Posts Tagged ‘Craig Kauffman artwork’
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 am very proud to announce that the gallery, in collaboration with ColorNet Press, has been awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Printing Industries of America for our artist’s monograph, Sensual Mechanical: The Art of Craig Kauffman. The Premier Print Awards are held yearly to recognize the highest quality printed pieces in over 100 categories from around the world. As our plaque notes, “The Premier Print Award goes to those firms who demonstrate a unique ability to create visual masterpieces. Chosen from thousands of entries, each represents the unique partnership between designer and printer, need and creativity, technology and craft.”
I’m glad the award emphasizes collaborative relationships because it’s so important to me to recognize the gallery’s partners in this project – it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s hard work. For the design of the book, I will always be grateful for the vision of the late Joe Molloy, of Mondo Typo, and his wife, Amita Molloy, who worked as our production manager. Additional design assistance was provided by Jim Drobka, with typography done by Diane Franco. Finally, I have to thank Nick Nejad of ColorNet Press, for his dedicated attention and expertise. I’m proud to share this award with him.
The artists in our current show, Translucence, were all active in the 1960s. Their work is linked by their shared interest in transparency, light, reflection and the awareness of visual perception. Although they are frequently united under the label of Light and Space, and strongly associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s, it’s important to note how these artists’ work has evolved.
Our current show presents historical and contemporary examples of artwork. For instance, Larry Bell’s well-known form, the glass cube, is presented alongside work from his most recent series, the “Light Knots.” Working in diverse materials, Bell achieves complex visual effects through his use of thin film deposition – resulting in objects that absorb, transmit, and reflect light, thus calling into question the nature of the physical and visual spaces they inhabit.
Sensuous color characterizes Craig Kauffman’s practice, and plastic allowed him to expand on and enhance this sensibility. Suspended from the ceiling, Kauffman’s Untitled Loop from 1969 radiates luminous color, casting reflections on the surrounding walls. His more recent wall reliefs pulse with layers of iridescent paint, applied in thin layers to achieve a glowing, atmospheric quality.
Helen Pashgian’s work, like that of many of her contemporaries, used the new possibilities offered by industrial mediums to manipulate and explore visual and physical phenomena. Her practice constitutes an ongoing investigation into the interaction between light, color, and three-dimensional form. Like her historical spheres, Pashgian’s recent pieces explore the perceptual relationship between color and structure, blurring the borders between these principles. As the viewer moves around her work, colors and shapes advance and recede within each piece, creating an effect of instability.
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 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.
I’m often asked by visitors for recommendations to local gallery and museum shows. Although it hasn’t opened yet, I’m betting that the upcoming Norton Simon Museum exhibition, Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture, is going to be one to remember. Opening April 26th, the show will investigate how Constantin Brancusi influenced some of the great sculptors of the twentieth century through his innovative use of space and material.
I’ve always felt that the Norton Simon is a great local museum with an outstanding permanent collection, which they are drawing on exclusively for this show. Excitingly, they will be including two important works by gallery artists that were not previously on view at the museum. Larry Bell and Craig Kauffman will both have major pieces on display in the show, which will also include artists such as Henry Moore, Donald Judd, and Robert Irwin, among many other artists of note.
The Larry Bell artwork that is featured in Beyond Brancusi is a 40 x 40 x 40 inch Untitled cube from 1969. As one of the largest cubes ever fabricated by the artist, this work is certainly deserving of more attention and I look forward to seeing how it will be installed. Craig Kauffman will be represented in the exhibition by an Untitled Loop, also from 1969. Constructed of a draped sheet of acrylic plastic and spray painted in contrasting blue and red, the work will cast reflections of colored light on its surrounding walls.
I’m really looking forward to the opening of this show, which was organized by Norton Simon Associate Curator Leah Lehmbeck. It’s going to be a great opportunity to see works that are rarely on view, from the permanent collection of one of my favorite museums.
In light of the upcoming Getty-sponsored series, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., I thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the ways art and architecture intersect. It’s not uncommon for artists to have interest in architecture and design, and our gallery artists are no exception. For example, Craig Kauffman had deep roots in architecture, maintaining a lifelong interest in the field. Coming of age in post-war Southern California, Kauffman had some early exposure to the kind of modern architecture that would go on to characterize the region. His first significant personal contact came in 1949, while he was still in high school. Anna Victoria Dahlstrom, a friend of his sister Wilhelmina, lived in a newly designed house by John Lautner in Pasadena. The Dahlstrom residence featured curving walls, exposed beams and an extensive use of glass, all of which made a great impression on the young Kauffman.
Enrolling in the USC School of Architecture in the fall of 1950, Craig Kauffman even wrote a paper on the architecture of Lautner, with whom he felt an affinity. Although he left USC after his first year to study art at UCLA, Kauffman carried his architectural interests with him throughout the rest of his career.
