Dona Nelson



1968 Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, B.F.A.
1968 Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York City

Selected Grants and Awards

2015 Anonymous Was a Woman Grant, 2015
2013 Artist Legacy Foundation Award
2011 Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2011 Recipient
2000 Tesuque Foundation Grant. Peer nominated
1994 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

Solo Exhibitions


Dona Nelson: Selected Paintings, 2019 to 2023, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, April 5–May 25, 2024.


Moby Dick, Michael Benevento Gallery, Los Angeles, February 4–March 25.

Recent Paintings, A Journey Through Materiality, Dona Nelson.

Fahrenheit, Madrid, May 16–July 1.


Refiguring, One Painting at a Time (1977–2022), Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City, October 27—December 17, 2022.


Stretchers Strung Out on Space, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City, Winter, 2021


Dona Nelson: Days, textures and patterns, Tajan, The Gallery, Paris, France, Fall, 2019 (catalogue available).

Painting the Magic Mountain, Michael Benevento Gallery, Los Angeles, Fall, 2019.

2018 Dona Nelson : Stand Alone Paintings, curated by Ian Berry, May 11–August 12, 2018, Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.
2017 Models Stand Close to the Paintings, Spring 2017, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City.
2016 Erasing Tracing Racing Paint, Polly Apfelbaum, Dona Nelson at Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, CA, March 12–May 7, 2016.
2015 New Paintings, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City, September 17–October 31, 2015.
2014 Phigor, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City, April–May, 2014.
2010 VOLTA NY—Solo Booth, March 4–7, 2010.
2008 in situ: paintings 1973–present, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City, April 24–May 31, 2008.
2006 Brain Stain, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City.
2003 Tactile Image, Cheim and Read, New York City.
2001 Stations of the Subway, Cheim and Read, New York City.
2000 Dona Nelson: The Stations of the Subway, Octopuses and Arrangements, Weatherspoon Art Gallery. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina. Curator, Ron Platt. Catalogue Essay by Klaus Kertess.
1999 Parks and Portraits: Dona Nelson, 1983–88, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, The Morris Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Essay by Sanford Schwartz.
1996 Michael Klein Gallery, New York City.
1993 Michael Klein Gallery, New York City.
1990 Scott Hanson Gallery, New York City.
1989 Scott Hanson Gallery, New York City.
1983 Hamilton Gallery, New York City.
1982 Oscarsson Hood Gallery, New York City.
1975 Rosa Esman Gallery, New York City.

Selected Group Exhibitions


Painting Deconstructed, Ortega y Gasset Projects, curated by Leeza Meksin, May 18–August 18, 2024.


Saturation June 11–September 24, 2022, Curated by Oona Doyle, Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin, Paris, France.

How Far is In-Between, April 2–May 7, 2022, Lisa Beck, Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Popel Coumou, Dona Nelson at Keijsers Koning, Dallas, Texas.

52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone, opening Spring 2022, The Aldrich Contemprary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut.


Off Road, featuring Mounira Al Solh, Troy Michie, Hana Miletic, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Dona Nelson, Lisa Oppenheim, Sara Ouhaddou, Diane Simpson, Zhang Yunyao, November 10—December 18, 2021, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Judith Linhares: The Artist as Curator, November 27, 2021—April 3, 2022, Sarasota Art Museum, Sarasota, Florida.

Gestures of Affection: In Memory of Louise Fishman, Louise Fishman, Suzan Frecon, Harriet Korman, Carrie Moyer, Ulrike Muller and Dona Nelson, November–December, 2021, Thomas Erben Gallery, NYC.

Never Done, Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Winter-Spring, 2021.

Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale, Curated by Brittany Webb and Jodi Throckmorton. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, January–September, 2021.


A Focus on Painting , September-October, curated by Julia Peyton-Jones, Senior Global Director, Special Projects, Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, London.

Good Pictures, September-November, curated by Austin Lee, Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, New York City.


Art Basel Miami, Nova Section, Thomas Erben Gallery: Mike Cloud, Harriet Korman, Dona Nelson.

