Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category
Frank Lloyd Gallery artists have been very busy, so here’s a round-up of their latest activities. To begin, Jennifer Lee has been invited to participate in the International Ceramic Festival in Sasama, Shizuoka, Japan. During the festival, November 22 – November 24, 2013, Lee will present a slide lecture and practical demonstration. Gustavo Pérez will join her at the festival, as he is also scheduled to speak to participants. In 2014, Lee will return to Japan for a two-month artist’s residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.
An important work by Craig Kauffman is now on display at the Barbican Art Centre, as part of their exhibition Pop Art Design, which opened on October 22 and will run through February 9, 2014. I was fortunate enough to preview this show during my recent trip to London. Pop Art Design investigates the “exciting exchange of ideas between the fields of design and art” during the Pop Art movement.
Peter Voulkos is currently the subject of a one-man exhibition at the Franklin Parrasch Gallery titled Peter Voulkos: Works, 1956 – 1997. On view through November 23, 2013, this show features ten ceramic artworks drawn from distinct periods within the artist’s long career.
I am also pleased to announce that the Hetjens Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany, has acquired a recent sculpture by Wouter Dam. Founded in 1909, the Hetjens Museum is home to a collection of ceramic works from all over the world, spanning 8,000 years of ceramics history. Finally, The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico, recently announced a major gift of contemporary art by a private collector. The promised collection contains over 30 artworks by Larry Bell, including two examples of his most recent series, the “Light Knots.”
I’ve just returned from London, a true crossroads of the world (to say the least) and a center for global markets of finance, commerce—and art. Like many visitors, I strolled parks and avenues, walked along the Thames, and took in several museums—from the National Gallery to the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. Like many others involved with contemporary art, I attended Frieze and Frieze Masters. I also went to London galleries.
Collecting art, which was once the pursuit of a smaller population of people and a smaller number of museums, has become far more common. The exponential expansion of the art market, due to the broad digital distribution of images and information, as well as concentrations of wealth in emerging economies, has led to a true change in the way that people see and acquire art. Globalization of art (and all kinds of related information) has drawn many new people who may not have the same objectives as the traditional collector. The art fair is now a primary source for them.
The growth of the market is, of course, a welcome circumstance for artists, and it should be for art dealers. After all, it is the dealers who support the system more than any other group—an observation that was echoed in an interview with the organizer of the Frieze art fair, Matthew Slotover. This preeminent art fair, which began in 2003, gives global visitors the chance to see dozens of galleries under one roof (or tent, as the case may be) and the brilliant organizer sums it up by saying, “One of these reasons is that people have less time than they used to, so they’re generally people who work and travel a lot and they don’t have as much time to visit galleries as they used to, so art fairs are very convenient…”
On the other hand, however, one must recognize the value of galleries in the larger ecosystem. It’s a topic that was addressed eloquently in a recent op-ed piece written by Dorsey Waxter, president of the Art Dealers Association of America, published in the Blouin Art Info. I would suggest that anyone interested in art and art galleries read the article, and note the words of Ms. Waxter, “I have tried to imagine a world where there were no art dealers and galleries and what that would be like. Fortunately I cannot. All sectors of the art world are tied to one another, but it seems to me that galleries matter the most. Their impact on artists and their influence in the arts community is irreplaceable.”
Now that I have works on display by DeWain Valentine in our current exhibition, Translucence, I have been thinking a lot about another show of his – From Start to Finish: DeWain Valentine’s Gray Column – on display at the Getty from late 2011 through early 2012. Organized by the Getty Conservation Institute as part of the Pacific Standard Time Initiative, From Start to Finish told the story of the Gray Column’s production, original installation, and subsequent conservation.
This monumental work, cast in polyester resin, was commissioned by Baxter Travenol Laboratories as part of a two-piece installation of columns, each 12 feet high, for their Illinois headquarters. However, a change in architectural plans made it necessary for the works to be displayed horizontally, as Two Gray Walls. It wasn’t until the Getty’s 2011-2012 exhibition that the artwork was installed vertically, as Valentine had always intended.