In the early 1970s, Kauffman made the significant decision to leave the medium of painting on plastic, for which he was well-known, and begin a new body of work. The constructed paintings of 1973 – 1976, currently on display at the gallery, illustrate this new direction and have an undeniably architectural presence. Framed out in jelutong wood, Kauffman has made the physical supports the subject of these paintings. In an interview in 1977 with Michael Auping, referring to these works, Kauffman stated that “the structure is the image, the beginnings of the image.”
Kauffman’s decision to reveal the internal architecture of a painting, and focus on it, is akin to an architect’s use of exposed beams in a residence. Rather than conceal the means by which these works were constructed, Kauffman highlighted their physical structures. He also allowed for some neutral areas between the strips of jelutong, which function as windows through the works to the wall where they are hung. Many of the forms he used in this series are drawn from his architectural vocabulary, and some explicitly relate to his earlier architectural studies, like this Concert Hall Workshop from 1954 (seen above). They also refer to the type of vernacular architecture that attracted Kauffman, including the shacks on the beach he saw during his visits to Baja.
It’s always so interesting to me the way art historical threads can weave together, revealing a complex network of connections between artists, curators, dealers, and patrons. Following these threads can take you deep into the history of an artist and his work, and show you details you might have overlooked. For example, I’ve recently been looking into the time Craig Kauffman spent in Paris in the 1970s, and have discovered some interesting things. Kauffman exhibited new work at the Galerie Darthea Speyer in 1973 and 1976 in a space in Saint-Germain-des-Prés designed by Darthea Speyer’s brother, A. James Speyer.
An architect who studied under Mies van der Rohe in the 1930s, A. James Speyer became the Curator of Twentieth Century Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1961, and remained there until his death in 1986. It was under his tenure as senior curator that the Art Institute of Chicago acquired their two outstanding works by Craig Kauffman. The first work, a 1969 Loop titled Le Mur s’en Va I, was bought outright in 1970 through the Twentieth-Century Purchase Fund. The second piece, an Untitled bubble from 1968 was donated to the museum in 1979 by Baxter Travenol Laboratories.
The title of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Loop is important, because Le Mur s’en va (The Wall Goes Away) refers to Craig Kauffman’s original name for the Loop series. These works, suspended several inches in front of the wall, create an unusual visual ambiguity. The fields of luminous color compete with their own shadows, tinted images of the works cast in reverse on the walls. The works, and the walls, seem to dematerialize in the face of this optical uncertainty.
Kauffman made a compelling statement about his works’ relationship with the wall for his 1970 survey show at the Pasadena Art Museum. He’s referring specifically to works that cast colored reflections, but I think it reveals something fundamental about his beliefs about painting, and even hints at the direction he eventually moved in during the 1970s. I’ve published this before, but feel it’s worth repeating:
“what is a wall? it is always something for bumping one’s head against. the real wall, of whatever material, be it brick, studs sixteen inches on center, cement, adobe, flat or curved, is something to reckoned with. it is also an idea which separates us from each other. walls divide worlds. whether of bamboo or iron, walls are our creations. even the invisible walls that surround each of us denote our space, our identity. “c’est une chose mystérieuse la mur.” thing of mind or reality? crazy jane said, “what a terrible thing for a young girl to be a wall.” it is terrible to be any inanimate object but to become a wall is perhaps the worst. to walk into a wall and never come out is very possible. it is as if the wall calls to us to come in and stay in its cold interior. destroy the wall with color à la léger? cover the wall with paintings? make protrusions from it, poke holes in it? perhaps we should play with walls, with illusions, shadows, in order to render them passable to our substance. to walk through a wall is not just for houdini. perhaps we can all enter and come out safely.”
Publications are an important part of what we do at the gallery – they provide us with another way to educate the public about the arts. I’ve written a lot about Sensual Mechanical: The Art of Craig Kauffman, our recent monograph on the life and work of Craig Kauffman, but that’s far from the only book we have available to visitors. In addition to books and catalogs produced by the gallery, we also offer selected museum publications. I try to make a point of displaying a variety of books that relate to our current exhibition or connect with what’s going on with the artists that we represent.
From the beginning (our first gallery publication was a 1999 catalogue for Roseline Delise), my intent was to use the talent and resources at hand. The late Joe Molloy, a superb graphic designer and legendary typographer, designed most of our publications. His eye for composition, alignment, and legibility was always present, as the catalogues were designed to extend our graphic identity as well as present the artworks. I’ve also employed recognized authors to write the essays, including Kristine McKenna and Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. Another feature of the gallery publications has been the excellent photography of Anthony Cuñha and Alan Shaffer.
Right now, we have a selection of books related to the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative, with exhibition catalogs including Clay’s Tectonic Shift at Scripps College, Phenomenal at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and our own Peter Voulkos in L.A.: Time Capsule. Other publications feature the work of artists we currently have on display at the gallery, such as Richard Shaw and Peter Shire. To see a more complete list of the books we offer, including our online publications, follow this link to the publications page of the Frank Lloyd Gallery website: