John Goodyear


In a career that spans more than six decades, John Goodyear has utilized painting, drawing, light, optics, installation, and heat to engage his audience and recontextualize the viewer’s present observation.  These shifting views created throughout his career reveal a body of work that lends itself to both reflection on the inner self and discovery of the outside world.  Goodyear said it simply and best: “Art makes one see, what one sees makes art.”

John Goodyear was born in Los Angeles, California in 1930 and later moved to Grosse Ile, Michigan. In 1947 he won a full tuition scholarship to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, graduating with a Bachelor in Design in 1952.  In 1954 he received his Masters of Design from the University. Following graduation he immediately was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years in Japan, where his wife, Anne Dixon, whom he met and married at college, joined him.  His service in Japan would have an important impact on his work: Japanese architecture and Zen Buddhism led to the sparse ambiguity that would go on to characterize his work. 


From 1956 to 1962, Goodyear taught at the University of Michigan, Grand Rapids.  While painting his house in the late 1950s, Goodyear formed the idea to paint in the three-dimension, resulting in works that fluctuate between painting and sculpture, in which moving parts invite the viewer to participate. In 1962 he received a grant from the Graham Foundation, which lead to a two year teaching position at the University of Massachusetts,Amherst. 

While at UMass, Amherst, Goodyear prepared for the grant  a body of work that by 1964 would become his first solo show in New York at the Amel Gallery.  During the early to mid 1960s, these three dimensional paintings resulted in suspended open grids behind which hangs a canvas with a pattern.  These hanging grilles are activated not by motors but by the touch of the hand or a walk by creating optical movement, illusions of perspective, and shimmering colors. Goodyear has commented that “chance effects enliven rigid structures” and thus the viewer determines what is seen and reveals that there are multiple ways to see the same thing.


The kinetic artwork was a revolutionary break from the emotionally charged Abstract Expressionist canvases and declared art can be powerfully unemotional by challenging relationships through optical shocks and rhythmic movement.  Writing about his show at Amel Gallery in the New York Times, Brian O’Doherty said, “It is in fact a staggering display of invention and virtuosity within strict disciplines, a show in which intelligence manipulates feeling with the exact and removed precision of those handling devices for shielded radioactive material.”


These kinetic constructions quickly grabbed the attention of many prestigious museums.  He was included in Art of the Responsive Eye, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1965), Optic Art Today, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo (1965), Light/Motion/Space, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1966), and three exhibitions in 1966 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


By 1964 Goodyear was teaching at the Mason Gross School of Visual Art, Rutger’s University, replacing Roy Lichtenstein.  Goodyear later became chairman of the Art Department. 


During the seventies he received a fellowship to work under Gyorgy Kepes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Cambridge, while he was working on sculptures that featured inner heating. From MIT he had a series of exhibitions that traveled internationally. Six works relating to this Earth Curve series were shown at the Museum of Modern Art (1972).  Residual affects of the MIT experience may have led to his involvement during the eighties creating public sculpture.   


In 1976, around the time Goodyear was returning to the figure in his work he joined the American Abstract Artists (AAA), a group that was formed in 1936 to promote the understanding of abstract art in the wake of Social Realism.  Although seemingly paradoxical, it was not: Goodyear would work in both an objective and non-objective manner throughout his career.  He continues to be an important member of the organization today.


By the 1980s, Goodyear won the first commission, The Death of Socrates, for the New Jersey Arts Inclusion Program.  He would go on to do many other public works including one at the State House in Trenton, New Jersey.  His Death of Socrates concept stayed on for some time spawning paintings, prints and sculpture.  The practice of public works encouraged larger works and what came to be called Negative Figuresculptures in which the figure was shown in a space between two abstract shapes.


The connection between a public work and its site was copied in a series of paintings where two images were shown interacting with each other. 
He retired from Rutgers in 1997 and in 2000 was awarded a major retrospective at the Michener Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  During this time, he and his wife served as co-curators of Dada Country at the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clifton, New Jersey.   In the 2000s at least three new series were instigated including over-lapping images called Double Subject developed from the large paintings of the nineties and an anti-war installation at the Hunterdon Art Museum in 2005 renewed interest in small Dada style works and three-dimensional kinetic constructions. 