A related work by Valentine, called Column Gray, 1972-75, is on view at the gallery now. After noting the strong relationship between Column Gray and the larger Gray Column, I did a little research into the background of the two pieces and found out that Column Gray is actually a color study for its large-scale twin. Before Valentine began work on the full-size Gray Columns, he produced a series of maquettes, in order to experiment with various levels of pigmentation and opacity. Standing at just under two feet tall, Column Gray is one of these maquettes, demonstrating a slightly darker color palette and a more opaque base.
I’m happy to announce that Larry Bell will be the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at White Cube in London. On view from October 16th through December 22nd, the show is timed to coincide with the Frieze London Art Fair. Bell will be presenting recent works in the North Galleries, as well as in the central 9 x 9 x 9 meter exhibition space that the gallery is known for. This show will increase Bell’s already considerable presence in London – he currently has two cubes and a very early box on display in the Minimalism Gallery at the Tate Modern. A photograph from 1972 can also be seen in the Prints and Drawings Study at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Another gallery artist, Wouter Dam, has been included in the group show In Dialogue with the Baroque at Schloss Schleissheim, near Munich, Germany. This exhibition presents contemporary artists in the context of the baroquely decorated Schleissheim Castle. The sinuous, curving lines of Dam’s ceramic sculptures recall the formal principles of baroque ornamentation, making his work a natural fit. In Dialogue with the Baroque opened on September 1st, and will be on display through October 13th.
Meanwhile, Gustavo Pérez’s international reputation continues to grow – he was included in Erskine, Hall & Coe’s Summer Show in London, and was featured in their earlier spring show, Classic and Contemporary. Pérez’s work will also be on display at the Galerie Capazza in Nançay, France, from October 5th – December 5th, 2013. This solo exhibition will include new works by the artist, who continues to pursue inventive methods of engaging with clay.
Scottish artist Jennifer Lee will open a self-titled solo show at Erskine, Hall & Coe on October 9th, which runs through November 1st. She was previously included in a group show alongside Pérez earlier this year titled Classic and Contemporary, also at Erskine, Hall & Coe. Lee’s work continues to evolve, her elegant vessels combining the geological power of nature with the beauty of human artifact.
Akio Takamori has had a busy summer, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the fall season. Takamori recently opened a solo exhibition titled Portraits Ordinaires at the Musée Ariana in Geneva, Switzerland, which will remain up until October 27th. He will also be included in Body and Soul: New International Ceramics, a group show at the Museum of Arts and Design, on view September 24th, 2013 – March 2nd, 2014.
Scot Heywood will be the the subject of two complementary solo shows, both opening in October. The first of these, titled Scot Heywood: A Survey of Large Paintings, 2006-2013, will open at Santa Monica College’s Barrett Gallery on October 22nd. It will remain on display through December 7th. His second show this fall, organized in concert with the first, is called Scot Heywood: A Survey of Small Paintings, and it will be on view here at the Frank Lloyd Gallery from October 26th – November 30th.
Among the most gratifying moments of owning a gallery are the times when our artists’ work is placed in great museums. Especially when the piece was acquired from an important exhibit at the gallery, and preserved in a carefully selected collection—before being promised to a major museum. This is the best of all possible paths: preservation of the legacy of the artist.
I’ve written before about Peter Voulkos in museums. This week, at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, his work will be exhibited in the company of the 20th century’s greatest: Pablo Picasso, Willem DeKooning, and Alberto Giacometti, among many others. Those who have questioned the placement of Voulkos in the history of sculpture must take note, as this is yet another example of the recognition and power of Voulkos by a major collection. Fortunately for future generations, the work, Alhambra, is a promised gift from one of the gallery’s best collectors, and was enthusiastically accepted by the Director of the Nasher.
Titled Return to Earth: Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943-1963, the exhibit is described on the Nasher website as “the first exhibition to explore the phenomenal increase in interest ceramics received from artists of the avant-garde during this period.”1 It promises to be an expansive look into how these artists, who were not primarily known for their work in ceramics, paved the way for future generations of ceramic sculptors. Within the exhibition, Voulkos’s powerful ceramic piece is rightly positioned as a “radical [example] of the expressive potential of fired clay.”2
Return to Earth opens at the Nasher Sculpture Center on Saturday, September 21st, 2013, and will remain on view through January 14th, 2014.
