"What my little visit to your studio did, it restored my faith in art."

Jonas Mekas, in a letter to Gordon, 1995

Dana Gordon (b.1944, Boston, USA) began his art career working as assistant to Tony Smith and George Sugarman in the late 1960s in New York. He had studied painting at Brown University and Hunter College, and photography with Aaron Siskind in Chicago..

In the 1970s Gordon was a professor of art at the Universities of Michigan, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, and a lecturer at the Honolulu Museum of Art, St. Martins, and other venues. In 1979 he returned to New York, where he has lived ever since.

Gordon's first New York solo show of painting was at the Ericson Gallery in 1982. He then had multiple solo shows at such galleries as Andre Zarre and 55 Mercer in Manhattan and Sideshow in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, plus other galleries including Galerie Metanoia in Paris, France, and a retrospective at the Westbeth Gallery in NY in 2019. In addition, since 2015 ideelart.com has represented his work online. 

In 1974, after making three-dimensional and shaped canvases and other avant-garde experiments for about nine years, Gordon decided to "start over".  He put a simple white chalk mark on a piece of black paper, and let things develop freely from there, toward establishing his own art. The marks went not only toward strokes and their arrangements, lines, outlines, and abstract or figurish shapes, but inevitably toward proto-languages, too.  Especially at first, in encountering the most fundamental qualities. All the developments integrated as time passed. The change in 1974 thus connects very directly to his latest work, as in the show he was invited to put on at The Painting Center in May-June 2023. 

From 1968 to 1979 Gordon made avant-garde films in addition to painting. These were shown internationally in festivals and solo shows such as at MoMA, Anthology, the Walker, and at EXPRMNTL-5 in Knokke in 1974, and other venues more recently.

In 1985 he designed the sets for Don Pasquale, for the NY Opera Ensemble.

In 1993 Dana Gordon was one of the principal founders of The Painting Center in New York. In the same year one of his paintings was reproduced as the front cover of the Paris Review (issue no. 129).

Gordon's work is in many public and private collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, M.I.T., Adelphi University, and the Royal Belgian Film Archive, and of Edward Albee, Virgil Thomson, and Hilton Kramer. His art received awards from the Pollock-Krasner Fdn., Rauschenberg's Change Fdn., and university research grants, and residencies at the Edward Albee Fdn., the Triangle Workshop, and the Millay Colony. In 1978 he was the "runner-up" for the NEA's US/UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship.

Critical acclaim for his work has included Linda Gross, in the L.A.Times, 1978: "... for purists and pioneers in pursuit of new perceptions." John Russell in the New York Times in 1987 "...well worth seeking out...a painter of whom it would be good to see more." Helen Harrison, NYTimes, 1994: "...beautiful paintings, filled with the controlled exuberance of a carefully orchestrated spectacle." Grace Glueck, NYTimes, 1997: "... a very lively eyefest." James Panero, in the New Criterion, 2014: "While many artists paint widely, Gordon paints deeply.... Gordon knows 'what only painting can do.' " David Cohen, of Art Critical, on DG's Paris show, 2018: "Lucky Paris."

In Gordon's words:

"What inspires my work? Everything. To paint I get into a frame of mind where I can bring everything to bear, focused on the moment of painting. A specific subject is too limiting to my unconscious. Painting's potency is comprehensive and open-ended. Abstract form underlies all visual art; it expresses the intellect, the content, and the feeling. All art is now. In art there are no “other” cultures. My painting does not subvert. It upholds art. Beauty is good."

Gordon has written about art for The Wall Street Journal, The New Criterion, The New York Sun, Commentary, Delicious Line, The Jerusalem Post, and Painters' Table.