September 2020
May 2017
Hafftka's works are featured in the 2017-2018 annual brochure of the opera house Staatsoper Hannover, Germany. To view the whole brochure click here.
April 2016 Interview with Michael Hafftka on New Music at WKCR
October 2015

SFAQ NYAQ INTERNATIONAL ARTS AND CULTURE review of the solo show at Georges Bergès Gallery


In the Studio with Neo-Expressionist Painter Michael Hafftka
By Alexis Laura Rubin

Kenyon Review

By Rosebud Ben-Oni

September 2015

An interview with Artnet

A review in Whitewall Magazine of the solo show at the Georges Bergès Gallery

September 2015

Reconciled - article in the Huffington Post about Hafftka's solo show at Georges Bergès Gallery

July 2015

The Yale Review published The Toy Chest by William Gass with watercolor by Hafftka

June 2015
June 2015 Opening night for Georges Bergès Gallery

Susan Sarandon in front of her favorite painting by Hafftka on the opening night.

January 2015

"The Promised Land", 1998, oil on canvas, 78 x 62 inches, is in the collection of Mr. Angel Gurría the Secretary-General of the OECD, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The painting is hanging in the main reception hall of OECD's headquarters, the Chateau de la Muette, Paris, France. I attached a pic of it in situ.

April 2014


KM4: Poem & Paintings

BLACKBIRD Spring Issue

April 2014
Dream-Wizardry: A Collaboration Between Rodger Kamenetz and Michael Hafftka
A review by Emily Warn, Tikkun Magazine April 28, 2014

To Die Next To You
Six Gallery Press, 2013
April 2014 Michael Hafftka Interview @ The Palette Pages by Lisa Gray

April 2014 The legacy of Michael Hafftka: Emotion and expressionism in Holocaust art

An article by Claudia Moscovici at the Fineartebooks's Blog ~ Fine Art Blog
February 2014 Do we learn from history? Genocide and "The Selecting Hand" by Michael Hafftka
An article on "The Selecting Hand", an appropriate point of departure for reflecting on whether we learn from the history of the Holocaust, a topic Caludia Moscovici, author and critic, leads into after discussing the painting.
December 2013 Stories From the Bible on the Huffington Post
December 2013 States of Mind in Black and White on the Huffington Post
December 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
November 2013 War Through the Eyes of an Artist on the Huffington Post
October 2013 Painting Miri Ben-Ari - Grammy Award Winning Violinist on the Huffington Post
October 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
October 2013 October 2013

To Die Next To You

Poems by Rodger Kamenetz

Art by Michael Hafftka

publisher Six Gallery Press

To Die Next To You website
September 2013 The Mystical John Zorn on the Huffington Post
September 2013 Will Goya Attend My Next Show? on the Huffington Post
September 2013 Philip Levine Is Awarded $100,000 Poetry Prize on the Huffington Post
September 2013 Unacknowledged Legislators of the World on the Huffington Post
September 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
August 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
July 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
July 2013 What it Is Like to Have Your Portrait Painted on the HP Arts & Culture
June 2013 Hafftka on the Huffington Post Image Blog
June 2013 "Images Precede Language" - Getting to Know Eric Fischl on HP Arts & Culture
May 2013 The Amazing Joseph Keckler on Huffinfton Post Arts and Culture The Amazing Joseph Keckler on HP Arts & CultureThe Huffington Post
May 2013 Portraits of Living America Poets featured on Huffington Post Arts & Culture Portraits of Living American Poets Featured on HP Arts & CultureThe Huffington Post
May 2013 Flirting on the Huffington Post Imageblog Hafftka on the Image BlogThe Huffington Post
March 2013

