is Dead!” I thought, “Oh really? Well, to hell with that. I’m painting.”[9]

Jennifer Bartlett introduces Murray to Jenny Snider and Joel Shapiro--"the first people my own age who accepted me as an artist."

Columbia University students occupy Low Memorial Library to protest the University's involvement in the Vietnam War and its expansion into the surrounding neighborhood. Bob Holman, Murray's future husband is arrested during the protests. March 27.

Birth of son, Dakota.
Teaches art at the Dwight School, a private school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

For the first time, I realized . . . I was responsible for another life. . . Along with this sense of being able to give love to someone came this incredible anxiety that I really wanted something for myself too. While I couldn’t work the way I wanted to, I realized how much I wanted to be an artist for myself . . . Previously, I took my work for granted; even though I had a full-time job, I could still come home and work at night. With a child, I couldn’t do that anymore.[10]

No. I wasn't [a feminist in the 70s], but most of my friends were, and I was in a women's consciousness-raising group, which I really liked. I read all the necessary literature; Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique and Germaine Greer, those were the big ones. I read Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex when I was in high school-just for the sex. But I couldn't understand why people would want to close off their art to make political statements.[11]

Linda Nochlin's "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" is published in Art News magazine. January 1.

Elizabeth, husband Don Sunseri, and son, Dakota, move into 57 Cooper Square where they live downstairs from Hettie and LeRoi Jones.

The turning point came for Murray in 1971: when she decided she was tired of “feeling out of it” – that is, to participate more in the ongoing dialogue between artworks that constitutes the most enduring aspect of any art scene… Murray abandoned three dimensional work completely and went out and bought a lot of oil paints for the first time in several years. Changing from acrylic back to oils regrounded her paintings and slowed her down… “The minute I got back into the physicality, I knew I would make some big changes.” … Subject matter became less important, paint more important. – Roberta Smith, 1987[12]

Marcia Tucker selects “Dakota's Red” (1972) for inclusion in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American Painting, NY. This is Murray’s first participation in a major museum show. January 25–March 19.

Murray separates from her husband Don Sunseri.
Visiting artist at Wayne State University, Detroit.

In 1972 Jennifer Bartlett was invited as the first visiting artist to come to Wayne--a program that the art department's youngest professor--a great hire, abstract painter John Egner, fresh from Yale--proposed and oversaw. (Thanks, John! Other art departments should take note of how important these visiting programs can be) but Jennifer--so smart and trippy and hyper articulate--was aviation phobic and frequently sent Elizabeth in her stead.[13]

Exhibits “Madame Cézanne (in the armchair turning on the light) series” (1972) in 1973 Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. January 10-March 18.

It's a riff on his portraits of his wife, and my idea of her. I think it's as much about me as it is about Cézanne--I think Madame Cézanne is me, kooky as that may sound. I think that's what I was thinking, that I was her and I was falling forward in the rocking chair, or making that gesture. I'm not sure about that, but... [14]

Exhibits in “American Drawings 1963-1973,” Whitney Museum of American Art. May 25-July 22.

Visiting instructor, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Paints “Mobius strip” and tries grid painting, “Up Step, White Down Step,” “F Painting” (all 1973)
Begins to exhibit with Paula Cooper Gallery, NY and meets Roberta Smith, a gallery assistant and aspiring art critic.

Murray's breakthrough paintings, “Two or Three Things” and “Flamingo” signaled shifting displacements of colored planes... [15]

Murray’s works were very painterly, each large area of color thickly textured. In three of the five compositions, the canvases were divided diagonally at the meeting of the two color fields. The intensity and careful calculation of her palettes created vibrating activity along this line. On this background, Murray painted small geometric shapes or lines that were purposely misaligned to distort the picture plane.[16]

Exhibitions:  Elizabeth Murray and Joseph Zucker, Jacobs Ladder Gallery, Washington, DC. February 9-March 6.
Marilyn Lenkowsky, Elizabeth Murray, John Torreano, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, April 6–May 1
Continuing Abstraction in American Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Downtown Branch, New York. September 19-November 1.

