Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Standard Time’
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.
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.
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:
The Frank Lloyd Gallery maintains a Vimeo channel, where we post videos of events held in the gallery. These videos document exhibition walk-throughs or conversations with artists, and allow friends of the gallery who were not able to attend the event in person to experience it nonetheless. So far we have produced five examples.
The first of these videos is an exhibition walk-through of our Pacific Standard Time show, Larry Bell: Early Works. We followed that up with an interview of Larry Bell by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, where he shared the story of his discovery of the thin-film evaporation process.
The gallery’s next video production documented another of our PST shows – Peter Voulkos in L.A.: Time Capsule. Both Larry and Ollie Bell spoke about Peter Voulkos’ historical significance within the Los Angeles art scene, and offered commentary on the show, which presented work from the artist’s personal collection.
Our most recent videos document two shows that we exhibited over the summer. In one, I interviewed Scot Heywood regarding his show Polarities. Scot was great, speaking insightfully about his artistic development. In the other, Larry Bell returned to lead an exhibition walk-through of our Ken Price show. His close personal and professional relationship with Ken really came through as he shared stories about the artist and his work.
If you haven’t seen all of the videos we’ve produced, I encourage you to take a look at them on the Frank Lloyd Gallery Vimeo channel. We’re working on producing more of these, so stay tuned!
Inspired by the Getty’s holiday card – a video narrated by James Cuno outlining the Getty’s accomplishments of 2012 – I decided to take a look at the happenings of the past year here at the gallery.
In January the gallery opened Peter Voulkos in L.A.: Time Capsule, a show that critic Peter Frank hailed as “…the kind of show Pacific Standard Time has been all too short of: an intimate look at the taste and thinking and working methods of an influential figure. Everything in the show, drawn from the artist’s daughter’s collection, was small in scale and dated from the later 1950s…” in the Huffington Post.
Also early in the year, Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, 1956—1968 debuted at Scripps College. I contributed to this major Getty-sponsored exhibition by serving as co-curator and lead essayist for the show, which was singled out by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp on Artnet as “…something of a model for what PST has accomplished, putting into relief the important contributions made by California-based ceramicists during the ‘50s and ‘60s.” By year’s end, Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight recognized the show in his “Best of 2012” list of art museum exhibitions, writing that: “Together, ‘Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California, 1945-1975’ … and ‘Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price and Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968’ … made for the most thorough telling of the tale of a distinctive revolution in postwar art. One laid out the rich panoply of modern ceramic conventions, the other cheerfully smashed them.”
Drawing on Japan’s significant history with ceramics, the gallery presented Sugimoto Sadamitsu’s work in February. Sugimoto-sensei is regarded as the greatest living master of the Iga and Shigaraki styles, and his work was highlighted in a 1989 exhibition that celebrated the 400th anniversary of the death of Sen no Rikyu, the legendary early master of the Tea Ceremony. Sugimoto-sensei’s work represented Shigaraki and Iga masterpieces of the Momoyama period for use in the movie made in that year titled Rikyu, a well-received treatment of the life of this master of the Tea Ceremony. Our show was the first appearance of Sugimoto-sensei’s work in the western United States.
We also brought an unprecedented show of paintings from the late 1980s by Craig Kauffman to the L.A. audience in April. Never exhibited together in the artist’s lifetime, these paintings showed Kauffman’s interest in unorthodox application of paint and his love of the physicality of painting, accompanied by his brilliant color sense. Kauffman considered the 1989 works, which became known as the Numbers, to be a continuation of his use of calligraphic line, and an integration of sensuous color with architectural form. It was a memorable show.
This summer we mounted Jennifer Lee’s fourth solo show in Los Angeles. Jennifer Lee’s pottery is carefully colored with oxides incorporated into the stoneware body of the vessels, so that the interiors and exteriors work together. Referring to her unique pigments, Sir David Attenborough noted: “Because she does not use glaze, her subtle colours and misty shades come not from a veil draped over the pot but from within its very substance, as in the face of a cliff.” The quiet elegance of her pots never fails to make an impact on viewers. Indeed, Leah Ollman of the Los Angeles Times wrote in August that, “For all the calm they invoke, the pieces are charged with the motion of the swirls that encircle them…Their implicit movement suggests the shy whirl of demure dervishes.”
In the fall, the LACMA retrospective of the late Ken Price was a landmark exhibit for the artist. In every way, from the innovative design of the exhibition to the superb publication, the tribute to Ken Price signaled the significance of ceramic sculpture in the development of contemporary art in Los Angeles. In a related exhibit, the gallery presented a show of small works, which was described by David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times as a “dazzling solo show at Frank Lloyd Gallery.”
November brought the release of the gallery’s major monograph on Craig Kauffman, entitled Sensual Mechanical. Written by biographer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, the publication was praised by Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times as “…a gorgeously illustrated and highly informative monograph published by Frank Lloyd Gallery, which represents the artist’s estate. Hunter Drohojowska-Philp’s 2011 book ‘Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s’ sketched the city’s first flush of artistic maturity. Here she chronicles for the first time and in illuminating depth Kauffman’s life and the complete evolution of his luminous art.”
I’ve written about the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s exhibition Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface before, but I recently stumbled upon a couple of videos that reminded me of the beauty of the show. MCASD has produced five beautifully shot and insightfully narrated videos that document some of the challenges and successes of their 2012 exhibition. Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman and De Wain Valentine are all highlighted in these videos, which give viewers a chance to relive Phenomenal.
Curator Robin Clark and research assistant Christie Mitchell provide illuminating commentary, on the works as well as the kinds of practical decisions that needed to be made. The discussion of natural versus artificial lighting is particularly interesting, as many of the artworks are inherently light-responsive.