Clockwise from top left: Yonat Hafftka, Phil Levine, Michael Hafftka; Ira Sadoff, Michael Hafftka, Gerald Stern. Photo credit: Star Black
The Poets Series
Yareah Magazin published an article about the portraits of Poets Hafftka painted in the past few years. This article displays great paintings along side poems by the great poets, Phillip Levine, US Poet Laureate 2011, among them. See the article on the Yareah website.
February 2013 Article by Michael BrodskyA review of "Wraithworld", a show of Hafftka's work at Vaudvile Park in Brooklyn, NY, by Michael Brodsky
February 2013 Yareah Magazin Isabel Del Rio wrote " Winner , by the Artist Michael Hafftka" in Yareah Magazine.
January 2013 Fine Art Magazin ArticleFine Art Magazin — Winter 2012/2013 contains an article about Michael Hafftka. See page 48, or review here
January 2013 A large collection of Hafftka's paintings which was hidden for over 30 years has just resurfaced last year. The paintings were originally purchased in the 1980's by London’s best-known and most successful dealer in antiquities at the time, Robin Symes. Last year The Symes collection was auctioned off by a bankcrupty court (The fall of Robin Symes) and my paintings among them. With the help of two dealers on the West Coast we are now presenting those paintings... more
September 2012

Clockwise from top left: Hafftka & curator Nussear at the opening reception; Toast at the opening; Collectors and friends meet the artist; Ian Colletti serving drinks; Yonat and Micael Hafftka with Dr. Larry Schneck.
Brooklyn, NY
"Wraithworld", a show of recent paintings at Vaudevill Park, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Ian M. Colletti, Lisa Di Donato and Caleb Nussear. The closing of the show was celebrated with a musical perfromance by Michael Hafftka on fretless guitar and Johnny Reinhard on bassoon.

Top left: Hafftka and Reinhard
September 2012
"Yellow Back Radio Break Down" performed by Michael Hafftka on guitar and Jemeel Moondoc on alto sax at Spectrum in Manhattan, NY.
September 2012

Poster for concert at Spectrum, NYC
"Mythological Chaos" performed by Michael Hafftka on fretless guitar and Valerie Kuehne on chello at Spectrum in Manhattan, NY. The records is now available at Amazon.
July 2012

Valerie Kuehne and Michael Hafftka rehearsing at Hafftka's recording studio
"Freedom Sweet" was recorded live at WKCR 89.9FM NY studios and was broadcasted on the "Afternoon New Music" program. Michael Hafftka on fretless guitar and Valerie Kuehne on cello recorded for WKCR as a prelude to their performance at Spectrum, NY, NY, on September 6th.
March 2012

From left: Alan Lewandoski, Jandek (Sterling Smith), Rachelle Lalonde, Michael Hafftka
Michael Hafftka joined enigmatic and reclusive outsider musician Sterling Smith of Jandek and played two sets in his only performance in NY in years. On March 23, 2012 Hafftka on lead guitar and March 26,2012 Hafftka on bass and marimba. Spin magazine proclaimed Jandek as one of "the ten most interesting musicians of the 1980s." Kurt Cobain famously remarked, "He's not pretentious, but only pretentious people like his music," and a tribute album, Naked In the Afternoon, was released in 2000 boasting renderings by Low, Thurston Moore and Bright Eyes.
See review in the Village Voice

Clockwise from top left: Sterling Smith on piano, Michael Hafftka on guitar; Sterling Smith and Michael Hafftka; Valerie Kuehne and Michael Hafftka. Photos by Garrett Shore

Michael Hafftka & Rachelle Lalonde
March 2012

Photo by Star Black
Michael Hafftka and the poet and art historian David Shapiro after lunch in Manhattan.
February 2012

Bet, ink, watercolors and crayon on paper, 15 x 11 inches, 2007
A show of an Alef Bet set by Hafftak at the Leatherby Libraries at Chapman University, Orange, CA. The set is part of the Chapman University's Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art.
December 2011

Portrait of Miri Ben-Ari 40 x 30 inches oil on canvas, 2011
Michael Hafftka painting the Grammy Award Winner Miri Ben-Ari. The portrait is the latest addition to a series of portraits of musicians. Hafftka started painting musicians in the late 70's when he frequented avant guarde jazz clubs on the lower east site. His portrait of Butch Morris is in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Art. Last year he painted John Zorn, see September 2011 below.
October 2011