Teaches at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Exhibitions: James Dearing, Elizabeth Murray: Paintings, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. January 11-February 5.
First solo exhibition at the Jared Sable Gallery, Toronto, May 24–June 14

Sees Frank Stella: Metal Reliefs exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery. March 3-31.

Then there was Frank Stella. I saw the exhibition at Leo Castelli's [in 1975] where he showed those first steel things with the paint on them, and I thought they were fantastic and really wild. But I already had a competitive thing, because I was starting to think about working with shapes, and people were comparing some of my shapes to his. And I thought my painting had nothing to do with what he was doing, so it was hard for me to let myself get totally into them... [17]

Visiting Instructor, California Institute of Arts, Valencia.

The year was jolting but also strengthening. I felt free, unfettered. Nobody was looking over my shoulder. Artistically, I just let myself go! . . . I don’t think it was an accident that I started shaping canvases at that crisis time in my life.{18}

Sees Ron Gorchov’s work in Rooms, the inaugural exhibition at P.S.1, Long Island City, New York.

Ron (Gorchov) influenced me enormously. He's a great talker. And for a while he was the Guru of McGoos, where he hung out with John Toriano [sic], Guy Goodwin, and other painters of my generation. He really was smart and I learned so much from him. When I first saw his show with those stretched and shaped paintings, I thought this was a painter I really wanted to get to know. I'm glad I did.[19]

Exhibitions: Included in Approaching Painting, Part Three, Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York. February 10-March 1.
Exhibits in New Work/New York, Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles. October 4-28.
First solo exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery, Elizabeth Murray, Recent Paintings, November 2–27.

Her small markings are clearly formed by hand, not with the help of masking tape; and when these markings are connected by large, swooping, spiraling lines of color, her individual touch is made even more evident. Evidence of this kind, along with the minute inflection of her fields of oil paint, insist on an intimacy of gesture and intention, of gesture and the artist’s consciousness of gesturing. The results are paintings which seem to be composed of unusually high specific gravity.{20}

In her recent show of nine paintings, a diverse group of shaped and rectangular canvases done over the past year, it looked as if Elizabeth Murray wanted each aspect of her abstraction– surface, color, shape and line– to be as distinct and as full of personality as possible, even to the point where these elements worked against each other. Murray seems to count on the conflict of unlike qualities to give her work its appeal; these paintings, a little like nervous teenagers, are alternately ingratiating and antagonistic, sophisticated and dopey. There’s always some isolated shape or color to like, and usually something which will strike you as mildly offensive or obvious. The abundance of personality makes it look like Murray is working backward from abstraction toward representation, not in terms of imagery per se, but in terms of energy; some shapes seem ready to jump right off the canvas and strut away. [21]

Mrs. Sylvia G. Zell donates Murray's “Two or Three Things” (1974) to the Detroit Institute of Art.

Lecturer, Princeton University, New Jersey.
Exhibitions: "Beginner,” “Desire,” and “Searchin’" (all 1976) are included in the Whitney Biennial, February 15–April 3. 
Receives the Theodoron Award for Young Artists, Purchase Prize and is included in the exhibition, Nine Artists: Theodoron Awards, curated by Linda Shearer at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. March 4-April 7.
Early Work by Five Contemporary Artists (Ron Gorchov, Elizabeth Murray, Dennis Oppenheim, Dorothea Rockburne, Joel Shapiro), organized by Maria Tucker at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, November 11–December 30.

Sees Robert Rauschenberg retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, March 4-April 7.

Moves to 17 White Street, #3A, NYC.

Instructor, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Exhibitions: Robert Storr sees “Elizabeth Murray: Recent Paintings” at Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, April 15-May 15.
Elizabeth Murray: Recent Paintings, Paula Cooper Gallery, October 7­ – November 4.