In these six decades, Goodyear requires the viewer to become a powerful component of his work.  The figure or viewer’s engagement creates harmonious dissonances in his abstractions and investigations into the visual concreteness of his figures.  It is Goodyear’s playful intellect that makes us see these new realities. 


John Goodyear’s works is held in over sixty museum collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others. 


b. 1930, Los Angeles, California
1952, Bachelor of Design, University of Michigan
1954, Master of Design, University of Michigan
1956-62, Instructor, University of Michigan
1962-64, Instructor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1964-97, Professor of Art, Rutgers University, New Jersey


Amel Gallery, New York City, 1964. 
Amel Gallery, New York City, 1965.
Amel Gallery, New York City, 1966.
Douglass College Art Gallery, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1967. 
Andrew Dickson White Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1972.
Everson Museum, Syracuse University, New York, 1972. 
Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1972. 
Inhibodress Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 1972. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, 1975. 
Center of Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1976. 
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, 1976.
Slusser Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1981. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, 1981. 
Princeton Gallery of Fine Arts, New Jersey, 1987.
Pyramid Gallery, New York City, 1989.
Snyder Fine Art, New York City, 1992. 
Jersey City Museum, New Jersey, 1993. 
Frank Martin Gallery, Muhlenburg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1995. 
Ericson Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2000.
Michener Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2000. 
Ben Shahn Galleries, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey, 2001. 
Gallery of Fine Art, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 2004. 
Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, New Jersey, 2005. 
New Jersey Center for the Arts, Summit, New Jersey, 2012. 
David Hall Fine Art, Wesley, Massachusetts, 2012.
Berry Campbell, New York, 2015-16.


