The Instant Art of Morris Katz

The Instant Art of Morris Katz

“Painting,” according to Morris Katz, “is like shmearing a bagel.” Katz was a genuine performance artist. His standard routine would be to line up two dozen canvases and paint them all within the span of an hour—using only a palette knife and toilet paper—all the while cracking jokes and explaining his craft to rapt audiences. Katz took this “show” annually to the Catskills, where he performed for years and where he made much of his living.

Called “a self-contained vaudeville act” by New York Magazine, Katz holds a unique place in the annals of the art world as a painter who not only worked with incredible speed—whipping up paintings within just minutes—but who did so while engaging his audiences with Borscht Belt-style shtick and then auctioning the paintings off to all comers. Although none of his art reached critical acclaim, he became a minor celebrity and appeared on numerous television shows, among them those of Mike Douglas, Joe Franklin, Alan Thicke, and Rich Little, whose light mockeries he endured as part of his act. He also had his own public access show and published a book on “how to paint fast and good,” which taught the secrets of his unique style in typically jovial Katzian fashion.

The Guinness World Book of Records recognized Katz for having produced and sold more original paintings than any other artist in the world, leaving Picasso in second place.


Through: September 30
Entry: Free


Mon-Wed: 9:30am-4:30pm
Thurs: 9:30am-8pm
Fri: 10am-3pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: 11am-5pm