Elizabeth Murray’s new paintings seem to polarize people into opposing camps, and they have a way of polarizing the viewer within himself. Their intensity rubs off on you, and you can’t help but feel very strongly about them. It may not even be a matter of liking them or not, they have a force worth reckoning with, and they demand to be taken seriously. Murray seems to have developed her art quite independently, outside any established style, the work gets increasingly idiosyncratic and eccentric in every way, probably to sustain an extremely dynamic level of emotional expensiveness.[22]

Sees exhibition Jasper Johns at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Oct 17-Dec 19.

Instructor, School of Visual Arts, New York

Exhibitions: “Children Meeting" (1978) is included in the Whitney Biennial, February 6–April 8 and is subsequently purchased by the museum.

Children Meeting, the largest painting since Beginner (1976), grew out of confidence about being able to lay down the colors and put in the goofy shapes that were beginning to emerge. It was exciting to have the green flash into and overlap the purple head/body shape. I'd never allowed myself to use that zany purple; it's a very hard color because it doesn't have a clear emotion for me. It was the last time I was able to use a line moving through shapes as connector; later it began to feel like a device.[23]

New Painting/New York: Jake Berthot, Ross Bleckner, Alan Cote, Philip Guston, Elizabeth Murray, Jerry Zenwick, Joseph Zucker, Hayward Gallery, London, May 3–June 17.
Exhibits in The Decade in Review: Selections from the 1970s, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 19-September 3.
American Painting: The Eighties organized by Barbara Rose, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, September 5–­October 13.

Elizabeth Murray has described her work as “a release of energy.” It is kicky and bright, with bold eccentric shapes and plenty of action. Swollen blimps are lashed and pierced, but still give the effect of rumbustious life. Colors are marshaled, given instructions but still allowed some outside interests. Murray is a food organizer; she gives the impression that it’s as easy as pi. Sometimes the strain shows; in With (1978) the smile freezes, the witty edge-games grow tedious. Elsewhere, she is a delight. Beginner just copes with a giant foetus, or perhaps a rogue kidney bean, holding it firmly enough in a grey ground and superimposing a sinister squiggle something like a vasectomy diagram. The deep blue bean repels it, but it’s not accident. New York Dawn and Flesh, Earth and Sky crowd their masses, yet the result is a heightened sense of freedom. It’s worth the price of admission to see a witty artist strutting her stuff.[24]

Meets the poet Bob Holman, whom she will marry on October 22, 1982.

Large Philip Guston retrospective opens on May 16 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; travels to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Denver Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Guston dies later in the year.

I saw some shoes in paintings by Guston just before he died and that object just hit me – you know, it has great plastic properties, shoes can get filled up, they can be empty, the idea that shoes get worn out and take you forward or keep you in place. [25]

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, Galerie Mukai, Tokyo, February 15–March 15. 
Elizabeth Murray Paintings and Pastels, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, May 24–June 22.

Exhibitions: Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, January 20-April 19.
Drawings (solo exhibition), Galerie Mukai, Tokyo, April 16­­–May 15.
Elizabeth Murray: New Paintings, Paula Cooper Gallery, May 2­–30.

Neo-Expressionism was starting-Julian Schnabel, Anselm Kiefer, David Salle-and honestly I thought I was going to be the leader of the pack--ha, ha, ha--delusional as I was... And there these guys were. It was amazing: after all this feminism, the boys were back in town. And the women: 'Go back to your places, girls.’[26]

At the Paula Cooper gallery, there was a fairly substantial looking exhibition of paintings by Elizabeth Murray representing, surprisingly – considering the density of it – a year’s work. These were all large, heavily worked-at paintings each fragmented into a number of shaped parts, and others were in very many small parts, like smashed mirrors. The first painting was in Elizabeth Murray’s familiar style, which is a variation on the ever popular hybrid of Surrealism and geometric abstraction. The zigzags and pushed-out curves are retained in the subsequent paintings as a structural set for some cartoonish imagery – a joke artist’s palette and brushes, Mickey Mouse feet, a joint smouldering in the palm on a Mickey Mouse hand, cartoon smoke, bliplike baby shapes. Where the first work is snappy, the other paintings are extravagantly complicated and ungainly; they also threaten to become sentimental and obscure in places. But maybe all this is just part of the process of raising the odds, shaking up old habits.[27]

Exhibitions: Amerikanische Malerei 1930–1980, Haus der Kunst, Munich, November 14, 1981–January 31, 1982.
Jon Borofsky, Michael Hurson, Elizabeth Murray, American Graffiti, Amsterdam, February 20–March 27.

