With Back-To-Back Sold-Out Shows, the 28-Year-Old Painter Jonathan Lyndon Chase Is a Young Artist to Watch
The artist's ongoing show at Kohn Gallery examines the timely themes of race, gender, and sexuality—and has struck a chord with collectors.
By Henri Neuendorf
Jonathan Lyndon Chase, a young Philadelphia-based painter who inventively tackles issues of race, gender, and sexuality in dexterous mixed-media works, has recently achieved rising-star status due to his sensational Los Angeles debut at Kohn Gallery. Collectors can’t seem to get enough of his work.
Highlighting Chase’s personal struggle to come to terms with his identity as a queer black man in contemporary America, the show—on view through July 14—features new paintings in which the artist exchanged canvas for bedsheets, sometimes allowing the patterns in the fabric to emerge from beneath his layered acrylic paint.
Fittingly titled Sheets and encompassing 14 paintings and a selection of drawings, the show has struck a chord in LA at a time when the market is reexamining the place of queer artists and artists of color in the history of art. All the available works were bought within a day of the opening, marking the second back-to-back sold-out show for the 28-year-old artist following his similarly mobbed outing at New York’s Company Gallery in March.
With prices ranging between $10,000—$15,000 for paintings and works on paper priced under $10,000, the LA show attracted such buyers as two major East Coast museums, three publicly accessible private collections, and a foundation in Asia. Taste-making collectors like Beth Rudin Dewoody and the Hort family have become supporters of Chase’s work, recently purchasing his powerful figurative paintings.
Speaking to artnet News, Kohn Gallery’s associate director Josh Friedman said that demand was so high that the show “probably could have sold out five times over,” but that the gallery’s ambition has been to ensure the works will remain accessible to a broader public.
“We didn’t raise the prices for this show too much because our goal was placement and we wanted to make sure that the works were affordable for institutions,” Friedman said, adding that at this stage the aim is to help Chase’s career develop organically. “Just because demand is high doesn’t always mean it’s correct to push prices up,” the dealer said. “He’s a young artist and we want him and his prices to grow in tandem.”