End of the Trail Is a First

An exhibit of Richard Timperio’s art at his Sideshow Gallery

Richard Timperio’s “End of the Trail”, which he painted in 1980, the same year he illustrated a cover of National Lampoon that featured Jimmy Carter, Jerry Brown, and Ted Kennedy each trying to fit in a donkey costume

Richard Timperio never exhibited his own artwork at his Sideshow gallery.  He felt the space was for other artists. In his staging of these shows, “he used other people’s artwork as a brush,” said Liv Mette Larsen one of the curators of “End of the Trail” the solo exhibition of Richard Timperio’s paintings from the 1980s through 2018 currently on view at Sideshow Gallery.  The show runs from December 14 through January 13 at 319 Bedford Avenue (between South 2nd and South 3rd Streets).  Gallery hours are Thursday–Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.


A short time after Timperio’s death on September 9th, his family discussed the idea of exhibiting his work at Sideshow Gallery with his close friend and fellow artist Liv Mette Larsen. Once the decision was made to move forward, Larsen partnered with artist Gwendolyn Charlene Skaggs for the curation.  Other of Timperio’s friends joined in to help install the exhibit.


The earliest of Timperio’s paintings in the show, which is the only figurative example in the exhibition, shows a Native American in a feather headdress standing arced backwards on top of a classic roadster during golden hour in the New Mexican desert. Timperio painted it in the 1980s and named it, “End of the Trail”. When Larsen and Skaggs saw the title, they knew they had the name for his show.

Timperio’s painting “Green Line” which he painted in 2016


“End of the Trail” may have been the end of the trail for Timperio’s figurative works. During his early years in NYC he worked as an illustrator for the New York Times and other publications. The rest of the exhibit displays his embrace of the abstract genre. His canvasses pop with color, counterpoint, and in some he incorporates visceral texture. One painting in the front room, above a framed portrait of the artist, is his sand painting, dated 1996. He was inspired by the tribal sand paintings when he lived in New Mexico. This artwork was always displayed in his studio. “Everyone loved this one. He loved this one,” said Larsen.

An unnamed and favorite painting of Timperio’s, which has sand incorporated in the paint, is next to a picture of the artist


Timperio painted around 1000 paintings in his lifetime. The paintings selected for the exhibit open a window onto the trail the artist traveled through his works.  The painting directly across from the front gallery window is mounted to the studio platform it was found on and is kept lit so it can be seen even at night.


Williamsburg may know Timperio more for spotlighting other artists.  He began staging work around the neighborhood in restaurants such as Planet Thailand’s original narrow space on Bedford Avenue and at Vera Cruz (also on Bedford) during the 90s. In 2000 he opened Sideshow (in his words), “to provide a forum for all art that attains a high level of quality and embodies integrity, regardless of style or approach: a place where the art itself is the only thing that matters.”


The Sideshow also became known for its annual Sideshow Nation show.  Timperio would arrange more than 500 works of art in the two room storefront that makes up the gallery. On an episode of “Neighborhood Slice” Timperio said of it, “It’s controlling chaos. It’s like creating a huge community, a visual community.” Artists Theresa Ellerbrock, Marianne Gagnier, Larry L. Webb, Kim Sloane, and lots of other artists were helping with the annual big show. Some of the artists have participated in the communal exhibition all seventeen years.


“End of the Trail” the exhibit of Richard Timperio’s paintings from the 1980s through 2018 is currently at the Sideshow: 319 Bedford Avenue (between South 2nd and South 3rd Streets).  Gallery hours are Thursday–Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The show runs from December 14 through January 13


Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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