March 4. Plays by Edwin Denby opens at St. Marks Church with sets by Elizabeth Murray, directed by Bob Holman, and produced by Ada Katz.
September. Buys house in Washington County, New York.
October 22. Marries Bob Holman
December. Birth of daughter Sophie.

The Art Institute of Chicago acquires “Back on Earth” (1981).
Receives the Walter M. Campana Award from The Art Institute of Chicago.

Exhibitions: “Small Town” (1980) and “Painter’s Progress” (1981) are included in Directions 1983, organized by Phyllis D. Rosenzweig at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., March 10­–May 15.
Elizabeth Murray: Paintings, Paula Cooper Gallery, NY, April 2-30.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquires “Painter’s Progress” (1981).

Receives American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, New York.
Exhibitions: Five Painters in New York: Brad Davis, Bill Jensen, Elizabeth Murray, Gary Stephan and John Torreano, organized by Richard Armstrong and Richard Marshall at the Whitney Museum of American Art, March 21–June 17.

In assessing the artists individually, the bottom line is that none of them is as accomplished at this stage as Elizabeth Murray, currently working at the top of her form. . . Her work is ripe for a mid-career museum survey.[28]

Currents: Elizabeth Murray, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, April 10–May 6.
An International Survey of Recent Paintings and Sculpture, organized by Kynaston McShine at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 17–August 19. The first exhibition in its newly expanded building.
Exhibits in Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.

Exhibitions: Children Meeting (1978) is included in American Art since 1970: Painting, Sculpture, and Drawings from the Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art , this exhibition starts at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California, March 10–April 22, 1984 and travels to: The Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, May 17–July 29; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, September 29–November 25; The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, January 12–March 3, 1985; and the Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, March 30–May 26.

Birth of daughter Daisy.
Exhibitions: "Which Way Out” (1984) and “Leg” (1984) are included in the Whitney Biennial. March 12-June 9.

Guerilla Girls at the Palladium, The Palladium, New York, October 17–November 17.

Receives Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Medal for Painting.
Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray: Drawings 1980–1986, Carnegie Mellon University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, October 25–December 13.

Lecturer, New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, New York (Fall series)
Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, Paula Cooper Gallery, April 25–May 23.

Elizabeth Murray has put her Humpty Dumpty back together again . . . Indeed, you could say that the encounter between unified structure and destabilizing energy has always been and continues to be Murray’s central theme. . . For immediate purposes, though, form is what is most aggressively foregrounded. The new paintings . . . look like huge slabs of clay. The edges are as much as six or more inches thick and, in places, the pictures are penetrated by deep holes creating the illusion of real, material thickness, while in other places, elements project out from the surface as much as twelve inches or more.[29]

Exhibitions: first retrospective exhibition, Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings organized by Sue Graze, curator of contemporary art , Dallas Museum of Art, and Kathy Halbriech, director, the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Opens at the Dallas Museum of Art, March 1–April 19, 1987; travels to: the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center, MIT, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, May 8– June 28; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, July 28–September 20; the Des Moines Art Center, November 10, 1987– January 3, 1988; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, January 31–March 27; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, April 21–June 26.

