ARTmonday: Budd Hopkins

Today’s post is in memory of Budd Hopkins, an artist who worked in New York City and Wellfleet, Cape Cod, and died one year ago Wednesday. He was a longtime friend of my in-laws, and his daughter, photographer Grace Hopkins-Lisle is a childhood friend of my husband’s, and a friend of mine now too. I knew Budd a little bit. I remember how he playfully teased my son one afternoon when we happened to hanging around during his visit with my in-laws. Last year, my husband spoke about remembering him as the guy who always had a joke for the kids, while they ran wild during the grown-ups cocktail parties in the seventies. Seemed he hadn’t changed much.

He was a very successful painter and sculptor; an Abstract Expressionist, whose work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney, Guggenheim, and Hirschhorn. He was friends with Motherwell, encountered Pollack, and lunched with Rothko. (He was also known for his sighting and subsequent research of UFOs. In his obituary, the New York Times called him, “the father of the alien-abduction movement,” having been the first to publish narratives of people who said they’d been abducted.) But back to his artwork.

I first saw his work when my husband and I moved in together. Budd had given him a piece as a wedding present to his first wife. It’s a visually uplifting work,I think, in a saturated pink in a nice silver frame. It’s one of his “guardians” (not sure if they’re guarding earthlings or the other worldlies).  My in-laws have several of his pieces hanging in their Cape house, including a sculptural representation, and presented us with a couple of little guardian studies over the years. Last summer, his daughter Grace curated a show of his work at Castle Hill in Truro, which was the last time we saw him. My kids both got to pick out a piece they liked, which their grandfather purchased for them. They love  having them in their bedrooms.

These are photos I took at my house, my in-laws, at Castle Hill, and at Budd’s own home in Wellfleet, during his memorial service.

The stairwell of Budd’s Wellfleet home.

Two small guardian studies hang in my dining area.

Leaning in my living room. 

At the end of the hall at my in-laws’ house.


Two in the stairwell.

Two non-guardian abstracts.

In the basement of Budd’s Wellfleet home. 

On my son’s bookshelf.

Exhibit at Castle Hill in Truro last summer.