Portrait of Ira Sadoff 20 x 16 inches oil on canvas, 2011
Ira Sadoff, an American poet, the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, sat for a portrait at the Hafftka studio.
October 2011 Norbert Oldani composed and created music for the painting Husband and Wife (78x62 inches oil on canvas, 1992).
"A setting via Kyma X and a DX&E! of Michael Hafftka's photo of his painting Husband and Wife. Blue means spirit - in this case a unity with a duality within. The music is a simple 2 voice convergence canon with accompaniment and a seamless variation gave a unified two part AB form. Perhaps if Michael had made another painting like this one the man would be sitting down and the woman would be standing up. Yes vs. No, + vs. -, etc. This is in 26 tone EDO with a touch of one of it's modes, the Erlich Double Diatonic."
Norbert Oldani's website
Norbert's personal musical creed:
"To create a music which is instrumentally expressive and which uses mainly electronic instrumental technology and which is also based on contemporary acoustical knowledge and mathematics."
September 2011

Collaboration between Michael Hafftka and Cecelia Chapman. Video by Cecelia Chapman, Music by Feeding Goats (Michael Hafftka & Yonat Hafftka).
Cecelia Chapman is an artist and filmmaker; her work investigates image, perception, and belief, creating works that attempt to examine human connection in the universe.
September 2011

Portrait of Cathleen oil on canvas 72x48 inches, 1983
A blast from the past. Just added Portrait of Cathleen to the Early Years section. Click on the image to enlarge.
September 2011

The Matter of Spirit three panels of 60x48 inches each, 60x144 together, oil on canvas, 2011
Artist Review at NY Arts, the international guide to the art world: “The blank canvas is a mystical beginning of an inner journey.”
September 2011

Photos by Heung-Heung Chin

Portrait of John Zorn, 48x36 inches, oil on canvas, 2011
John Zorn, avant-garde composer and musician, posing for a portrait at Hafftka's studio.
September 2011

Portriat of Irena Klepfisz, 40x30 inches, oil on canvas, 2011
The poet Irena Klepfisz sat for a portrait at the Brooklyn studio.
August 2011

Portrait of Gerald Stern, 48x36 inches, oil on canvas, 2011
The poet Gerald Stern sat for a portrait at the Hafftka's studio.
August 2011

Portriat of Phillip Levine, 48x36 inches, oil on canvas, 2011
Three month before The Library of Congress announced their selection of Phillip Levine as the next poet laureate of the United State, succeeding W. S. Merwin, Phil sat for his protrait at the Brooklyn Studio of Michael Hafftka.
July 2011

Portrait of Rodger Kamenetz, 40x30 inches, oil on canvas, 2010
Michael Hafftka painted a portrait of the poet and writer Rodger Kamenetz, what turned out to be the beginning of a series of portraits of poets and other artists. Hafftka and Kamenetz are collaborating on a book of poems by Kamenetz with drawings by Hafftka.
July 2011

Mother and Me oil on canvas 20" x 16", 2008
Teetering on the Edge of Creation: Painting the Zohar, an article by Laura Beckman, July 7, 2011, in Tikkun Daily, about Hafftka's recent work. A selection of paintings is featurred in the Tikkun Gallery of the same issue.
July 2011
This painting is in the Chapman University's Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art curated by Maggi Owens. It is reproduced in the book Chapman University Collections published in 2011. The painting is based on the forward to the Zohar and is accompanied by the quote "As He verged on creating the world, all the letters presented themselves before Him, from last to first." (The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volume 1)
February 2011
Slice by Michael Hafftka
From left: Sofa Size oil on canvas 62"x78", 1984; Slice oil on canvas 78"x62", 1983
Randy Esada, a Los Angeles art dealer, has recently purchased 22 large oil paintings of my early work from the Robin Symes collection. London’s best-known and most successful dealer in antiquities in the 80’s, Robin Symes, and his partner Christo Michaelides had the largest collection of my early work of any private or public collection. The paintings have never been in any of my shows since my selling them to Robin and Christo in the 1980’s. The paintings hung at the Rockefeller Guesthouse on 52nd Street, a building designed by Philip C. Johnson in 1948,which at that time was owned by Robin and Christo. I have not seen theses paintings for many years, nor did I know where they were since Robin Symes sold the Rockefeller Guesthouse to Ronald S. Lauder in 1989.
Robin Symes’ rise and fall are described in the publication by Peter Watson and Cecelia Todeschini entitled The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums (2006) and in an online article by Peter Watson The fall of Robin Symes.Robin Symes’ misfortunes intensified dramatically when Christo Michaelides, his life long partner, died in a freak accident in 1999. Robin alienated the family of his late partner, son and heir of the Papadimitriou shipping family, and they spent millions on proving legal claim to half of the Robin Symes’ assets. Dimitri Papadimitriou, the head of the family, won the legal battle. This loss pushed Symes into bankruptcy that resulted in his conviction and incarceration in January 2005.
Randy Esada is now bringing some of these works to light in his gallery Thrive Decor
April 2010 Adirondack Review, Spring 2010 Issue
Article by Lori Cole
Imagery of the Unconscious: The Fantastic Dark and Unsettling Light of Michael Hafftka (the Zohar Book of Concealment Series)

