“The City of Des Moines” (2004) by Alex Brown, oil paint on canvas, 70 by 70 inches. Courtesy of Feature Inc., New York.
Alex Brown (1966-2019) was one of Greater Des Moines’ most acclaimed artists who gained international renown for his abstract interpretations of everyday images. A new residency program seeks to honor his legacy by providing artists with “an experience of the working conditions Brown found in Des Moines—the ability to make the work you want to make, free from the daily influence of being immersed in a major metropolitan scene but without the isolation of a rural residency,” according to the Alex Brown Foundation. The artists chosen will work at Mainframe Studios.
Brown grew up in Des Moines and moved to New York City as a young adult. There, he played guitar for the punk bank Gorilla Biscuits, which produced several records and toured extensively. After leaving the band, Brown began focusing on painting, eventually graduating from the New School’s Parsons School of Design and signing with Feature Inc. in New York, recognized as one of the world’s most cutting-edge galleries. Solo shows followed in Geneva, Tokyo and other international locales. He returned to Des Moines in 1995 and eventually moved to a studio at Mainframe. He died from an aneurysm in January 2019.
To learn more about the residency, which was established with funds from his estate, visit the Alex Brown Foundation’s website. To find out more about Brown’s extraordinary life and work, read this profile from the dsm archive.
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