Ben Schonzeit: Abstract Figuration


I came up with a word to describe what I do – abstract figuration.
These are things from my memory, my imagination – a floating world.
—Ben Schonzeit

Ben Schonzeit: Abstract Figuration, on view in Nassau County Museum of Art’s Contemporary Gallery through November 6 (the exhibition opened on July 30), reveals an entirely different aspect of the work of an artist who is best known as a key figure in the photorealist movement’s first generation of artists.

The exhibition showcases Schonzeit’s collage and sculptural work—abstract figurations of human forms or portraits that give new life to his materials. The exhibition portrays the evolution of Schonzeit’s work over five decades, revealing the complexity of his art. Included are paintings, watercolors, sculpture and collages, using wood, paper and canvas in a subdued color palate to create angular, geometric figures reminiscent of Picasso’s Cubist works, in particular his paintings and theatrical costumes.

Ben Schonzeit’s large-scale photorealism works have previously been seen at the museum in the exhibitions Still Life: 1970s Photorealism and Garden Party and in the current Feast for the Eyes.

Work by Ben Schonzeit has been seen in solo and group exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe and is widely included in public collections. A native of Brooklyn and a graduate of New York’s Cooper Union, he now lives and works in SoHo.

Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to 12). Members are admitted free.

Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Tours are free with museum admission. Family art activities and family tours are offered Sundays from 1 pm; free with museum admission. Call 516-484-9338, ext. 12, to inquire about group tours.

The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, Red Maple Market Café is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 516-484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or visit

Nassau County Museum of Art is chartered and accredited by New York State as a nonprofit private educational institution and is governed by a privately elected board of trustees. The museum and its programs are made possible through the support of Nassau County under County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau County Legislature; the board of trustees and museum members; sponsors of exhibitions and events, government and foundation grants, corporate and private donors as well as earned income.

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Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

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