Trailing the [Eric] Fischl, [David] Salle, and [Julian] Schnabel retrospectives, the Murray survey is glaringly–and, one should think for the Whitney, embarrassingly– out of sequence. An artist of far greater maturity and stature, Murray came of age during the giddy stylistic free-for-all of the ‘70s. Her closest peer is Frank Stella, but while Stella elaborately diagrammed the dead end of hardcore formalism – the idea that art is a sort of Nautilus machine for the eye muscle – Murray heralded painting’s desire to get wet again, roll around in pigment, humor, narrative and sex. [30]

Purchases a farm in Granville, NY, where she maintains a summer studio.

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, New Work, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, September 14–November 13.

Some critics have patronized the subjects of her paintings because in their view “domestic imagery” or traditional women’s work, is a trivial subject. Murray’s well-known paintings of cups, for instance, are commonly described as “teacups,” much to her annoyance: “It’s as if the cups refer to a bunch of dainty ladies with nothing better to do than sit around and sip tea,” she says. Murray is quick to point out that “Cezanne painted cups and sauces and apples, and no one every assumed he spent a lot of time in the kitchen.’[31]

Exhibitions: Jennifer Bartlett, Elizabeth Murray, Eric Fischl, Susan Rothenberg. The Saatchi Collection, London, October 13, 1988–February 28, 1989.

Elizabeth Murray’s paintings are not only of organic forms, they are organic forms. Like the fluids of [Luce] Irigiray, like the creature in Alien (a mother, it turns out!), the paintings push away the rectangular frame and the picture plane, not in the additive and self-consciously art referential (reverential) manner of Frank Stella, but in a stream of interloping, thrusting and curving sweeps of saturated color–as their subjects, the contents of daily and studio life, are swept off their feet toward abstraction.[32]

Art in America publishes cover story on Elizabeth Murray by Robert Storr, April.

Exhibitions: High & Low, Modern Art and Popular Culture, organized by Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 3, 1990–January 15, 1991.

There is among the new acquisitions at the museum which Mr. Varnedoe views with special enthusiasm a recent and very large painting of two shoes by Elizabeth Murray called Dis Pair. The shoes are those of a very young person, but the monumentality of their treatment lifts the image clear of the nursery. These are heroic shoes, with elements almost of fortress and turret,. They are also shoes that double, almost, as human beings who seem to stalk one another, not quite embracing but quite possibly with that in mind. Between heroism and domesticity, the scales are nicely balanced. Between abstraction and a distilled and heightened figuration, the dialogue is one between equals. To lead a double life of that sort was for many years to be excluded from the modernist canon. But Elizabeth Murray is one of the artists who have proved that that particular taboo has had its day.[33]

Appears on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, “Elizabeth Murray: Celebrating Paint” by Deborah Solomon. March 31.

Residency [with family] at the American Academy in Rome, April-June.

Exhibitions: Recent Work by Elizabeth Murray, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, November 17,1991–February 23, 1992.

My paintings are often strange, and sometimes show me a side of myself – a violence and physicality that scares me. It’s not always pleasant or easy. I don’t always like it, and when really I do then it’s a journey.[34]

Honorary Doctorate, School of The Art Institute of Chicago.
Member, American Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.
Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, Paula Cooper Gallery, April 2–29.

I store away words and phrases. One has to toe a fine line between corniness and deepness. Two emotions I consider dangerous are sentiment and nostalgia– both prevalent in our pop culture today. I like to poke the edges of this culture and use words that might seem corny but they are ironic to me and deepen the painting.[35]

Larry Aldrich Prize in Contemporary Art. Honorary Degree, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence.
Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray: New Collaged Constructions, Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, New York, April 29–May 28.

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, Paula Cooper Gallery, March 31–April 23.

Curates the exhibition Artist’s Choice – Elizabeth Murray: Modern Women at The Museum of Modern Art, June 20 – August 22. In the history of the Museum, this was the second exhibition dedicated to women artists.

Joins PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York.
Dec 29. Son, Dakota marries Lisanne Sartour.
Moves to 173 Duane Street, 2nd Flr.

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray: Recent Paintings, PaceWildenstein, 142 Greene Street, New York, May 1–June 20.

