PICTURE THIS: The Artistry of a Father and Son

Paintings by Noel Yauch, Photographs by Adam Yauch

In this exhibition we present over twenty works of art by a father, and a son – Noel Yauch a painter and architect, and Adam Yauch, a photographer and musician.  Two lives touched by art, and inspired by one another.

Noel was an artist from early childhood. He began his career in the arts studying painting in the late 1940s and early 50s, the heyday of abstract expressionism in New York, first at the Art Students League with Morris Kantor and then at Cooper Union with Steve Wheeler.  In the 1950s he turned away from painting to become an architect. Though he did some some drawing along the way, it was not until he retired from architecture forty years later that he returned to painting.  Then with the encouragement of his son, who was always an enthusiastic admirer of his father’s paintings, Noel returned to art school (at the Studio School) to study once again, this time devoting his full attention to his first love. Over the past twenty-five years Noel Yauch has produced hundreds of paintings, still abstract – differing from his early attempts only in as much as they are more precise – coming from a man who as an architect spent years addressing formal relationships, those relationships now between color and balance. Mainly produced in his home studio in Brooklyn where he has lived since the mid-1960s, his acrylic on canvas paintings often appear to vibrate and swirl with emotion, still full of that expressionistic vigor from the days of his youth. Yauch, now eighty-five years old, is as keen on art as ever, and is very proud to have his paintings shown alongside his son’s photography.

Adam, too was an artist from early childhood. An avid photographer in high school, he built a darkroom in his family home at about the same time he co-founded his band, Beastie Boys.  Yauch enjoyed these passions simultaneously, using the band, himself included, as his main subject matter throughout the years.  His photographs, stylistically docu/street, regularly employ a wide-angle or fish-eye lens to capture the three of them together often at integral points throughout their lives (first apartments, album covers, etc.). While he was known musically as MCA, much of Adam’s visual work (photos, films, videos) were credited to his pseudonym, Nathaniel Hörnblowér.  Much akin to his approach to music, in his photography, Adam was constantly experimenting.  Adam came up with the concept for the 360 degree street corner view that would be the cover of a particular 1989 album.  With assistance for this highly technical exposure, the band gathered for a long day of shooting. The final product a beautiful 14-foot long super-panorama on a single roll of film where the Beastie Boys appear and reappear four different times on the corner of Ludlow Street, and a building in the background with the now famous sign simply reading, “Paul’s Boutique.”  Though he passed away in 2012, at the age of 47, Adam was prolific during his short life, and leaves behind an impressive body of work, a profound and enduring testament to his life as an artist.

In a 1987 interview, Noel Yauch, summed up the father and son relationship best…

“The funny thing is, when I was Adam’s age I came to New York to be an abstract painter and my parents didn’t have the foggiest idea of what I was trying to do with my life. They thought I was nuts. I look at Adam now and the whole thing seems to be history repeating itself. The words that want to come out of my mouth are the words my father was saying to me . . . and I am trying not to say them.”

(My Son, The Punker |February 01, 1987|Robert Hilburn)