Portrait of boomer Amy Tan

Amy Tan, author, 1952

Portrait of boomer Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall, actress, 1956

New BMAC Shows, Part 1:
Wolf Kahn & The Boomer List

Wolf Kahn painting at BMAC


Wolf Kahn refers to himself as a "scrubber."

"I scrub, scrub, scrub," he says, describing the way in which he builds his compositions with multiple layers of thinned paint applied in quick, scratchy strokes.

Kahn's preferred applicator is a cheap, stiff-bristled brush, the kind that do-it-yourselfers buy by the dozen and toss instead of cleaning. Until recently, the top layers of Kahn's paintings were often a thicket of spindly, dry strokes, resulting in a delicate tracery of lines atop bold swaths of color. This approach generated surface tension and created the shimmering quality of light characteristic of Kahn's paintings.

Over the past decade, Kahn's vision has been affected by macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease, which has led him to experiment with new methods and materials. He still begins each painting by scrubbing in the basic composition and colors, but his approach to the top layers has changed. In place of his old, scratchy brush, Kahn now uses various types of oil sticks to produce bold forms and fields of densely saturated color.

Perceptual phenomena have always been a central concern of Kahn's work, and these recent paintings are no exception. They capture brilliantly the way in which light interacts with form, alternately substantiating or dissolving it. They are evidence, too, of Kahn's unflagging mastery of color. Although his eyesight is diminished and he is working with new materials, Kahn continues to coax the subtlest whisper or the most bombastic oratory out of his chromatic combinations.

On the eve of his 90th birthday, Wolf Kahn has embraced change and elevated his art to a new level.


In partnership with AARP (exhibit sponsor) and the Newseum, BMAC presents an exhibition of 19 large-format portraits of some of the most fascinating members of the influential Baby Boom generation—one born each year from 1946 to 1964—taken by renowned American photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Visitors will gain insight into the Boomer generation through interviews and portraits that focus on exceptional achievement, struggle, and identity, telling the story of extraordinary Americans and the history they lived through and often created. Greenfield-Sanders ("The Black List," "The Latino List," and "The Out List") chose as his subjects Boomers who reflect the depth, diversity and talent of their generation:

1946: Tim O'Brien, Vietnam veteran/author
1947: Deepak Chopra, New Age guru
1948: Samuel L. Jackson, actor
1949: Billy Joel, singer/songwriter
1950: Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer
1951: Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
1952: Amy Tan, author
1953: Eve Ensler, playwright
1954: Julieanna Richardson, The HistoryMakers
1955: Maria Shriver, journalist
1956: Kim Cattrall, actress
1957: Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
1958: Ellen Ochoa, director, Johnson Space Center
1959: Ronnie Lott, athlete
1960: Erin Brockovich, environmentalist
1961: Peter Staley, AIDS activist
1962: Rosie O'Donnell, entertainer
1963: David LaChapelle, artist
1964: John Leguizamo, actor

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