Or Both, curated by Mia Locks, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Fall, 2019.

Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and Now, curated by Alex Glauber & Alex Logsdail, Lisson Gallery, New York City, Summer 2019.

Please recall to me everything you have thought of, Moran Moran, Los Angeles, curated by Eve Fowler, Summer, 2019.


Snarl of Twine, June 21st–July 27th, 2018, Magenta Plains, New York City.


Unpainting, curated by Nicholas Chambers, Australia, September 30, 2017–August 15, 2018, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Jackie Gendel and Dona Nelson, Art Basel, Nova Section, December 2017, Thomas Erben Gallery.

Painters Sculpting / Sculptors Painting, February 2–March 25, 2017, Fleisher / Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia.

We might not have a planet left soon, curated by Adrianne Rubenstein, April 27–June 17, 2017, GalerieKornfeld, Berlin.

The Reflection in the Sword of Holofernes, March 4–May 13, 2017, Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, Texas.


Off Screen, Jacob Ciocci, Storm De Hirsch, Paul Gagner, Dona Nelson, Raha Raissnia, Pieter Schoolwerth, Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, May 20–June 20, 2016

Physical Painting, Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, School of Art+Design, Suny Purchase, curated by Jennifer Samet, in conversation with Scott Wolniak, March 2016.


Feed the Meter, curated by Wallace Whitney, September 26–January 9, 2016, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Wandhaff, Luxembourg.

Wayfarers, curated by Ginny Kollack, June–September, 2015, The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, February 10–July 6, 2015, The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, curated by Katy Siegel.


Making Sense: Rochelle Feinstein, Deborah Grant, Iva Gueorguieva, Dona Nelson, curated by Margaret Miller, Director USF Institute for Research in Art, and Megan Voeller, Associate Curator of Education, USF Contemporary Art Museum; organized by USF Contemporary Art Museum, September 25–December 12, 2014.

NADA Art Fair, Thomas Erben Gallery, Miami Beach, Florida, 2014.

In the Office of the Drunken Monkey, Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York, August 8–September 7, 2014.

The 2014 Whitney Biennial


NADA Art Fair, Thomas Erben Gallery, Miami Beach Florida

Outside the Lines, Curated by Dean Daderko, Curator, CAMH, October 31, 2013–January 12, 2014, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, Texas.

Dyeing Merging Multitasking, organized by Leeza Meksin, July 17–August 18, 2013, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Queens, New York.

Untitled (Hybrid), curated by Kate McNamara; Robert Miller Gallery, April 19–June 1, 2013

Three in Doubles, Shanna Waddell, Kelly McCraven, Dona Nelson; April, 2013, Fjord, Philadelphia.

Sadie Benning, Thomas Kovachevich, Dona Nelson; Callicoon Fine Arts, New York City

2012 Low Epic, curated by Sheryl Oppenheim, Chashama, New York City

Simpatico, Boston University Art Gallery, at the Stone Gallery, September 7–October 21, 2012, curated by Kate McNamara, Director and Chief Curator, Boston University Art Gallery

Mary Boone Gallery, New York City, 745 Fifth Avenue, March 22–April 28, 2012

Salon Zürcher, Zürcher Studio, 33 Bleecker Street, New York City, March 5–12, 2012


NADA Art Fair, Miami Beach, Florida, December 1–4, 2011
Thomas Erben Gallery, Booth #113

Affinities: Painting in Abstraction, curated by Kate McNamara, D'Amelio Terras Gallery, New York City, June 30–August 19, 2011

Texture,txt, Regina Rex, Queens, NYC, January 6–February 13, 2011

From the Page’s Edge: Water in Literature and Art, traveling exhibition, curated by Jean Creighton. Next venue, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vermont, opening May 29, 2011

A Painting Show, temporary space, 508 West 26th Street, Harris Lieberman Gallery, organized by Laura Raicovich and Jessie Washburne-Harris, May 6–June 4, 2011, New York City

15 Years Thomas Erben Gallery, May 6–June 4, 2011, New York City

Incipent Image, curated by Stephen Maine, New York City, Lesley Heller Gallery, March


