Group Show

Show Dates:
May 11 – June 8, 2019

Opening reception
Saturday, May 11, 2019, 4-8 PM
Closing reception
Saturday, June 8, 2019, 5-7 PM


At Westbeth Gallery, 57 Bethune Street, NY, NY 10014
Gallery hours: Wednesday – Sunday 1-6 PM, or by appointment.

Robert Bunkin, Anniversary Portrait, 1977, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Westbeth Galleryis pleased to present Parent Portraits, an exhibition focusing on artists’ representations of their parents, curated by artists Robert Bunkin and Jenny Tango. The exhibition will offer works by these contemporary international artists working in diverse media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, intaglio printmaking, and embroidery:

Participating Artists:

Sigmund Abeles, Ken Aptekar, Anneli Arms, Joan Banach, Isabel Barber,
Brian Brooks, Robert Bunkin,Susanna Coffey, William Crist, Patricia Dahlman,
Harvey Dinnerstein, Elise Dodeles, Jenny Dubnau, Richard Estrin, Donna Festa,
Leonid Gervits, Dan Gheno, Susan Grabel, Amaya Gurpide,
Patrick Earl Hammie, Mark Hanson, Melanie Hickerson, Jayne Holsinger,
Sedrick Huckaby, Sara Issakharian, Karen Kaapcke, Catherine Kehoe, Brian Kreydatus,
Mel Leipzig, Beverly McIver, Marybeth McKenzie, Ron Milewicz, John Mitchell,
Arnold Mesches, Bill Murphy, Danielle Muzina, Jennifer Pochinski,
Carolyn Pyfrom, James Rauchman, Joseph Santore, Elinore Schnurr,
Ryan Schroeder, Frances Siegel, Orly Shiv, Jenny Tango, Polly Thayer,
Audrey Ushenko, Clarissa Payne Uvegi, Costa Vavagiakis, Jerome Witkin.

Beverly McIver, Cardrew III, 2015, Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 in. (91.44 x 91.44 cm), courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery.

Among the most significant and intimate relationships we all share, parents are defined here as biological or adoptive, but not “spiritual” or metaphorical.

Sigmund Abeles, Artist’s Mother, Henrietta Banner Abeles, 1971, plaster, 10 ½ x 10 ½ x 10 inches

This subject has rarely been the theme of an art exhibition. Many artists have depicted their mothers and fathers as a kind of search for their own identity or as a tribute to their nurturers and first patrons. We often have conflicted relationships with our parents and this complexity can motivate the work. Interpretations of this subject run the gamut from highly charged narratives to straightforward realism, with humor and affection along the way. All of the works are extremely personal expressions of the artist’s relationship.

Jenny Tango, Mom and Dad Napping, 1947, pencil on paper, 9 x 12 inches

The exhibition offers works by a cross-section of younger and older artists of diverse backgrounds, including works by Arnold Mesches (d. 2016) and Polly Thayer (d. 2006). The exhibition contextualizes these contemporary works with a visual timeline of historic artists’ portraits of their parents, including such masters as Dürer, Rembrandt,
Whistler, Cassatt, Picasso, Motley, Neel, Freud and Hockney. Additional historic images submitted by participating artists will be posted over the course of the exhibition.

Special Events

May 12, 2019, Sunday at 3PM – 4:30PM

This interactive tour will offer highlights and insights into some of the over 70 works in the exhibition, which features 50 contemporary artists and a timeline of past artists’ portraits of their parents, collected by the curators and the artists in the exhibition.
This program is free and doesn’t require reservations.

