Our summer artist is ninety-two-year-old Jenny Tango. What a perfect name, given the way her works fairly dance off the canvas – whether in a torso, a part of the body or a whole portrait. Even in cartoons that exhibit her knowledge of line and draughtswomanship.


When Jenny was 80, she wrote the following for a retrospective of her work at the Staten Island Museum:
sometimes I’m a stand-up comedienne
sometimes I’m a commentator
sometimes I’m a cartoon character
sometimes I’m a detail
and sometimes I’m not even in the picture


Here is how Jenny tells her own story: “If art is autobiography, then it seems that I have truly been an artist since childhood. The funny pages of newspapers and the movies that I saw Saturday mornings at the local theater were my first teachers of visual media. I discovered painting in Music and Art High School and the Bauhaus in Cooper Union and Brooklyn College. After I got my BFA, I spent two years painting abstractly, but I found it too limiting. One discovered an individual visual idea that was a sort of signature and repeated it endlessly. The probing, discovering, and ascertaining of an aspect of reality that figuration offered seemed more challenging. When the 1970s ushered in the Feminist Art Movement, I discovered that what I was already doing had a name. “

While art remains a constant in her life, Jenny has been an interviewer, writer, educator, and filmmaker and is involved with community history. Always planning to retire when something comes along. In her words (again) “ I don’t have a minute to be 92 or to die.”



Artist Armed with Brushes


Artist’s Secret
Oil on canvas  5″ x 7.5″

Monkey As Artist
Oil on canvas  5″ x 7.5″



Glimpse Leaning Torso
Oil on canvas  6″x 8″, mounted on .75″ wood panel



Glimpse Aching Back
Oil on canvas  6″ x 8″, mounted on .75″ wood panel



Glimpse Knee
Oil on canvas  6″ x 8″, mounted on.75″ wood panel



Homage to Gaudi
Diptych Oil on canvas 10″ x 16″



Oil on canvas  15.5″ x 27.5″



Should I Go or Stay?
Oil on canvas  9″ x 9″



In My Staten Island Studio
Oil on canvas  10″ x 10″



9 thoughts on “Jenny Tango Is Still Painting Herself

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  2. It takes honesty to paint yourself. I could not do it. For fear of what I might see in the mirror. Relating to the monkey was difficult. Are those your eyes or head? I love the cartoon figure.

  3. Now go and look at the art from the first issue years ago that is reprinted below. Interesting connections there.

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