Who is Rick Barton?
Who is Rick Barton?
Learn about the rediscovery of Rick Barton (1928-1992), an extraordinary draftsman of Beat-era San Francisco whose work is now being seen by the public and studied for the first time.
The Morgan Library & Museum
July 13, 2022 | 12:00 pm
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Speaker details

Rachel Federman
Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings, The Morgan

How to attend

This talk is free with museum admission. Current Columbia and Barnard students receive free admission with a CUID/BCID with current semester sticker through the Arts Initiative's Passport to Museums program.


The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave
New York, NY

About The Exhibition

One day in Peking I was sitting on the main square drawing a chrysanthemum and a little boy stopped close, looked at what I was doing, and told his father: ‘Look, He is writing a chrysanthemum.’ He was right. I am a writer.

–Rick Barton, as told to Etel Adnan

Very little is known about Rick Barton (1928–1992), who, between 1958 and 1962, created hundreds of drawings of striking originality. His subjects range from the intimacy of his room to the architecture of Mexican cathedrals, and from the gathering places of Beat-era San Francisco to the sinuous contours of plants. Drawing almost exclusively in pen or brush and ink, he captured his subjects in a web of line that was sometimes simple and economical, but more often complex and kaleidoscopic. With the exception of small displays in cafés and bookshops in the 1950s and ‘60s, this exhibition of sixty drawings, two accordion-fold sketchbooks, and five printed works, is the first time Barton’s art is being seen by the public.

Image: Rick Barton, Untitled, 1959. Rick Barton papers (Collection 2374). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.