Place making has been at the core of Fleischner’s public projects for almost fifty years. He has worked extensively in the public and private arenas, building integrated, site-specific works in cities, parks, woods, and other natural areas. The most complex projects, interactions and interventions have evolved into proposals more commonly associated with architecture and city planning than with art. At their extreme, they have been a marriage of urban design and art. He locates and identifies elements by working on-site, drawing full scale with mason’s line and stakes. This process provides the means to find edges, axes and points from which the rest of the work develops. This fundamental measuring is at the basis for all his works from the smallest independent sculpture or work on paper to the most expansive site-specific projects. While best known for these large-scale projects, his total body of work has always included independent sculptures, gouaches, drawings and photographs. These grow out of the details that he recognizes and acknowledges within the commonplace and universal interrelationships of intention, context and process. How they inform one another become the essential factors that are irreducible in the elegantly refined forms that he is dedicated to. As critic Ken Johnson writes, Fleischner's works are "metaphorically rich and formally inventive", utilising a visual vocabulary that emphasizes the quotidian and everyday, at once going "against the Modernist tradition of violent self-assertion, offering instead Arcadian dreams of balance between self and world."1
The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Guggenheim Foundation (2018), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2016), the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts (2000), and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1975, 1980, and 1991), Richard Fleischner is one of the leading artists of his generation. Selected solo exhibitions include “Richard Fleischner” (2013-14); South London Gallery, London; “Material/Process/Place” (2011), Knoedler & Company, New York; “Richard Fleischner: Critical Distance” (1992) Des Moines Art Center. Group exhibitions that Fleischner has participated in include “Specific Objects: The Minimalist Influence” (2004), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; “Individuals: A Selected History of Contemporary Art” (1985-86); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; “Sitings” (1986); La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art; the Whitney Biennale (1981), Whitney Museum, New York; “Drawings: The Pluralist Decade” (1980), United States Pavilion, 39th Venice Biennale; “Probing the Earth: Contemporary Land Projects” (1977-78) Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and documenta 6 (1977), Kassel. His works belong to numerous public collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Dallas Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Yale University Art Gallery, amongst many others.
1 Johnson, Ken. "Art in Review; Richard Fleischner." The New York Times, 5 March 1999, p. 44