Tribal Spirits Series
Signed (at lower right): Hedy Klineman ‘99
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Hedy Klineman escaped to New York City with her family to start a-new. Her early years were hard-scrabble. As refugees from Nazi Germany, Hedy’s parents worked long hours to provide for the family and there wasn’t any money for extras. Klineman credits her very progressive and experimental schooling with nurturing her creativity and fostering her interest in art.
At The Cooper Union Klineman came under the sway of Abstract Expressionism, particularly that of painters Willem deKooning and Franz Kline. After graduation, Hedy embarked on a successful career in fashion but continued to paint as well. For a time she was President of Charles Jourdan’s American Shoe Division. Like her friend Andy Warhol, Hedy Klineman lived her life at the intersection of art, fashion and music. During the 1970’s she was very much part of the Studio 54 scene and she has many photographs to prove it. In the 1980’s Klineman produced her Fashion Portraits; mixed-media collages memorializing her celebrity friends’ fashion choices: singer Michael Jackson’s suede boots, artist Julian Schnabel’s overalls and Andy Warhol’s glasses.
The excesses of the 1980’s and the loss of friends to AIDS and illness led Klineman to turn inward in the 1990’s. Klineman began to study Hindu and Buddhist Traditions and became a practicing Buddhist. Her Buddha screenprints are an expression of this new interest. By the 2000’s Klineman began exploring African tribal rituals and mysticism. She also assembled a fine collection of African masks and sculpture which informed her screenprints, Ancestral Spirits: African American Portraits which she created by super-imposing these tribal masks over celebrity sitters like the Simmons brothers and dancer Bill T. Jones.
Klineman has exhibited at a number of museums including Tibet House and the Rubin Museum, at numerous galleries and her work is found in leading private collections. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The London Times Magazine Section, Architectural Digest India, Esquire, Avenue, Interiors and Lifestyle magazines.