Vivid, curated by Janet Phelps, Schroder, Romero & Shredder

40, Texas Gallery, June 15–July 31, 2010

PASTORALE, curated by Klaus Kertess, NYU, 80WSE, New York City, September 14–October 16, 2010

Animate Matter, Pia Maria Martin, Dona Nelson, Richard Staub, Rose Wylie, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York City


Pushing Paint, Museum of Nebraska Art, Fall, 2009

Spaced Out/On Time, September 11–October 11, Canada Gallery, New York City


Thomas Erben Gallery at Chatterjee & Lai, Mumbai, India. August 2008. Affinities Redux, Ramapo College, November 2008, curated by Kate McNamara

Charismatic Abstraction, Chris Martin, Moira Dryer, Mike Cloud, John L. Moore Richmond Center for Visual Arts, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, Michigan

2007 CCS Bard Spring Exhibitions, March, Bard College

Scope Art Fair/Miami, Thomas Erben Gallery

Still Life, Monya Rowe Gallery, New York City

2005 Field Questions, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia
2004 Art/Basil/Miami, Cheim and Read Gallery

WTC, Living in the Shadows, Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, New York

Wall Street Rising—Art Downtown, New York City

Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York City

Jump,The Painting Center, New York City


Vivid, Richard Salmon Gallery, London, England. Traveled to Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Center, Conventry (April 27–June 28, 2002) and to Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sutherland (July 12–August 23, 2002)

2000 Beyond the Mountains: The Contemporary American Landscape, Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Group Exhibition at Marlborough Gallery/Chelsea, New York City

Small Paintings, Cheim and Read Gallery, New York City

View II, Mary Boone Gallery, New York City. Curated by Klaus Kertess

1997 Essential Gestures, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS. Curated by Bruce Hartman

Face to Face: Recent Abstract Painting, M.I.T. List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Painting All-Over Again, Palacia de Montemuzok, Zaragoza, Spain. Curated by Saul Ostrow

Method and Multiclicity, Apex Art, New York City. Curated by Richmond Burton

1995 25 Americans: Painting in the 90's, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Michigan
1991 American Narrative Painting and Sculpture: The 1980's, from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York

Four Artists, Artists Space, New York City. Curated by Elizabeth Murray

Ripe Fruit, P.S.1, Long Island City, New York City. Curated by Lisa Liebmann

1984 The Figure in Paint, Cable Gallery, New York City. Curated by Klaus Kertess
1983 The Painterly Figure, The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York. Curated by Klaus Kertess

Body Language: Recent Figuration, Hayden Gallery, M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Contemporary Painting: Figuration, USCB, Santa Barbara, California


26 Contemporary Women Artists, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Conencticut. Curated by Lucy Lippard

10 Young Artists: Theodoran Awards, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York City

1968 Whitney Independent Study Program, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

Selected Bibliography


Martha Schwendener, New York Galleries: What to See Right Now, New York Times, July 31, 2019.

Phong Bui, Painters Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970s and Now, curated by Alex Glauber and Alex Logsdail, The Brooklyn Rail, July–August 2019


Polly Apfelbaum, Dona Nelson at Michael Benevento, Contemporary Art Daily, May 3, 2016.

David Pagel, Critic's Choice: Renegade abstractions of Polly Apfelbaum and Dona Nelson make for a stellar art show, Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2016.

Annabel Osberg, Polly Apfelbaum/Dona Nelson, Artillary, April 13, 2016.


Edith Newhall, Galleries: For galleries, it's the season to indulge, The Inquirer, August 9, 2015.

Roberta Smith, The Best in Art in 2015, The New York Times, December 9, 2015.

Review: 'Pretty Raw' Recounts Helen Frankenthaler's Influence on the Art World, Roberta Smith, The New York Times, June 3, 2015.

Hyperallergic Weekend, May31, 2015. Martha Buskirk on Pretty Raw: Art After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, 02/10 to 06/07/15, curated by Katy Siegel.


Vogue Magazine, July issue, pp. 140 – 141.

