Nicolas Moufarrege (1947-1985) was a critic, a curator and an artist. During his lifetime, he was better known for his roles as critic and curator, through which he became an important figure in the early 80’s Lower East Side art scene. Born in Egypt but raised in Beirut, Lebanon, he also lived in Paris before coming to live in the US, first as a chemistry student at Harvard, and later as an artist in New York City in the late 1970s. Nicolas’s art blended the accumulated experiences and images of all his homes to create a distinctive body of works, most notable for his use of fabric and thread as well as painted surfaces to create his works. This creation of embroidered images on needlepoint canvas gave us in his legacy an especially profound and vivid mix of Western and Middle Eastern arts. His subject matter and imagery were equally eclectic – ranging from classical Greek mythology to the modern mythology of American comics, from Van Gogh and Renoir to Japanese woodblock and Roy Lichtenstein, from Michaelangelo to Egyptian decorative motifs, from art to craft.
In a very short career as an artist, he molded a complex mixture of his ethnic and cultural roots and juxtaposed them to give us a body of works – about 40 in all – that contain both cultural tension and a mature sensibility. He created wry, fun, dead-pan serious, and perceptive works through subjects that he portrayed with unusually rich colors and textures. His idiosyncratic embroidered paintings confirm that he deserves to be remembered more for his art than for his art criticism.