George Widener


Ink on napkins and other paper.
Exhibited at the Schirn Kunsthalle Museum,
“World Transformers 2011”.
38″ x 13.5″

George Widener
(b. 1962)
Born to a poor, multi-racial family in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1962, George Widener’s childhood was marked by socially awkward behavior, but it was not until he was almost 50 years old that he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. At school, he excelled in any subject that required rote memory, and he was well ahead of his age in reading. When he was 27, he enlisted in the military for four years, after which he worked at various unskilled jobs and took some college classes.
Dates and numbers hold an irresistible fascination for Widener, who from childhood has been able to effortlessly multiply in his head two times two to the power of forty, and to calculate distant past and future dates. Widener has always excelled in drawing, but it is its combination with his extraordinary numeric ability and his prodigious memory that makes his art unique. His detailed technical drawings are complemented by lists of statistics and historical facts, all recalled from memory. His magic squares and calendars refer to often disastrous events such as the sinking of the Titanic, a particular interest of his. Widener has learned to overcome his literal nature and create original work, often drawing on found pieces of paper, such as table napkins and discarded cardboard. He has been the subject of an essay in Raw Vision, Volume #51 in 2005. A book entitled “The Art of George Widener” was published in London in 2009 by the Henry Boxer Gallery. Ricco-Maresca Gallery in New York gave Widener a one-man show in 2010 and a film is planned on his life.