Mary-Ann Monforton

Mary-Ann Monforton

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Artist: Mary-Ann Monforton
Title: Wire and pencil drawing
Wire and pencil
15" x 12" (framed)


Mary-Ann Monforton’s art world engagement has gone full-circle since her arrival in NYC in 1974 and her return to Detroit in 2021.

Monforton is known for her involvement with the NY downtown art scene which began around 1977 as a music promoter blending her interest in avantgarde jazz with the emerging No Wave/Punk sound. Shortly thereafter Monforton shifted her attention to the visual arts first as a collector then curator. In 1981, she purchased work by Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat igniting a passion for art collecting that has never subsided. In 1985 and again in 1987 she produced 2 successful fundraising art auction events for the El Bohio Community and Cultural Center that today read like a who’s who of the 1980’s art scene. In 1994 Monforton took a position with BOMB Magazine. The following year she became the Associate Publisher, a position she held until her retirement in 2021. In 2012 she curated the critically acclaimed retrospective for Arch Connelly, a promising 80’s artists whose career was cut short by AIDS. The exhibition at the LaMaMa Galleria effectively put him back on the map. The show was reviewed in Artforum, Art in America and on Artnet with resulting placements in the MoMA, NYC, the Art Institute of Chicago, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.

In 2013, Monforton returned to the studio after a forty-year hiatus from artmaking. The move was reinforced with a successful application to the Oxbow Art Residency from which she has never looked back. She picked up her practice right where she had left off in the early ’70s: experimenting with tentative lines and nonsolid shapes, making works that were uneven, unstable, and off-kilter. Her objects are subtly awkward appearing crooked, flawed, aging, and imperfect. This vulnerability lends her work personality, humanity. Humor and pathos are always at play. Sculptor Eva Hesse is among the post-minimal artists whose profound influence lingers her.

Since her return to Detroit, she was in the group exhibition Salon Redux at the David Klein Gallery, January 22- March 5, 2022. She was also featured at Hatch Art, Hamtramck, in February and March 2022 with Proceed to the Route an installation in their Jail Cell. In 2020, she had her first solo exhibition entitled Sanctuary at the High Noon Gallery in NYC. In 2018 she was featured in Sara Driver’s documentary Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years Of Jean-Michel Basquiat. She co-curated and was included in the companion exhibition, Zeitgeist: The Art Scene of Teenage Basquiat that traveled between May 2018 through March 2019. In 2019 she received the Prix de Print in Art in Print Magazine for her lithograph, e-cigarettes, printed and published by Maurice Sanchez of Derriere L'Etoile Studios LIC, NY. In 2021, she was the solo artist representing High Noon Gallery at the inaugural OMG Art Faire in Kingston, NY with her booth, Play Station.

Ms. Monforton was born in Windsor Ont. Canada and raised in Detroit. She was resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan from 1977 until 2002. She lived in Brooklyn, NY from 2003 until the Spring of 2021when she returned to Detroit.