Craig Kauffman in the New York Times
Today’s New York Times review of Craig Kauffman’s show at Danese was glowing, to say the least. Ken Johnson’s concise and considered comments included the word nacreous, which is defined as “consisting of or resembling mother-of-pearl”, and aptly identifies the luminous and iridescent color in Kauffman’s work. Translucence and reflection are also things that Kauffman used in a subtle, sensuous way. Johnson’s review speaks eloquently about The Late Work of Kauffman, concluding that “Kauffman’s sculptures are as relevant today as ever.”
It is an important time for the recognition of the late Craig Kauffman (1932-2010), as his work will be shown in nine exhibitions during the span of a year. Right now, in London at the Thomas Dane Gallery, is the conclusion of an exhibit organized by Walead Beshty, titled Sunless. Kauffman’s work is represented by a superb example made in the late 1960s. Walead Beshty, a highly recognized young international artist, chose to include Kauffman’s work, proving Johnson’s observation that Kauffman is relevant today.
Opening next week is another group show, organized and assembled by the legendary Irving Blum. Blum has selected works by 21 major West Coast artists for an exhibit at Louis Stern Fine Arts in West Hollywood. In a brief introduction to the show, the critic Dave Hickey wrote about the “generosity of his eye, and the infectiousness of his enthusiasm” when praising the pleasure of the company of Irving Blum. Blum has known the work of Kauffman since 1958, of course, when Craig was a member of the original group of artists in the Ferus gallery. Blum selected two drawings for the show.
A survey of works on paper has been mounted by Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles, spanning several decades of Kauffman’s work. The sinuous line, luminous color, and unorthodox techniques of Kauffman’s works are evident in the drawings, lithographs and other works selected by Jean Milant of Cirrus. Milant, too, has known Kauffman’s work for decades, and produced a number of editions of prints. Cirrus, a seminal printmaking facility, worked closely with artists such as Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins, Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari. The Craig Kauffman show of works on paper will run until November 6.
At my gallery, we will present a minimal installation of a group of works known as the Loops. Kauffman considered the 1969 works to be the simplest of his works. These paintings were made from a single sheet of clear acrylic plastic and painted with sprayed acrylic lacquer. Suspended and floating slightly away from a wall, they reflect Kauffman’s life-long interest in unorthodox supports for painting, as well as his sensuous color. In a 1976 interview conducted by the UCLA Oral History Project, Kauffman stated “the loops, which were plastic, hung out from the wall, from the ceiling on a wire, and cast a shadow on the wall…they contain this kind of foggy color inside of them.” This group was the last of several series of works made during the 1960s.
Later in October, Kauffman’s work will be featured, along with over 100 other artists, in a huge show at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art: The Artist’s Museum. MOCA’s permanent collection includes Kauffman’s work, and has been featured in such previous exhibitions as This is Not to be Looked At, and A Minimal Future? The ambitious idea of MOCA’s huge survey is to highlight regional innovators who have most profoundly influenced the international art community. This focused exhibit looks at the complexity and importance of West Coast practice over the past 30 years, so it’s no surprise that Kaffman’s work is included.