Link to the article here

Lori Cole is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University.  Her research focuses on the artistic exchange between the European and Latin American avant-garde. She is also a translator and art critic, writing for and Flash Art, among other publications.
September 2009
Left/top: Michael Hafftka with artist Jack Levine;Right/bottom: Michael Hafftka with art historian Dr. Matthew Baigell; Photos ©

New York, NY
At the Hyman Bloom opening at Yeshiva University Museum, New York
Setember 2009

Four works from the show.
Denver, CO
A solo show of paintings based on the new translation of the Zohar by Daniel Matt, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, at the Mizel Art and Culture Center (MACC). This exhibition features a group of paintings that evolved from deep engagement with the Zohar, a collection of texts widely considered to be the most important work of Kabbalah. The exhibit opens two weeks after the close of a major show at Yeshiva University Museum, New York, in which a different selection from the Zohar works was on display. The Zohar series is a work in progress that began in 2008.
Click here to see the completed works. Click here for the artist's statement.
August 2009 New York, NY
Michael Hafftka has been named a notable alumnus of DeWitt Clinton High School in The New York Times August 04, 2009
Other notable alumni in the arts include:
H. Romare Bearden 1928, Alfred Leslie 1945, Barnett Newman 1923, Richard Avedon 1941, Aaron Siskind 1921, Will Eisner 1936 (The Spirit Creator), Bob Kane 1934 (Batman Creator), Stan Lee 1939 (Spiderman, Hulk Creator), Alvin Schwartz 1934 (Superman, Batman), Roy Neuberger 1921, Alan Kaufman 1971, and James Baldwin 1942.

The New York Times article reported on the publication of  “The Castle on the Parkway: The Story of New York City’s DeWitt Clinton High School and its Extraordinary Influence on American Life.” Gerard J. Pelisson and James A. Garvey III, former Clinton teachers, embarked on an exhaustively researched telling of the Clinton story, from its establishment in 1897 in Midtown to its contemporary status as one of the largest public schools in the Bronx. But most important, the book is a tribute to the outstanding, often unsung alumni. There are a number of entries in the book about Michael Hafftka and references to his book Conscious/Unconscious. The Castle on the Parkway is available at
March 2009 New York, NY
A major show of recent work at Yeshiva University Museum (YUM), 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, March 22-August 30. The show includes a major large painting from 1985 called The Hill (Jerusalem), which is in the permanent collection of YUM.
Also included in the show are 22 watercolors of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph-Bet, and a selection of 22 watercolors from a work in progress based on the new translation of the Zohar, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, by Daniel C. Matt, which is being published by Stanford University Press.
In addition to the large painting in the museum's collection and the watercolors, the exhibit includes a few of Hafftka's most recent paintings from 2007 and 2008.
This show is the first major solo show of Michael Hafftka in New York City since his show at the Aberbach Fine Art gallery in the late 90's and 4 years since his retrospective of large oil paintings at the Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, Ct.

Click here for the artist's statements
Review in The Jewish Press
November 2009 Denver, Colorado
A solo show of Hafftka at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture November 2009 to January 2010.
Curated by Simon Zalkind.
October 2008 West Virgina

Fiction by Che Elias
art by Michael Hafftka
publisher Six Gallery Press
Buy at Amazon