Martha Jackson Gallery, New York City, New Forms-New Media I and II, 1960.
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, New England Art Today, 1962.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Faculty Art Exhibition, 1965.
Howard Wise Gallery, New York City, On the Move, 1965.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Kinetic and Optic Art Today, 1965.
Albany Institute of History and Art, New York, Art in Science, 1965.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, The Responsive Eye, 1965.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Light/Motion/Space, 1966.
Howard Wise Gallery, New York City, Lights in Orbit, 1966.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, Annual Exhibition, 1966.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, 400 Years of American Art, 1966.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Obelisk Without an Eye, 1966.
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas, Light in Art, 1966.
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Light as a Medium, 1966.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, Contemporary American Sculpture, 1966.
The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Light/Motion/Space, 1966.
Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC, Radius 5, 1967.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, Artists Under Forty, 1968.
Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin, Options, 1968.
Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Illinois, Options, 1968.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Plus by Minus, 1968.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, Annual, 1968.
Brazil, South America, Bienal de Sao Paulo, 1969.
University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1970.
State University of New York, Albany, New York, Constructivist Tendencies, 1970.
Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Explorations, 1970.
The Jewish Museum, New York City, Software, 1970.
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, 1971.
Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York, 1971.
Akron Art Institute, Akron, Ohio, 1971.
Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1971. 
Art Gallery, University of Alabama, University, Alabama, 1971.
Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California, 1971.
The Art Galleries, University of California, Constructivist Tendencies, 1971.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, Elements of Art, 1971.
Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England, Unlikely Photographs, 1971.
De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1972. 
Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Constructivist Tendencies, 1972.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Untitled III, 1972.
Medellin, Colombia, South America, 3 Bienal de Arte Coltejer, 1972.
Impact Gallery, Montreux, Switzerland, Espace/Situation/72, 1972.
Centro de Arte y Comunicacion, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Arte de Sistemas II, 1972.
The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1973.
Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1973.
Palace of Arts and Sciences, San Francisco, California, 1973.
Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Ohio, 1973.
Museum of science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, 1973.
Center of Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1973.
New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Curator’s Choice, 1974.
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Constructivist Art, 1975.
Merriewold West Gallery, Far Hills, New Jersey, Projects in Nature, 1975.
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, New York Studio School Benefit Drawing Show, 1976.
University Art Museum, Austin, Texas, Drawing Exhibition, 1977. 
New Jersey State Council on the Arts, New Jersey Currents, 1979. 
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York City, Fund Purchase Exhibition, 1980.
Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, Spirit of Constructivism, 1980. 
Frank Marino Gallery, New York City, Aspects of Fire, 1980.
Summit Art Center, New Jersey, American Abstract Artists, 1981.
City Gallery, New York City, Abstraction in Action, 1983.
Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina, American Abstract Artists, 1983. 
Moody Gallery of Art, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, American Abstract Artists, 1983.
The Art Gallery, Maryland University, College Park, Beyond the Plane, American Constructions, 1930-65, 1984.
The Atrium Gallery, Schenectady, New York, Aspects of Constructivism, 1985.
Macedonian Center for Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece, Group Show, 1987. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Abstract Artists, 1987.
Morris Museum of Art, Morristown, New Jersey, State Council Fellowships, 1987. 
Kean College Gallery, Union, New Jersey, Group Show, 1987.
Condeso-Lawler Gallery, New York City, Group Show, 1987.
Korn Gallery, Madison, New Jersey, Working Drawings, 1987.
City Gallery, New York City, Abstract Art, 1987.
Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Public Art, 1988.
Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
Walters Art Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Art After Science, 1988.
Robespierre Gallery, Paris, France, Four Americans, 1988.
Real Artways, Hartford, Connecticut, Mythic Moderns, 1989.
Muskegon Art Museum, Michigan, American Art, 1989.
Galerie la Merced, Maracaibo, Venezuela, South America, North American Contemporary Art, 1989.
Henri Gallery, Washington, DC, Group Show, 1989.
Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, Geometric Abstractions and the Modern Spirit, 1989.
55 Mercer Gallery, New York City, American Abstract Artists, 1989.
Deutsch-Americanishes Institut, Tubingen, Germany, Idee und Realization, 1990. 
Amerikahaus, Frankfurt, Germany, Idee und Realization, 1990.
Amerikahaus, Munich, Germany, Idee und Realization, 1990.
Amerikahaus, Hanover, Germany, Idee und Realization, 1990.
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, A Force of Repetition, 1990. 
Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan, New Acquisitions, 1991. 
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Alumni Exhibition, 1991.
Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina, Inaugural Exhibition, 1991.
Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Inaugural Exhibition, 1991. 
Cultural History Museum, Madgeburg, Germany, Idee Und Realization, 1991.
Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas, The Persistence of Abstraction, 1992.
Amerikahaus, Cologne, Germany, Kunstler Zwischen Idee und Realization, 1992.
Rahaus, Sinzig, Germany, Kunstler Zwischen Idee und Realization, 1992.
Orangerie, Biekastel, Saar, Germany, Kunstler Zwischen Idee und Realization, 1992.
Frank Martin Gallery, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Recent Acquisitions, 1992. 
Horodner-Romley Gallery, New York City, Ten Steps, 1992.
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Permanent Collection, 1993. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Working Art, 1993.
Academy Gallery, Stockton, New Jersey, The Empty Vessel, 1993. 
Wilson Art Gallery, Glassboro, New Jersey, Russian/American Exchange, 1993.
Granary Books, New York City, Russian/American Exchange, 1993.
X Art Foundation, New York City, Blast Art, 1993.
Ulrich Museum, Wichita, Kansas, Abstract Art, 1994.
Pyramid Atlantic Gallery, Riverdale, Maryland, Natural Histories, 1994.
Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, Prints from the Permanent Collection, 1994.
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Canada, Cracks in the Modern, 1994. 
Kamin Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Collaborations, 1995. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, One Hundred Years, 1995.
The Gallery, Center for the Arts, Easton, Pennsylvania, Exposito Extrema, 1995.
Center for the Arts, Normal, Illinois, Frankenstein in the Normal, 1996.
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Six Artists in the 90s, 1996.
Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, New York, 60th Anniversary, 1996.
Baumgarten Gallery, Washington, DC, Group Show, 1996.
Gallery 181, College of Design, Iowa State University, Aimes, From Cover to Cover, 1996.
Westby Gallery, Glassboro, New Jersey, Drawing Across the Board, 1997. 
Mandeville Gallery, Schenectady, New York, Drawing into Sculpture, 1997.
Caren Golden Gallery, New York City, Frankensteinian, 1997.
Snyder Fine Art, New York City, Geometric Abstraction, 1937-97, 1997.
The Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, The Spirit of Abstraction, 2001.
Bristol Myers Squibb, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Off the Wall, 2001.
Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York City, 500 Drawings on Paper, 2001.
Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana, American Abstract Artists, 2002.
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Trace, 2004.
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, Twister, 2004.
The Armory, Park Avenue, New York City, Art20, 2007
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York City, Demoiselles Revisited, 2007.
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York City, Conceptual Objects, 2007.
Ann Reid Gallery, Princeton, New Jersey, Nibbling the White Cube, 2008. 
Mason Gross Galleries, New Brunswick, New Jersey, In Suspension, 2008.
West Windsor Gallery, New Jersey, Connect/Reconnect, 2009.
Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, Lilliput, 2009. 
Taplin Gallery, Paul Robeson Center, Princeton, New Jersey, Reinventing the Wheel, 2010.
David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1960s Revisited, 2010.
OK Harris Gallery, New York City, American Abstract Artists, 2011. 
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Boomerang, 2013.
Palazzo Costa, Mantua, Italy, 4 Person Show, 2013.
Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, The American Collection, 2014.
David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Post-Op: The Responsive Eye 50 Years After, 2015.
Derbylius Gallery, Milan, Italy (traveled to Clement & Schneider Gallery, Bonn, Germany), Ten Ways, 2015.
RCM Galerie, Paris, Historical Op-Art, 2015.
Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, New Jersey, 2016.