1 Return to Earth: Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943-1963, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, 2013, http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/Exhibitions/Return-to-Earth
As we start to install our next exhibition, titled Translucence, at the gallery, I am struck by its parallels with the Beyond Brancusi show currently on view at the Norton Simon Museum. I visited the NSM’s show in July, and really enjoyed its perspective on the influence of Constantin Brancusi on the following generations of 20th century sculptors.
I particularly remember the third room of the exhibit, which featured “a grouping of works by Southern California artists who introduced experimental materials and expanded the relationship between sculptural object and space even further.”1 This space features four of the five artists included in the gallery’s Translucence exhibition: Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashgian, and DeWain Valentine. A large cube by Larry Bell (our fifth artist) rests just beyond the doorway.
The works on display at the NSM, like those that will soon be up at the gallery, explore the qualities of light, color, reflection, and translucency. They play with our perception of sculptural space, complicating the subject/object relationship as they dissolve into the surrounding environment. Spatial relationships and perceptual phenomena are the primary focus of these works, and of Translucence as a show.
1 Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture, Press Release, The Norton Simon Museum, January 2013, http://www.nortonsimon.org/assets/Uploads/Beyond-Brancusi-Press-Release.pdf
It has been a busy summer for our gallery artists, and their momentum looks like it will continue into the fall! For example, Richard Shaw has three works featured in the Laguna Art Museum’s ongoing exhibition, Faux Real. On display through September 29th, Faux Real presents a selection of artworks that mimic and manipulate reality. Shaw’s porcelain sculptures are a natural fit for the show – he has been producing artful and irreverent trompe l’oeil objects for decades. Shaw is also presenting a series of figural ceramic sculptures in a solo show at the Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, through August 24th. At a glance, these figures appear to be cobbled together from a variety of everyday objects, including instruments, books, branches, and cast-off shoes. However, these seemingly found objects are actually cast in porcelain.
The Orange County Museum of Art’s California-Pacific Triennial includes works by Akio Takamori. A re-working of the OCMA’s previously established California Biennial, the Triennial explores the complex cultural exchange between countries located on the Pacific Rim. Takamori, a naturalized American citizen born in Japan, is a perfect example of this phenomenon, making figurative sculptures that explore ideas of global community and his own multicultural background. His work will be on display at OCMA through November 17th.
Finally, Craig Kauffman will be included in an exhibition titled Pop Art Design at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, running October 22, 2013 through February 9, 2014. This show, organized in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Moderna Museet, will investigate the “exciting exchange of ideas between the fields of design and art” during the Pop Art movement.1 Kauffman will be represented by a beautiful plastic lozenge from 1968-69, from the collection of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
1 Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery, London: 2013, http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=14797
I’m often asked, “where can I see ceramics in Los Angeles?” One of the first places to look is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The museum has been acquiring ceramics for decades, and their collection ranges from Pre-Columbian figures to a mural by Henri Matisse, to a Peter Voulkos sculpture.
I was reminded of this by the current issue of “The Insider”, LACMA’s members’ magazine, which features the Henri Matisse ceramic mural La Gerbe, a gift of Francis L. Brody, in honor of the museum’s 25th anniversary. La Gerbe, a 1953 commissioned work, is a ceramic tile mural installed on the plaza level of the Ahmanson Building. The Matisse has its own spot, just to the left as one enters from the Plaza. It’s something that inspired Pablo Picasso to say, “Only Matisse could have made something this beautiful.” 1
In the Art of the Americas building, the large Pre-Columbian collection is on view, as well as a selection of modern and contemporary ceramics from the Decorative Arts Department on the third floor. Many works in the LACMA collection were donated by Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits, a large gift that includes work by several of the artists represented by the gallery.
My favorite piece is Peter Voulkos’ 5,000 Feet, a muscular, dark vertical work that was first exhibited at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1958. Made of stoneware clay and iron slip, it stands 45½ inches tall and is almost two feet in depth. The piece, now prominently displayed at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum’s permanent collection of “American Art Since 1950”, is a clear demonstration of the methods Voulkos used. He seemed to build these forms from the ground up, taking the wheel-thrown cylinders and shaping them into appendages on the central form. The body of the massive 5,000 Feet is built ruggedly, composed of wheel-thrown and paddled shapes, growing to its top with thinner, jagged forms. This powerful, expressive work won the Junior Art Council Sculpture Prize Award and the Purchase Award, 1959, Annual Exhibition of Los Angeles and Vicinity, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2
1 Picasso, Pablo, quoted in The Insider 3 (Summer 2013): 13.
2 Lloyd, Frank, “Vanguard Ceramics: John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos.” In Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968, edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton, 19-39. Claremont: Scripps College and Getty Publications, 2012.