October 2008 Circular Stairs, Distress in the Mirrors

Poems by Peter Klappert
art by Michael Hafftka
Six Gallery Press
Buy at Amazon
February 2008 The Terror of Loch Ness reviewed at MUNGBEING.COM
January 2008 Philadelphia, PA
Wait, 60"x40" oil on canvas, 2006, was added to the permanent collection of Central High School, Philadelphia, PA, and is on permanent display.
September 2007 Conscious/Unconscious reviewed at The Review of Contemporary Fiction
August 2007 Aleph-Bet in the national newspaper The Jewish Daily Forward, on the first page of the Arts section and on the homepage online. View article here
July 2007 New York, NY
The Yeshiva University Museum acquired “The Hill (Jerusalem)", a major 1985 painting, for their permanent collection. The painting had been previously exhibited at the Jewish Museum in NY in the 1986 show Jewish Themes and was reproduced in their catalogue with the following text written by the curator of the Jewish Museum, Susan Tumarkin Goodman: "In The Hill (Jerusalem) Michael Hafftka has created a turbulent work inspired by the words of Ezekiel. As the son of Holocaust survivors, the artist found a contemporary metaphoric resonance in this passage that expresses God’s anger towards those who have fallen into the sin of idol worship. The various divine punishments are vividly expressed by Hafftka through energetic brush strokes and gestural surfaces that inform his multilayered and complex biblical interpretation with emotional fervor. In this scene of intense drama, with its tormented frenzied figures, Hafftka evokes the power of divine wrath with a raw intensity that is both disturbing and stimulating."
The painting measures 78 inches high and 224 inches wide.

To see a larger image click here.
July 2007 Marc Lowe reviews Conscious/Unconscious in The Mad Hatter Review
April 2007 Now available at Amazon
fiction by Michael Hafftka with 27 drawings.
Publisher: Six Gallery Press, Pittsburgh, PA
Favorable mention at
Reviewed on Amazon by Ann Rudy May 4, 2007
Reviewed at the Forward Jun 06, 2007
March 2006 Brussels, Belgium

From left: Teri Johnson©1985 78"x62" o/c; Red Road ©1985 78"x62" o/c; Incubus & Succubus ©1988 78"x62" o/c; from the collection of S. Janssen
Three large paintings are included in a show at the Musee des Beaux-Arts d'Ixelles. The show opens October 18, 2006 untilJanuary 10, 2007 and will travel to Arizona State University Art Museum in March 2007.
Please click on the images to enlarge.
February 2006 New York, NY
Published by Fugue State Press: Stet by James Chapman, book cover by Michael Hafftka.
November 2005 Tempe, AZ
The ASU Art Museum, part of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University, has just received a gift of two encaustic paintings by Hafftka from the collector Stephane Jansen, a resident of Arizona. The ASU, named "the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona" by Art in America magazine, now has a total of three encaustic paintings by Hafftka.

From left: Untitled ©1988 24"x19" encaustic on panel; Secrect ©1988 58"x48" encaustic on panel
April 2005 Washington, DC
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, aquires a 1985 set of etchings by Hafftka named Overtones.
To view the set click here.
April/May 2005 Bridgeport, CT
Art New England Review by Steve Starger of "Michael Hafftka, A Retrospective: Large Oils 1985-2003" at the Housatonic Museum of Art.
December 2004
Fat Man, 58" x 48" oil on canvas, 1988
Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State Univeristy Art Museum located in Tempe, AZ, has recently aquired through a generous donation from Stephane Janssen of Scottsdale, a painting by Michael Hafftka called "Fat Man". The painting is one of six encaustic panels created by the artist in 1988.
April 2003 Pittsburg, PA

The Carnegie Museum of Art acquired this month a portrait of John Caldwell by the artist Michael Hafftka.

John Caldwell (1941-1993) served as the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Carnegie from 1983 to 1989. Richard Armstrong, the Director at the Carnegie Museum, knew and worked with John Caldwell and thus can appreciate the significance of the portrait to the history of the museum. As a Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art for more than a decade during the eighties, Mr. Armstrong also knows the work of Michael Hafftka and has followed his career over the years.

Caldwell discovered Hafftka’s work shortly before joining the Carnegie. Several years later under Caldwell’s directive, the Carnegie bought a large painting by Hafftka for the Museum’s permanent collection. Caldwell wrote extensively about Hafftka’s work and a friendship between the two ensued.

The painting was purchased from Michael Hafftka in Brooklyn by Ms. Laura Hoptman, Curator of Contemporary Art, under the directive of Mr. Armstrong.

Portrait of John Caldwell, 16" x 14" oil on canvas, 1993