American, born 1939
In the early 1960s, Isaac Abrams was part of New York’s artistic beat milieu that included Jerry Jofen the owner of K Gallery, Herbert Hucke, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. After three years of experiences with psychedelics often provided by Jofen, in 1965 while on LSD, Isaac Abrams came to the realization that there was going to be new art that reflects the intensity, immediacy, and dimensionality of hallucinogenic experiences.
Founded on that vision and with the assistance of Timothy Leary in identifying artists, Abrams opened the Coda Gallery in New York City to showcase this new artistic genre. The gallery’s opening attracted luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Timothy Leary, and Ralph Metzner. The Coda Gallery exhibited paintings, light works, experimental film, held poetry readings, and premiered the Theater of the Ridiculous.
Abram’s profound experience with LSD had released his own creativity and empowered him to recognize his identity as an artist. Although not formally trained as an artist, Abrams began producing pen and ink drawings in 1963, and subsequently created his first successful painting in 1965. With a new outpouring of imagination, Abrams began painting impassioned, surreal imagery. Abrams’ dreamlike paintings are an amalgam of the cosmological and microscopic, resulting in a synthesis of the inner mind and the universe. His work reflects a dialog between art, culture, and the tumultuous social phenomena of the time.
Over the years Abrams continued his artistic practice, always painting but also working with video, sculpture, and animation. In recent times Abrams has undergone a resurgence of creative inspiration resulting in vibrant paintings of skilled technique and charged emotional intensity.
Isaac Abrams was born in New York City In 1939, where he lived for many years. Abrams currently lives and works in Saugerties, New York. His first major painting Hello Dali (1965) was included in the recent Berkeley Art Museum and Walker Art Center exhibition Hippie Modernism: the Struggle for Utopia. The Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Haus der Kunst, Munich exhibited Abrams’ work in the 2008 Traces of the Spiritual. The Tate museum’s 2005 Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era included Abram’s paintings and the exhibition traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007. In 2006 The Fyr Arte Contemporanea, Florence mounted a one-person exhibition Isaac Abrams: the Shape of the Mind with an accompanying catalog. Abram’s work is included in H.H. Arnason’s book History of Modern Art (1968), and is featured in the Robert Masters and Jean Houston book Psychedelic Art (1968) with his painting reproduced on the cover. The Robert Koch Gallery exhibited Abrams’ work in the 2017 exhibition History of my Dreams.