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  • December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
    December 31, 1969
    7:00 PM

John Bankston

Born in Benton Harbor, MI, 1963
Lives and works in San Francisco, CA

Day 17: John Bankston

The visual and narrative language of coloring books fuels much of the fantastical sensibilities of John Bankston’s oil, acrylic, ceramic, watercolor and sculpture works. As Daniell Cornell of the Queer Culture Center explains, Bankston juggles the art of painting and drawing, representation and abstraction to transport viewers in a world of childlike reveries. The adventure voyages, science fiction, and fairy tales he relays in his work simultaneously touch upon themes of race, gender roles, masculinity, and sexuality.

Listen to John Bankston explain the nature and narrative of his 2002 visual novel, The Capture and the Escape of Mr. M:

Under the Influence: Local artists discuss how 30 Americans artists have influenced their work. 30 Americans artist and Under the Influence juror John Bankston opens with a presentation on his own work.


1990 M.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1989 B.F.A., Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
1985 B.S., Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2010 John Bankston: New Work, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA

John Bankston: Abstracticator, Beta Pictoris Gallery, Birmingham, AL

2009 John Bankston:The Fabulist’s Colored Life, Jack Shaiman Gallery, New York, NY

John Bankston: Imaginary Friends, Walter Maciel Gallery, Culver City, CA

  John Bankston: Jack Drake Visiting Artist, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL

Drawings and works on paper, Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA


John Bankston, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA Through the Woodswith Mr. M, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY


John Bankston: A Place in the Woods, vacio 9, Madrid, Spain
John Bankston: Locating Desire
, DeYoung Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, CA
John Bankston: New Work
, Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions

2010 A Delicate Touch: Watercolors from the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum Harlem, Harlem,                NY
2009 Political Draw, Walter Maciel Gallery, Culver City, CA

Passover Table, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA

  As It Is Written: Project 304,805, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA
  A Delicate Touch, the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY 2008-09
  30 Americans, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (catalog) 2008

Black: a celebration of African American Art in Sacramento area collections, 40 acres and a mule gallery, Sacramento, CA


Pacific Light: California Watercolor Refracted, 1907-2007, Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA


Black alphabet - conTEXTS of contemporary african-american art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland [cat.]
Black Panther Rank and File
, YBCA Galleries at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; traveled to Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD


African Queen, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY [cat.]
Eureka: The Eureka Fellowship Awards
2002-2004, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA [cat.]
Seeing Double: Encounters with Warhol
, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

Selected Collections

Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. The presenting sponsor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Altria Group.

Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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