Julian Kreimer, “Dona Nelson,” Art in America, June/July, pp.140-141.

Barry Schwabsky, “Dona Nelson,” Artforum, Summer, 2014.

Roberta Smith, “Phigor: Dona Nelson,” The New York Times, May 9th.

Rick Briggs, “Phigor: Go Figure,” Hyperallergic, May 3rd.

“Dona Nelson,” Goings on About Town: Art, The New Yorker, May 12th.

Fabian Lopez, “the Alchemy of Phigor and Others,” Title Magazine, April 21st.

“Past, Present, Futurism,” Barry Schwabsky, The Nation, April 12, 2014.

Peter Schjeldahl, “The Whitney Biennial,” The New Yorker, March 17, 2014.

Ted Loos, Vogue, March issue, p.520.

“Female Painters,” (with photograph of Okie Dokie), New York Times, February 28, 2014.

Jerry Saltz, “Seeing Out Loud: There’s a Smart Show Struggling to Get Out of this Big, Bland Whitney Biennial,”

Andrew Russeth, “The Whitney Biennial Disappoint, With Misfires, Omissions, Only Glimmers of Greatness,” Gallerist,, March 6, 2014.

Holland Cotter, “One Last Dance in the Old Place,” New York Times, March 6, 2014.

Samantha Melamed, “Philadelphia artists shine at Whitney Biennial,”, The Inquirer, February 26, 2014.


Steven Zevitas, Huffpost Arts & Culture, December 20, 2013.

Edith Newhall, “Galleries: Woodmere show focuses on contemporary art,” The Inquirer, June 3, 2013.

2012 Cate McQuaid, “Ornate,pushy,celebratory – yet all compatible,” The Boston Globe, September 19, 2012.

“12 Painters to Watch In 2012,” Steven Zevitas, Huffington Post, 12/27/11.

“Fair Play: NADA,”

“12 to Watch in 2012: Publisher's Picks,”

Faye Hirsh, “Lawler, Wearing Put Women on Top at Gallery Week,” Art in America, online International Review.

Stephen Truax, “At Regina Rex, Latin Roots Woven Together,”

Andrew Russeth,, February 2, 2011.


Susie Kalil, “Woman power:Texas Gallery's 40 sends a welcome jolt through the Houston art scene,” Culturemap Houston.

Wendy Vogel, “40, Texas Gallery Houston,” Art Lies, Issue 66.

2009 Roberta Smith, “Spaced Out/On Time,” The New York Times, September 25.

Roberta Smith, “Art in Review, Dona Nelson,” The New York Times, May 23, p. E26.

Unsigned. The New Yorker, May 19th, p.16.

2007 Edith Newhall, “Get Thee to Elkins Park,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/12.
2006 “Dona Nelson at ThomasErben,” 9/14.

Carrie Moyer. “Brain Stain,” The Brooklyn Rail, October.

Holland Cotter. “Art in Review; Dona Nelson,” The New York Times, 9/22.

Stephen Maine. “Dona Nelson at Thomas Erben,” Art in America, December, p. 149.


Stephen Westfall. “Dona Nelson at Cheim & Read,” Art in America, June, pp/ 117–118.

Jerry Saltz. “Rays of Light,”, January 27.

Unsigned., January 29.

Unsigned. “Previews,” Contemporary, #47/48, p. 38.

Unsigned. “Art,” The New Yorker, February 3, pp. 19–20.

Ken Johnson. “Dona Nelson, Art Reviews,” The New York Times, January 31.


Paul Mattick. “Dona Nelson at Cheim & Read,” Art in America, June, pp. 124–125.

Edith Newhall. “Subway Series,” New York Magazine, January 15, p.68.

Unsigned. “Art,” The New Yorker, January 29, p. 18.

Robert Mahoney. “Dona Nelson; 'Stations of the Subway',” Time Out, New York, January 25 February 1, p.64.

Ann Landi. “Dona Nelson,” ARTnews, April, p. 141.

Roberta Smith. “Dona Nelson,” Art Reviews, The New York Times, February 16.