Further information: or tel./text 347 979-4009

May 18, 2019 Saturday at 3PM

: Three generations of children will discuss Westbeth’s impact on parents and on themselves, followed by an open forum.
Geoffrey Jones, multimedia director, video artist and composer/musician – son of Penny Jones, puppeteer
Nelly Rieffler, award winning author, daughter of choreographer/dancer Ellen Marshall
Melika Dave, cross-media artist, daughter of painter Vinod Dave
This program is free and doesn’t require reservations

May 25, 2019 Saturday at 3PM
MAGDALENA: A family story of love and dementia

Conceived, written, and performed by Gabri Christa
Directed by Erwin Maas
Design and dramaturgy by Guy de Lancey
MAGDALENA is an intimate multimedia solo work by the award-winning filmmaker and a Guggenheim Fellow Gabri Christa. Utilizing storytelling, visuals, and dance, the artist reveals a deeply personal account of experiencing her Dutch mother’s dementia, and an effort to piece together her past, marked by struggles with war, interracial marriage and unconventional motherhood. The piece premiered last fall in Theaterlab NYC where it received rave reviews. 2 PERFORMANCES ONLY:

$10. Tickets (Seniors tickets free with reservation) can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets

June 1, 2019 Saturday at 3PM
PARENT POEMS will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition PARENT PORTRAITS at Westbeth Gallery, 57 Bethune Street, NYC, on Saturday, June 1, at 3 pm.
Admission to the Parent Portraits exhibition and Parent Poems is free.

This thematic reading will feature seven poets: Edward Field, Hugh Seidman, Edith Chevat, Elizabeth Lash, Perry Brass and James K. Zimmerman. Parent poems from Anything You Don’t See by Enid Dame will be read by Robert Bunkin.

The six books of poetry by Westbeth Icon, Edward Field, have won him acclaim and honors. He has edited anthologies, translated Eskimo songs and stories, and written the narration for the Academy Award-winning documentary, To Be Alive. He is the editor of the Alfred Chester Newsletter and has prepared several volumes of Chester’s work for Black Sparrow Press. Field has also collaborated on several popular novels with Neil Derrick under the joint pseudonym of Bruce Elliot.

Hugh Seidman has taught writing at the University of Wisconsin, Yale, Columbia, the College of William and Mary, and The New School. His work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His many awards include The Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press (Western Michigan University) for SOMEBODY STAND UP AND SING. His poems have been published by Miami University Press, Random House, Doubleday, Yale University Press, and Half Moon Bay Press.

Edith Chevat is the editor of Girls: An Anthology. Her novel, The Book of Esther, takes a haunting American past—the McCarthy era—and shows how individual lives are changed by history. Her novel, Love Lesson received a starred review in Booklist. Her chapbook Lost, is a poem of personal loss and the loss of 9/11. Her stories, interviews, and poems have appeared in various periodicals and journals. She lives in New York City within sight of Ground Zero.
Elizabeth Lash, winner of the 2019 Miriam Chaikin Foundation Writing Award (Poetry), is a NYC-based attorney who has written on a variety of subjects—from art law and ex-KGB agents to women engineers and corruption in Azerbaijan. Her poetry has appeared in The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, and her non-fiction articles have been published by the Center for Art Law, the Holy Cross Journal of Law and Public Policy, Transparency International, the Engineering News-Record, and, among others. She also runs the podcast “Entering the Bar, with Liz Lash,” about the humanistic (and often hidden) sides of lawyers.

Perry Brass has published many books of poetry and science fiction, including The Lover of My Soul, Sex Charge, Mirage and its sequel Circles, Out There, Albert or The Book of Man, Works and Other ‘Smoky George’ Stories and The Harvest in addition to numerous anthologies of Gay poetry and fiction.

James K. Zimmerman is a widely-published, award-winning poet. His second book of poetry, Family Cookout, is the winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Competition from The Comstock Review.

Enid Dame (1943 – 2003) was a poet, fiction writer, teacher, editor, and publisher. She and her husband, poet Don Lev, edited and published the literary tabloid, Home Planet News. She was on the faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University where she served as Associate Director of the Writing Program. The 2007 anthology, Broken Land, edited by Julia Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell, was dedicated to her memory.

The session will close with volunteers from the audience reading “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, and “Regina Exler, 1890-1976” by Samuel Exler.

Press contact & further information:
Robert Bunkin, tel./text: 347 979-4009, email:

Closing Reception Saturday June 8, 2019. 5PM – 7PM

For more information call or text Robert Bunkin at 347-979-4009 or email

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