I especially like the video that pairs Robert Irwin with Craig Kauffman, as the artists were friends and colleagues who enjoyed an exchange of ideas. The Larry Bell video explains the delicate process of setting up his five-paneled installation from 1970. It’s great to hear Larry talk about the experience of installing an older work, and to see the pleasure he still takes in the piece.
If you haven’t seen all of the videos produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego for Phenomenal, I encourage you to take a look at the following link: http://www.mcasd.org/exhibitions/phenomenal-california-light-space-surface-0. Just click “Media” to find the available videos.
Something that might not be evident about any art exhibit is just how many people are involved. Every exhibition and publication requires the talents of a diverse group of people, who write, edit, design, curate, install, photograph, coordinate….I could go on and on!
Recently, I had the opportunity for a major collaboration with my good friends and colleagues, Mary MacNaughton and Kirk Delman. As you may remember, Scripps College hosted Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos, 1956–1968 this past spring, and I was happy to have worked with Mary and Kirk over the course of many months to help make the exhibition possible. Scripps, in association with the Getty, was therefore able to make its own unique contribution to Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mary, she is the Director of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, as well as an associate professor of art history at Scripps. Kirk is the Registrar and Collections Manager of the Scripps College art collections, and works closely with Mary to design and coordinate their installations. The two of them are true professionals, and their expertise and enthusiasm made working together on this project a real pleasure.
I am always happy when the work that I do brings me in contact with such great people, who share with me their creativity, knowledge, and passion for art. It’s part of why I got into this business in the first place – there’s nothing better than being a part of a supportive arts community.
A little while ago, the gallery’s January show was reviewed in the Huffington Post by Peter Frank. Like the HuffPo folks say, these short reviews are sometimes in the traditional Haiku form of 5x7x5 syllables. But other writers might produce a sonnet, and some might take to free-form verse. It’s amazing how writers like Peter Frank can pack a lot of content into a small space. For anyone who missed it, here’s the text:
“Peter Voulkos in L.A.: Time Capsule” is the kind of show Pacific Standard Time has been all too short of: an intimate look at the taste and thinking and working methods of an influential figure. Everything in the show, drawn from the artist’s daughter’s collection, was small in scale and dated from the later 1950s, the time at which Voulkos adopted and promulgated a painterly approach to ceramics, liberating the craft from functional restraints and allowing it to present itself as sculpture – or even painting. None of Voulkos’ own canvases were included, but several paintings by friends and students spoke tellingly to and with Voulkos’ pots and plates and planks and those of his colleagues, including John Mason, Ed Kienholz, and the late Kenneth Price. Billy Al Bengston’s work from this time in oil, ink, and clay is of special remark here – the Pop painter considers Voulkos his greatest teacher, and these items bespoke that influence. Henry Takemoto was the one name here emerging from obscurity, with rough-and-tumble plates every bit as funky and muscular as Voulkos’. What became of him?”
We also made a video walk-through of the show, and this gives those who missed it a chance to see it up close:
Back in the Fall of 2011, the gallery presented a series of exhibits that focused on artists participating in Pacific Standard Time. Now that PST shows are coming to an end (some will close this weekend), I’ve been reviewing the program that we presented. During late October and throughout the month of November, we had a survey of Larry Bell— just the early paintings and first sculptures that preceded the well-known Cubes. My intent was to complement the Crosscurrents show at the Getty Museum, and Phenomenal at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Our show was inspired by the first two rooms of the 2011 Nimes survey of Larry Bell’s work. I wanted to show the early paintings, and the clear progression of ideas and the visual logic in Bell’s work. His work is integral to the development of the clean, clear look of Los Angeles art. Several series of paintings preceded the artist’s well-known cubes and environments of the later 1960s. These early works, from the years 1959 to 1963, show a progression from paintings influenced by Abstract Expressionism, to early shaped canvases, to Bell’s incorporation of geometric form within paintings.
Bell’s inquiry was driven by his sense that the image should relate directly to the plane of the canvas. In these early works, Bell focused on visual perception and his questions led him to eliminate distractions such as gesture and tactile layering of paint. That focus on planes and the reduction of gesture meant that the image could suggest volume.
By January, when critics had viewed the Pacific Standard Time shows, some came to the conclusion that Bell’s work was deserving of a closer look. One of those was Tyler Green, the most prominent art world blogger, who posted a lengthy article, and interviewed Larry. For a look at the whole show, we produced a video that was skillfully shot and edited by Larry’s son, Ollie:
One of the first artists that joined the gallery in 1996 was Adrian Saxe. He gave his support to my fledgling organization and encouraged my ideas. That was a welcome push from a friend and mentor. It helped that Adrian lent his credibility, and I have certainly used his intelligence and experience during the past 16 years of exhibits. It’s extraordinary to have the resource of his technology, and the depth of his knowledge about the history of ceramics is amazing. He’s also a fantastic artist. As Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight has written, “With outrageous humor and unspeakable beauty, (Saxe) makes intensely seductive objects that exploit traditional anthropomorphic qualities associated with ceramics.”
In December, the gallery presented a new body of work by Saxe. His sense of humor was, as always, present. It was accompanied by a myriad of references: to scholar’s rocks, to language, to digital technology, and to culture—both ancient and contemporary. Several of the works were interactive; by holding up a cell phone and reading the quick response code, the viewer was transported to images and videos from the internet. The show marked a brilliant new chapter in an inventive career that has been filled with ideas—gifts from Adrian that delight the eye and the mind.
For those who would like a refreshing look at the evolution of Saxe’s work, we made an on-line publication. This book chronicles the way that Saxe has sought to reinvent a role for ceramic art that employs decorative art conventions to comment on social and cultural expectations surrounding a number of topical themes. Take a look at over sixty pages of Saxe’s work here: Adrian Saxe catalogue