revised July, 2003

    Visit the new Don Sorenson site

Don Sorenson was an artist and friend.


He often attended theoretical and Brave Dog events, usually with a small entourage of fellow artists who had not been aware of this underground cutting edge music and art scene. Always charming, graceful and handsome. He died of AIDS in 1986 just at the beginning of a meteoric career , having produced an awesome series of paintings in several distinct idioms. His canvases were huge and all encompassing: vast electrified environments.

I attended his funeral (in Vista or Carlsbad, somewhere near San Diego) which, for me, was one of the most dismal events imaginable a huge Lutheran church where the parents had convinced most everyone (including the L.A. Times) that Don died of pneumonia. Period. No reference (hence DENIAL) to the fact that AIDS had caused that illness.

The preacher used his gloomy Scandinavian pulpit not to memorialize Don, but to warn everyone of the damnation that comes from not embracing Jesus Christ as your own personal savior. It was difficult to contain my anger with the enormity of the fraud being perpetrated within reach of my dear dead friend's coffin... compounded by the observation that many of Don's artist/"friends" stayed away. One of Don's huge abstract canvases served as a frightful backdrop-— incredulously bordered with huge clashing fresh red roses. I was physically nauseous for months every time I remembered this ugly religiously hijacked farewell.


Untitled, 1978.
Tight Line Series
90 x 78 inches
Acrylic on Canvas





"Practically everything about Sorenson's art can be broken down into oppositional terms. Rigid structure competes with gestural accident; pretty pastels collide with garish, aggressive color; sharp angles parade in undulating curves; metered rhythm becomes optically spasmodic . . .

Sorenson began developing his zigzag motif when what is now generally regarded as the Minimalist cul-de-sac was becoming increasingly apparent and the question of what to paint had become an especially thorny problem."

  ArtForum, December 1979

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