Receives John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award.
Instructor, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray: New Paintings, PaceWildenstein, 32 East 27th Street, New York, February 12–March 13.

Exhibitions: Zeitwenden–Ruckblick und Ausblick, Kunstmuseum Bonn, December 4, 1999–June 4, 2000. Travels to: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, July 5–October 1, 2000.

Receives an honorary doctorate from the New School University, New York.
Birth of first grandchild, Anthony Sonseri.

Receives National Artist Award, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, Colorado.
Birth of Second grandchild, August Sonseri.
Bob Holman founds Bowery Poetry Club .

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray Paintings 1999–2003, PaceWildenstein, 534 West 25thStreet, New York, March 6–April 19.

Elizabeth Murray’s enchanting, tough show of recent paintings and drawings at PaceWildenstein in Chelsea is her best in many years. This marks an important event in the New York art world. Murray has been eminent and beloved hereabouts for a quarter–century, btu she has also been regarded with ambivalence. There are people who don’t always like her stuff as much as they wish they did. (I’m one of them.) Bust the most successful of her paintings assuage all doubts. They are congeries of daffy cartoonish shapes in stretched canvas or jigsawed wood, thickly painted in rich, loud, chafing colors and arrayed on the wall in roughly rectangular layouts. They teem with figurative references to vestigial body parts (fingers, hands, eyes, noses, lips, sex organs); flora (leaves, cacti); fauna (birds, snakes); domestic objects (windows, doors, pieces of furniture, kitchen utensils, handkerchiefs); symbols (arrows, speech balloons, hearts). But the work’s chief impact is augustly formal. . . At times the intensity of Murray’s struggle has seemed too much for its pleasures. A couple of overstrained paintings demonstrate the difficulty of the standards she has set for herself. But the success of so many of the works removes any doubt that what she does is worth doing–especially now that no other variety of contemporary art retains the authority to embarrass it.[36]

A life lived the way Elizabeth Murray paints would be nirvana. Her recent works replace previous three-dimensional constructed canvases, which she evidently has taken about as far as she could, with simpler, airy construction in low relief; ad-hoc jigsaw puzzles freewheeling shapes that lean, nuzzle and jostle each other to make unlikely harmonies of pungent, ravishing color and abstract pattern. Ms. Murray loves to paint. That’s still the bottom line. Her art is about her absorption in this antique endeavor; which she finds deadly serious and ecstatically satisfying. These days, when there is so much facile painting around, it is useful to be reminded that there are still veterans like her, steeped in the medium, its difficulties and pleasures, who work so hard and make such beautiful art.[37]

Exhibitions: Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art, organized by Associate Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, April 19–June 29, 2003. Travels to: the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, September 17, 2003–January 4, 2004; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, January 31–April 4; and the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Hovikodde, Norway, June 17–September 15.

Exhibitions: Truth Justice and the Comics #2 (1990) included in Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque organized by Robert Storr, SITE Santa Fe, July 18, 2004–January 9,2005.

Exhibitions: Southern California (1976) included in Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Art Collection organized by Ann Temkin at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, February 4–April 25
Daughter, Sophie graduates from Barnard College.

Exhibitions: Elizabeth Murray, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 21, 2005-January 9, 2006. Traveled to Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain, June 8-September 3, 2006. First “pop-up” book published by The Museum of Modern Art accompanies the exhibition.

Daughter, Daisy graduates from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Attends the 52nd Biennale di Venezia, where her work is exhibited in Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense, curated by Robert Storr. June 2007.

Dies in Washington County, NY. August 12, 2007.

