George Mingo at Essie Green Galleries In Harlem

JUMP PHOTO MINGO CROP

A Conversation With George Mingo

Interviewing George Mingo about his work is very stimulating indeed. The closer one gets to this artist, the more disconcerting and surprising he becomes. This painter/sculptor was educated at Yale and is a graduate of Cooper Union for The Advancement of Art & Sciences. He is the recipient of two CAPS grants, both in sculpture: 1980 and 1985, and numerous other tokens of appreciation and affection. I, however, know and appreciate his paintings  which are beautifully crude, yet supremely sophisticated. Above all, they’re bitingly humorous and engrossing, a quality that is sorely absent in the current schlock that permeates the art scene in New York City. Mingo is a refreshing change. He’s a painter with something to say. But Mingo is a paradox. He’s respected enormously by other artists. . almost an artist’s artist… yet he’s caustic… not immediately easy to like. He’s charming… but rude. Amusing, yet sarcastic. Self effacing, and arrogant. His personal dress code ranges from Freddy the Freeloader to the high style of Beau Brummel, depending on his state of mind. But one thing I can always say about Mingo … He’s never a bore!

JUMP MAGAZINE

Here’s what other humans on the planet have said about him:

John Duka, NY Times, Paris, France, “When I first interviewed him in Les Halle in ’84, he was very confused. He didn’t seem to know what was up.”

Bill Day, Graphic Art Consultant, overheard saying to a gallery owner in mid Manhattan, “Can’t anybody control this guy?”

Rasul Sidik, jazz musician, “He’s great, what a guy. . . I LOVE MINGO.”

Benton’s Funeral Home, Harlem, USA, “He’s in here an awful lot.”

Pee Wee Herman, entertainer and art collector, “I just love his dog paintings. . don’t you?”

I.M. Pei, architect, “When I saw his glasses, I got a pair too … I hope he doesn’t mind.”

Hettie Jones, neighbor, “No comment.”

Harriett Bluett, World Saxaphone Quartet, “I can’t stand him. I don’t want to be in the same room with him.”

Andy Warhol, 1979, “He’s wonderful. What a character … Too bad I’m not making films anymore.”

Theo, Mingo’s personal barber, Harlem, “What a great tipper
… I always serve him first.”

Dr. Woodrow, personal dentist, “He can take the pain.”

Kellie Jones, curator, “I’ll never show him!”

Patrick, bartender at Patzos, NY, “He always orders Manhattans, straight up, top shelf only, with 2 cherries.”

Phillipe Flan, concierge, Hotel Maurice, Paris, France, “We always have a suite ready for his convenience.”

Roger Mingo, older brother, “He’s coarse and abrasive. But I love my baby brother.”

Nancy Reagan, former First Lady, “Ronnie just adores him. I guess I do too.”

R.L. Weinstein

R.L. Weinstein is a independent curator and art critic based in
Geneva, Switzerland. He is the recipient of the prestigious ROVAL T FELLOWSHIP AWARD (1988), for Outstanding Achievement in Curatorial Excellence. He is currently working on his new book ‘Art Masters of the 21st Century.
February, 1990, Place: Cafe Josephine NYC

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