Roberta Smith. “Last Chance,” The New York Times, February 23.

1999 Brown, Gerard. “Review/Art,” Philadephia Weekly, January 27, p. 34.
1998 Johnson, Ken. “Review/Art,” The New York Times, May 1, p. E43.

Hirsh, Faye. “Abstracting the Familiar [The Work of Dona Nelson],” Art in America, February.

Ostrow, Saul. “Essential Gestures,” Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, Overland Park, Kansas, exhibition catalogue.


Smith, Roberta. “Dona Nelson: Paradox Lake,” The New York Times, March 29, p. 25.

MacAdam, Alfred. “Dona Nelson, ARTnews, June, p. 149.

Ostrow, Saul. “Painting All-Over Again,” Palacio de Montemuzo, Zaragoza, Spain, exhibition catalogue.

Posner, Helene. “Face to Face: Recent Abstract Painting,” M.I.T. List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, exhibition catalogue.


Yablonsky, Linda. “Dona Nelson at Michael Klein Inc.,” Artforum, January. Hirsh, Faye.

“Dona Nelson at Michael Klein,” Art in America, May.

Saltz, Jerry. “A Year in the Life: Tropic of Painting, Art in America, October.

Whelan, Richard. “ Interview with Dona Nelson,” Bomb Magazine,
No XXXXVI, Winter.


Lieberman, William. “American Narrative painting and Sculpture: the 1980's,” Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY, exhibition catalogue.

Smith, Roberta. “Review/Art,” The New York Times, August, p. C22. 1990.

Unsigned. “Art,” The New Yorker, June 11, p. 20.

Pardee, Hearne. “In the Galleries,” Art and Antiques, November.


Liebmann, Lisa. “Dona Nelson's Time Pieces,” Artforum, March, pp. 90-93.

Smith, Roberta. “Tales of Ordinary People Told in Bits and Pieces,” The New York Times, March 31, 1989.

Reid, Calvin. “Dona Nelson and Archie Rand at Scott Hanson,” Art in America, November.


Jacobs, Joseph. “Faces Since the Fifties,” Center Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Philadelphia, exhibition catalogue.

Kertess, Klaus. “The Painterly Figure,” The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, exhibition catalogue.


Kramer, Hilton. “Dona Nelson,” The New York Times, January 25.

Unsigned. “Dona Nelson,” Arts Magazine, March.

Nelson, Dona. [Letter to the Editor.] Artforum, September.


Lucy Lippard. “26 Contemporary Women Artists,” Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, exhibition catalogue.

Shearer, Linda. “Ten Young Artists: Theodoron Awards,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, exhibition catalogue.

Curatorial Activity

Eight Young Figurative Artists Who Live in Philadelphia, curated by Dona Nelson, Fjord Gallery, November 7–23, 2014

The Fluid Field: Abstraction and Reference, October, 2007, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

In Front of Strangers I Sing, the 72nd Annual Exhibition, The Woodmere Museum, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, juried/curated by Dona Nelson and Rubens Ghenov, June through August, 2013

Public and Corporate Collections

  • Shah Garg Collection
  • ICA, Miami
  • Zuckerman Museum at Kennesaw State University, Georgia
  • Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg
  • The Pompidou, Paris
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Beth Rudin DeWoody, The Bunker Art Space
  • The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, New York
  • Perez Art Museum, Miami, Florida
  • The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco and Paris
  • Committee for the Visual Arts/M.I.T. Collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City
  • Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida,Tampa, Florida
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • State University of New York, Albany, New York
  • William & Uytendale Scott Memorial Study Collection, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • Nordstern, Cologne, Germany
  • Progressive Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio
  • General Mills, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Microsoft Corporation, Seattle, Washington
  • The Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • Albright - Knox Art Gallery
  • The Museum of Nebraska Art
  • Madison Scranton Memorial Library, Madison, Connecticut


Professor Emerita, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University, Philadelphia.
2021 College Art Association, Distinguished Teaching of Art Award.

Bard MFA Program, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Summer 2012, 2015, 2018, 2023.