Passlof grew up in NY. Attended Queens College and then Black Mountain School for a summer, studied under de Kooning, of who she came back to NY with his encouragement. She worked, took classes from de Kooning and was part of the art scene. She helped renovate the 8th street loft, which was the first location of the “Club”. Interest in biomorphic forms of Gorky and de Kooning informed by existentialist philosophy of Abstract Expressionism.
Born in Russia but moved to NYC with his family at five years old. They settled in Brooklyn where he attended public schools. At age 14, he enrolled at Pratt Evening School in Brooklyn – the Commercial Art Program, however, a teacher there suggested he would be better suited for fine art. So, he enrolled at the American Artists School in NYC. Here he met and befriended Ad Reinhardt. His father forbade him to become an artist, so in 1934 at the age of 17, he moved out and supported himself as an elevator operator while attending art school.