I recently viewed the superb show “Beyond Brancusi” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. It’s a very carefully selected show (just twenty works plus “Bird in Space” upstairs), entirely from the NSM holdings of modern art. There are three sections of the exhibit, demonstrating “…the transformative notion of space, and, secondarily, materials, that Brancusi presents.”
Entering the Norton Simon, one descends the center staircase to the basement, into the Special Exhibitions area. Part one includes nine works; Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Isamu Noguchi (all marble) as well as Louise Nevelson, Gabriel Kohn, Charles Mattox and Guy Dill (wood and other materials). These sculptures set up the relationship to Brancusi in ways both direct (Hepworth and Moore) and tangential.
Relationship to sculptural volume and the use of larger masses in space abounds in the second room. The scale and industrial materials of Minimalism expand the exhibit in works by Donald Judd (two from Judd), Robert Morris (a felt piece), and John McCracken as well as Carl Andre’s modular floor piece and Larry Bell’s big dark cube. This is a compact view of the major power of the Minimal era.
It’s in room three where the show gets really interesting, as far as sculptural space is concerned. That’s because the work of Helen Pashgian, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman and DeWain Valentine present ways in which our perception of space is heightened or altered. The Robert Irwin disc—in aluminum sprayed with a luminous, magical shifting aura of pale color—is installed at the far end wall, framed by the room openings of the previous sections.
Back upstairs in the permanent collection, Brancusi’s “Bird in Space” is highly polished bronze, and the progenitor is “reflecting life itself” according to the artist. That might be a good way to view the whole show. Certainly, the emphasis on spatial relationships dominates, and the significance of materials or process is secondary in the show. It’s the work of Norton Simon Museum curator Leah Lehmbeck, and definitely something to see.
In the New York Times this morning, I found some unprecedented news. The above-the-fold story by Holland Cotter, “The East Coast of California,” included his phrase “…an unheard-of convergence here of major California shows.” Below the fold, Mr. Cotter reviewed the Ken Price retrospective at the Metropolitan, while Roberta Smith addressed James Turrell at the Guggenheim, and Ken Johnson wrote about the Llyn Foulkes show at the New Museum.
Unprecedented, indeed—and also amazing that the curatorial work of LACMA’s Stephanie Barron and the Hammer’s Ali Subotnick are again recognized. Not just the artists from the West Coast, but the curatorial vision. Mr. Cotter’s leading line was, “The project [Pacific Standard Time] was a big success and continues to generate energy.”
How vindicated do the PST folks at the Getty Research Institute feel? Pretty strongly justified, if you look at Project Specialist Glenn Phillips’ Facebook post. The Yale-trained art historian noted “Many people claimed that Pacific Standard Time would never have more than local impact, particularly in relation to New York,” and goes on to cite the three exhibits of Price, Turrell, and Foulkes as well as the current “State of Mind” show at PS1, the Paul McCarthy installation at the Armory, and the upcoming full-floor installation by Robert Irwin at the Whitney. (Let’s not forget about Jay DeFeo, the San Francisco painter whose Whitney retrospective just closed earlier this month.)
I don’t want this post to seem like a laundry list, but it’s also a matter of record that “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980″ appeared at MoMA’s PS1 last year, and that “Asco: Elite of the Obscure, a Retrospective, 1972-1987″ had a run at Williams College (alma mater of many U.S. museum curators and directors). “California Design, 1930-1965: ‘Living in a Modern Way,” continues its worldwide tour, and Wendy Kaplan’s publication is now in its 4th printing. PST is having a lasting effect.
Back in October 13, 2011, the Wall Street Journal’s critic Peter Plagens (who is a former Angeleno) questioned, “isn’t PST preaching to the choir?” It’s obvious that’s just not true.