Art-in-Embassies Collection, United States Department, Washington, DC
Bibliotecca di Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
Blum Gallery, College of Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine
Boca Raton Art Museum, Florida
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, New Jersey
British Museum, London, England
Bronx Museum of Art, New York
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio
City University of New York Art Gallery, New York
Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan
Frank Martin Gallery, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania 
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
George Rickey Collection, Neuberger Museum, New York University, Purchase, New York
Georgia Museum of Art, Athens
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York
Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Hoechst-Celanese, Somerville, New Jersey
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norte Americano, Lima, Peru
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin
James Michener Collection of 20th Century American Paintings, Austin, Texas
James A. Michener Museum of Art, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, New Jersey
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Macedonian Center for Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland, California
Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
Mulvane Art Center, Topeka, Kansas 
Muscarelle Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia
Musee des Beaux Arts de l’Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Newark Museum, New Jersey
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
New York Public Library, New York
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania
Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey
The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Inc., Terre Haute, Indiana
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts 
Snite Art Museum, Notre Dame, Indiana
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia
Stiftung fur Konstrucktive und Konkrete Kunst, Zurich, Switzerlan
Ulrich Museum of Wichita State University, Kansa
University Gallery, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts, Amhers
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts 
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut


Perspectives: 5 Decades, Berry-Campbell Gallery, NYC, 2015-16
John Yau and Mary Birmingham, John GoodyearShifting Views, 2012, The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, New Jersey, 2012

Stephen Westfall, John Goodyear, Thinking into Form, 1950-2000, Michener Museum of Art, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.


The Four Arts, aluminum, 126” x 30” x 30” Douglass Campus, Rutgers University,New Jersey, 2002
The Dawn of Law, Five marble reliefs, the State House, Trenton, New Jersey, 1991

Drawn from the Water, Stone reliefs, The Jewish Center, Princeton, New Jersey, 1984
Chiron, Plaza Tableau in cement slabs, University College of Medicine and Dentistry, Piscataway, New Jersey, 1973
Taking Flight, Light construction, International Business Machines, Triangle Park, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1981

The Test, Kinetic painting, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, New Jersey, 1980

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