works from the collection of Lynne TillmanMarch 16–May 4, 2019 West Gallery
White Columns is proud to announce a solo exhibition of works by Caroline Goe drawn from the personal collection of the New York-based writer Lynne Tillman.
Almost nothing is known about Caroline Goe’s life (or indeed whether she is still alive.) What is known is that Goe sold her paintings on the streets of New York’s East Village in the 1980’s, and that her work attracted the attention of a number artists and writers including Lynne Tillman, Chris Martin, and Robin Winters, among others. This exhibition – we believe the first ever dedicated to Goe’s work – comprises all of the paintings that Tillman acquired from the artist from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s. About her encounters with Goe and her work, Tillman writes:
“In the mid 1980’s, a woman was selling her paintings on the street, and I’m thinking it was Third Ave near 9th Street, around the corner from St Marks Bookstore. That’s my memory of it, but it might have been on Second Ave. Time pranks memory.
Carolyn Gee, I thought her name was. I’ve now learned it was Caroline Goe. She signed her name “CG.” CG was a small woman, with blondish hair. She might have been seated on a small chair, or on a blanket, but in memory I see her seated. CG was dignified and didn’t talk except to tell you how much a work was.
CG sold her paintings for a dollar or two. Some paintings were on paper, on silky, gauzy fabric, some on canvas, some were fabric glued onto paper. The canvases weren’t stretched, they were not the usual sizes or shapes, some were cut from other canvases, I thought.
CG’s paintings are figurative, and very colorful. Vivid colors, mostly: reds, purples, blues, yellow, in one a lovely light green. She used black as a background for white. She liked crosses. She was ecumenical, too, and painted Jewish stars, also. Often her paintings are of religious figures. Nuns are a favorite subject, and God or Jesus. I thought her work was about communication of different types, spiritual and actual, and about spirit itself.
CG liked painting costumes, a nun’s habit, other ceremonial dresses. Her work is upbeat, happy, and I bought quite a number of them. I think I lost a couple, I’m not sure. I particularly love the painting of two women at a table, with two paintings on the wall. Now I’ve learned other artists collected her also.
Caroline Goe disappeared in the 1990’s, I believe. Suddenly she was no longer at her post. Curiously, I never spoke to her, and usually I do make conversation with people I have some truck with. Maybe we didn’t speak, because she didn’t encourage that. And I didn’t want to importune her. I wish, back then, I had learned about her, from her.” – Lynne Tillman, March 2019.
White Columns would like to thank Lynne Tillman for her enthusiasm for this project. Our hope is that it acts as a catalyst for subsequent research and, perhaps, future exhibitions of Goe’s art.
Lynne Tillman is a writer based in New York. Her latest novel Men and Apparitions was published in 2018 by Soft Skull Press. Most recently, a new edition of her 2006 novel American Genius, A Comedy was published by Soft Skull Press (February 2019.)
A reading by Lynne Tillman and a talk between Lynne Tillman and Matthew Higgs.
April 19, 2019
91 Horatio Street
New York, NY