Robert Delford Brown Biography

Robert Delford Brown




Robert Delford Brown, performance and fine artist, was born in Colorado in 1930. His family moved to Long Beach, CA, when Brown was a teenager. He attended Long Beach State University, and then UCLA, where received his BFA and MFA. A painter and printmaker at the time, he moved to New York City in 1959 and discovered Neo-Dadaism, and began exploring improvisational performance art known as “happenings”.


Brown’s performance work would become the focal point of his artistic career—in particular, the founding of his own “religion”, the “First National Church of the Exquisite Panic, Inc”.  He would often perform in the persona of a religious leader dressed as a clown, and in 1967 transformed a former NYC library branch building into the “church”. Hiring modernist architect Paul Rudolph to redesign the entrance and interior, the architectural clash between old and new served as a venue for Brown’s performance pieces until he moved in 1997. 


Brown died in 2009.