Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Bad Boy | Eric Fischl, Arezoo Moseni | An Artist Dialogue Series Event


FREE - Berger Forum doors open at 5:30 p.m.

America's foremost narrative painter Eric Fischl joins Arezoo Moseni to discuss his candid and revealing autobiography Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas.

Krefeld Project, Living Room, Scene #2, 2002. Courtesy of the artist.Krefeld Project, Living Room, Scene #2, 2002. Courtesy of the artist."I've been searching for a sense of wholeness and belonging all my life," writes Eric Fischl. "If there's been any theme uniting the stages of my life and my art, it's been that theme of redemption─the recovery of openness, intimacy, and trust. These days, my work is more about making connections. My art and life seem to be converging. The line between them, always blurry, is disappearing."

In Bad Boy renowned American artist Eric Fischl has written a penetrating, often searing exploration of his coming of age as an artist, and his search for a fresh narrative style in the highly charged and competitive New York art world in the 1970s and 1980s. With such notorious and controversial paintings as Bad Boy and Sleepwalker, Fischl joined the front ranks of American artists, in a high-octane downtown art scene that included Andy Warhol, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, and others. It was a world of fashion, fame, cocaine and alcohol that for a time threatened to undermine all that Fischl had achieved.

With my siblings - Holly, me, Laurie, and John in 1959.With my siblings - Holly, me, Laurie, and John in 1959.

Fischl discusses the impact of his dysfunctional family on his art—his mother, an imaginative and tragic woman, was an alcoholic who ultimately took her own life. Following his years as a student at Cal Arts and teaching in Nova Scotia, he describes his early years in New York with the artist April Gornik, just as Wall Street money begins to encroach on the old gallery system and change the economics of the art world. Fischl rebelled against the conceptual and minimalist art that was in fashion at the time to paint compelling portraits of everyday people that captured the unspoken tensions in their lives. Still in his thirties, Eric became the subject of a major Vanity Fair interview, his canvases sold for as much as a million dollars, and The Whitney Museum mounted a major retrospective of his paintings.

Soul in Flight, my sculpture of Arthur Ashe for the opening of the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Center, 2000. Courtesy of the artist.Soul in Flight, my sculpture of Arthur Ashe for the opening of the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Center, 2000. Courtesy of the artist.Bad Boy follows Fischl’s maturation both as an artist and sculptor, and his inevitable fall from grace as a new generation of artists takes center stage, and he is forced to grapple with his legacy and place among museums and collectors. The book also includes vignettes and recollections of Eric by fellow artists David Salle, Julian Schnabel, art dealer Mary Boone, friend and art aficionado Steve Martin, and a score of others. Beautifully written, and as courageously revealing as his most provocative paintings, Bad Boy takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through the passion and politics of the art world as it has rarely been seen before. 

Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing at the event after the audience Q&A. 

Eric Fischl is an internationally acclaimed American painter and sculptor. His artwork is represented in many distinguished museums throughout the world and has been featured in over one thousand publications.His extraordinary achievements throughout his career have made him one of the most influential figurative painters of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

With Chuck Close at the opening of my portrait show at Mary Boone Galley, 2011.With Chuck Close at the opening of my portrait show at Mary Boone Galley, 2011.

Fischl was born in 1948 in New York City and grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. He began his art education in Phoenix, Arizona where his parents had moved in 1967. He attended Phoenix College and earned his B.F.A. from the California Institute for the Arts in 1972. He then spent some time in Chicago, where he worked as a guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1974, he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to teach painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Fischl had his first solo show, curated by Bruce W. Ferguson, at Dalhousie Art Gallery in Nova Scotia in 1975 before relocating to New York City in 1978. Fischl's suburban upbringing provided him with a backdrop of alcoholism and a country club culture obsessed with image over content. His early work thus became focused on the rift between what was experienced and what could not be said. His first New York City solo show was at Edward Thorp Gallery in 1979, during a time when suburbia was not considered a legitimate genre for art.

Most of the gang... l-r Judy Hudson, Jack Stephens, Sally Gall, Nessia Pope, Maryjane Marcasiano, me, April, and Ralph Gibson.Most of the gang... l-r Judy Hudson, Jack Stephens, Sally Gall, Nessia Pope, Maryjane Marcasiano, me, April, and Ralph Gibson.

He first received critical attention for depicting the dark, disturbing undercurrents of mainstream American life. Fischl's paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints have been the subject of numerous solo and major group exhibitions and his work is represented in many museums, as well as prestigious private and corporate collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modem Art in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, St. Louis Art Museum, Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, MusÈe Beaubourg in Paris, The Paine Weber Collection, and many others.

With my siblings today. From left - John, Holly, Laurie and me.With my siblings today. From left - John, Holly, Laurie and me.

Fischl has collaborated with other artists and authors, including E.L. Doctorow, Allen Ginsberg, Jamaica Kincaid, Jerry Saltz and Frederic Tuten. Eric Fischl is also the founder, President and lead curator for America: Now and Here. This multi-disciplinary exhibition of 150 of some of America's most celebrated visual artists, musicians, poets, playwrights, and filmmakers is designed to spark a national conversation about American identity through the arts. The project launched on May 5th, 2011 in Kansas City before traveling to Detroit and Chicago.
Eric Fischl is a Fellow at both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Science. He lives and works in Sag Harbor, NY with his wife, the painter April Gornik.

American artist Arezoo Moseni (born in Iran), received a BFA at Utah State University, a MA and MFA at the University of New Mexico, and a MLIS at Pratt Institute. Her work has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions at major venues in the United States and abroad, and it is held in numerous public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Mead Gallery and Musee de La Photographie. She is the recipient of several fellowships and grants including the Carnegie Corporation of New York | New York Times award, Kentler International Work on Site grant, Yaddo Fellowship and Artists Space Independent Project grant. As NYPL's senior art librarian she curates exhibitions and events at New York Public Library where she has initiated several exhibition and program series featuring the work of emerging and renowned artists, authors, critics, designers and others.

Initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provide an open forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.