Artists are strange beings. We withdraw in order to work,
but we can't ever completely withdraw, not from life.[38]


1. Elizabeth Murray, quoted in Jessica Hagedorn, "Elizabeth Murray," Bomb no. 62 (Winter 1998): 60.
2. Murray, quoted in Paul Gardner, "Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up," Artnews LXXXIII, no. 7 (September 1981): 51.
3. Elizabeth Murray, quoted in Robert Storr, "Interview," in Storr, Elizabeth Murray, exh. cat. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2005): 169.
4. Ibid., 169.
5. Ibid., 174.
6. Ibid., 173.
7. Murray, quoted in Sue Graze and Kathy Halbreich, "Interview," in Graze and Halbreich, Elizabeth Murray: Painting's and Drawings, exh. cat. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, in association with the Dallas Museum of Art and the MIT Committee on the Visual Arts, 1987), p. 126.
8. Murray, quoted in Marcia Tucker, Early Work by Five Contemporary Artists, exh. cat. (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1977).
9. Jeff Way.
10. Murray, quoted in Gardner, "Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up," p. 51.11. Murray, quoted in Graze and Halbreich, "Interview," p. 128.
11. Murray, quoted in Graze and Halbreich, "Interview," p. 128.
12. Murray, quoted in Roberta Smith in “Motion Pictures,” in Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings, exh. Cat. (new York:Harry N. Abrams, in association with the Dallas Museum of Art and MIT committee on the Visual Arts, 1987): 14-15.
13. Elizabeth Murray, quoted in Robert Storr, "Interview," in Storr, Elizabeth Murray, exh. cat. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2005): 172.
14. Murray, quoted in Storr, "Interview": 167.
15. Ronny H. Cohen, "Elizabeth Murray's Colored Space," Artforum, December 1982: 54.
16. Ellen Lubell, "Elizabeth Murray," Arts Magazine 49, no. 7 (March 1975): 15.
17. Murray, quoted in Storr, "Interview"; 167.
18. Murray, quoted in Gardner, "Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up," p. 55.
19. Murray, quoted in "Art: Elizabeth Murray in Conversation with Robert Storr and Phong Bui," Brooklyn Rail, October 2005.
20. Carter Ratcliff, "The Paint Thickens," Artforum 14, no. 10 (June 1976): 46.
21. Roberta Smith, "Elizabeth Murray at Paula Cooper," Art in America LXV, no. 2 (March-April 1977): 114.
22. Jeff Perrone, "Elizabeth Murray," Artforum 17, no. 5 (January 1979): 65.
23. Murray, quoted in "Plates of Paintings and Artist's Commentary," in Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings: 34.
24. Stuart Morgan, "New Work/New York at the Hayward Gallery," Artscribe 18 (July 1979): 52-53.
25. Murray, quoted in Marlena Donohue, "Cartoonish and Goofy, Yet Disciplined," The Christian Science Monitor, June 5, 1997, p. 11.
26. Murray, quoted in Storr, "Interview": 177.
27. Matthew Collings, "Nothing Deep," Artscribe 30 (August 1981): 29.
28. Smith, "Hidden Manias," The Village Voice, April 1 7, 1 984, p. 95.
29. Ken Johnson, "Elizabeth Murray's Ne"· Paintings," Arts Magazine, September 1987, p. 68.
30. Nancy Grimes, "Reviews, New York: Elizabeth Murray, Whitney Museum of Art," Artnews 87. no. 7 (September 1988): 151.
31. Elizabeth Hess, "The Color of Murray," Ms., June 1 988, pp. 34-37.
32. Mira Schor, "From Liberation to Lack," Heresies: A. Feminist Publication on Art and Politics 6, no. 4, issue 24(1989): 21.
33. John Russell, "The Modern Charts Its Course Step by Step," New York Times, May 13, 1 990: H35
34. Murray, quoted in Corinne Robins, "Elizabeth Murray: Deconstructing Our Interiors," Art Journal 50, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 59.
35. Murray, quoted in Gardner, "Do Titles Really Matter?," Artnews 91 no. 2 (February 1992): 96.
36. Peter Schjeldahl, "Grand Funk," The New Yorker, April 14, 2003, p. 83.
37. Michael Kimmelman, "Elizabeth Murray," New York Times, March 21, 2003, p. E40.
38. Murray, quoted in Gardner, "Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up," p. 55.