Studio visit with alumnus Duane Zaloudek '56

October 14, 2019

In August 2019, Robert Henry Contemporary visited alumnus Duane Zaloudek '56 in his Manhattan studio for a conversation about his life and work. It's a wonderful glimpse into the development of his practice, which evolved from a formal abstraction in the 60s toward an ever more minimal approach, and his life as an artist.

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Zaloudek was featured in the 1969 Annual Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It was the first year that that institution sent curators out across the country

Early in the 60s, he showed at the gallery of another alumna: Arlene Schnitzer's Fountain Gallery.

In 1948, Zaloudek began attending the Museum Art School on scholarship. A four-year stint in the US Air Force interrupted his studies, but he returned on the GI Bill and graduated in 1956. "Among the faculty there," he says, "the painters Louis Bunce and Mike Loew probably had the greatest influence on me." And Zaloudek notes that Georg von Bekesy's writing on sensory deprivation and his experiments with the black box at Harvard were also important to him.

Duane Zaloudek '56, "One" One, 1973, Watercolor and acrylic on canvas, 72" x 66" (1.8m x 1.6m),Duane Zaloudek '56, "One" One, 1973, Watercolor and acrylic on canvas, 72" x 66" (1.8m x 1.6m),


"I figured that if reduction of audio intake, as he found, made you mentally aware of the physical functioning of your body, it made sense that reduction of visual intake would make the individual more aware of the physicality and spirituality of vision. That’s been my direction in making paintings ever since. Of course it took some time before I was able to work my way up to that point."

Zaloudek moved to New York and lived there for three years before moving back to Portland (at the behest of his future wife) where he taught night classes at the Museum Art School and Portland State College in addition to working in his studio. In 1973 he moved back to New York where he lives and works today.

Read the whole interview here and see many images of Zaloudek's work from his long career.