Albuquerque Museum Acquisition, Solo Show at Richard Levy Gallery

The first painting of Willy Bo Richardson’s multi-decade series, Number 1 (1999) has just been acquired by the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History for its permanent collection. (He’s in good company: this New Mexico museum’s art collection includes Georgia O’Keeffe, Raymond Jonson, Fritz Scholder, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.)

To celebrate the acquisition, Richardson’s long-time dealer Richard Levy Gallery, also in Albuquerque, will be hosting a solo show called “Navigation” in the project space from April 20 to May 25. “My Number 1 was a great intuitive leap against the backdrop of New York intellectualism in the late 90s, which had declared ‘painting is dead,’” he writes. “I felt like I lived in a culture of no unified tradition for painting, or that the tradition had become the end, or deconstruction of tradition. I simply longed for a system in which I could grow and better myself with the grace and freedom of contemporary thought, while retaining a respect for improving on an objective craft. Craft in this case, being proportion, elements of composition and rules of beauty in their most simplified forms. I needed a first step, a first atomic structure, a first declaration in relation to history and natural wonder. This was my number 1. I had chills of excitement all the while a centered calm while making this painting. I cannot fully express how much joy I felt… like meeting a long-lost family member for the first time.”


Number 1, 1999, 58 x 62 1/2 in, oil on canvas