A new painting by John C. Kuchera.
5" x 7" 140lbs cold press paper.
Acrylic and ink.
Click here to purchase work at Art in America.
The Kucheras are a whole family of painters. They include John Kuchera (1931-2012)
Maryann Kuchera, Kathleen Kuchera and John C. Kuchera.
Soon after the passing of their father in 2012 the kids put all of their dad's paintings into storage for safe keeping.
In the fall of 2014 John C. Kuchera made a trip to the storage space and picked up about 100 paintings to bring back to New York City for a few people who were interested in them.
With all of his dad’s paintings out of the boxes and resting and leaning on every open space
John C. Kuchera had that aha moment, a fine art collection
Currently a six foot wall that divides his kitchen and living room is now the
“Kuchera Museum” and is only on view by appointment.
We welcome all comments and your help as we begin our journey into the wonderful world of the “Kuchera Collection.”
Please call or email to arrange a viewing.
Thank you, John C. Kuchera.
The Kuchera Collection:
Links to the Kuchera kids:
Maryann Kuchera art: www.maryannkuchera.com
John C. Kuchera art: www.kuchera.org
Kathleen Kuchera art: http://kucheraart.tumblr.com/
It was wonderful that dad had one last big retrospective of his work.
"Kuchera has illustrated more than 75 books, including "Golf Sonnets,'' by James Long Hale, and exhibited in more than 50 shows from Chicago to Maine."
Remembering Dad in the community
"Golisano Children’s Hospital would like to salute the life of John Kuchera and thank him for having left an indelible mark on our institution’s identity with the gift of his art and imagination."
New York Times Sunday
December 14th, 2014
John C. Kuchera in his home, the Kuchera Museum, with paintings and drawings by his father. Emon Hassan for The New York Times
N.Y. / Region | Two Good Reasons With Ramen Nearby,
Kuchera Museum Houses a Father’s Art in Morningside Heights
By JULIE BESONEN DEC. 12, 2014
In a small apartment near the General Grant National Memorial, anew museum recently opened. John C. Kuchera, the founder of THE KUCHERA MUSEUM, hangs visitors’ coats in the hallway and ushers them across the living room to view a wall adjoining the kitchen where his father’s brightly painted folk art is displayed. Slovaks in embroidered costumes, primitive cats, birds, dreamlike fish and grinning dogs are recurrent themes. Of course, Mr. Kuchera’s father never actually visited his ancestral home, nor did he have pets.
“He grew up 10 miles north of Pittsburgh and had a lot of imagination,” Mr. Kuchera said. His father, also named John, died in 2012 at 81, leaving behind an overwhelming collection of oil paintings, watercolors, comic strips, cutouts, and mock-ups of potential New Yorker magazine covers. He worked in advertising and had shows here and there, but after his death it all went into storage in Rochester, where he and his wife spent the last years of their lives.
In October, his son rented an S.U.V. and retrieved 15 boxes of his father’s artwork to appraise back home in Morningside Heights in Manhattan. “All the stuff was in the living room, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it,” Mr. Kuchera recalled. “I took down my own work from the wall, hung up my dad’s art and thought, ‘This is a great idea for a museum.’ ”
He told his wife, Clare Cooper, a singer-songwriter, when she got home from a gig. “I don’t think it sunk in until she heard me talking to other people about it,” he said.
Mr. Kuchera, 52, works as a janitor at Columbia University, and his boss let him take a few days off to get organized.
He announced the opening on Facebook, calling it a museum rather than a gallery because he wanted people to look without feeling an obligation to buy.
Not that he’s opposed to selling; his dream is for a patron to provide a bigger place where his father’s work can be exhibited in its entirety. Or maybe find a way to establish the Kuchera Family Art Center, where he and his two older sisters, MaryAnn and Kathleen, and his uncle from Cleveland, Ross Schuller, can show their art and curate shows for other families.
“My trouble is I think too big,” Mr. Kuchera said. “I’ve really got to think smaller, like washing the dishes.”
The 600-square-foot apartment he shares with his wife is actually spick-and-span, tightly packed with books, CDs, Herman and Lily Munster dolls, trolls and an upright piano, to say nothing of the paintings from both sides of their families. At the building Mr. Kuchera cleans, three blocks from home, he has another space for his father’s artwork in the basement; he hangs it alongside the photography of a handyman he works with. His shift is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from the time he gets home until 9 p.m., he welcomes fellow art lovers who have made appointments via phone (646-750-6184) or email (email@example.com).
Some nights he goes to piano bars like Don’t Tell Mama to watch his wife perform. She plays “Chuck E’s in Love” when he walks in. On nights his museum is open, he might have red wine, cheese and crackers on the kitchen table, which doubles as his studio table. At 6-foot-3, he barely has to stretch to reach high shelves in the apartment where canvases from his “yellow fever” period are stacked.
“They’re just nice and big and yellow,” he explained, saying he was influenced by Alex Katz and the cartoon style of Saul Steinberg. “Ninety-nine percent of my artwork is happy. My dad’s was feel-good art, too. Basically, I’m a big, happy guy.”
Mr. Kuchera said it wasn’t until a few years ago that he realized that not everyone had grown up in a happy family doing nonstop art projects together. He has lived in New York City since the 1980s, except for a phase in Maine where he retreated to write a novel (unfinished).
Since he has a steady union job, he said, he is fine with friends buying him drinks or dinner if he does their portraits. He estimates having given away 200 pieces in the past year, even to strangers on the subway if they admire what he’s carrying.
“I want them to take it home and hang it up and go, ‘Wow,’ ” Mr. Kuchera said. “The joy of art is doing it. I think my best work is yet to come.”
The Kuchera Museum is at 3117 Broadway,
A version of this article appears in print on December 14, 2014, on page MB9 of the New York edition with the headline: A Legacy of Art, With Ramen Nearby.