Posts Tagged ‘Archives of American Art’
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned from my research is the number of times Craig Kauffman showed in San Francisco. In the first decade of his career, from 1951 to 1961, he participated in a dozen shows in S.F., far more than in Los Angeles. For a painter so closely identified by critics with L.A., that’s very surprising.
Three of these were early group shows, in a regional annual exhibit: The Annual Watercolor Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association, held at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Many artists participated in such annuals in the early 1950s, because there were few places to exhibit, and the shows offered jurors, awards, and visibility. Kauffman also showed in the 1961 version of the watercolor show at the San Francisco Museum of Art.
Important partnerships formed during the 1950s, notably through Syndell Studios and the collaborative organization of Action I, also known as the “Merry Go Round Show,” on the Santa Monica pier. Two of Kauffman’s good friends, James Newman and Walter Hopps, went on to establish galleries. Hopps, of course, partnered with Ed Kienholz to found the legendary Ferus gallery in 1957. Less noted but equally important in this period for Kauffman was Dilexi gallery, which was founded by James Newman.
It was there in San Francisco at Dilexi that Kauffman had eight early exhibitions, both group and solo. Interesting documentation from this time exists in the Archives of American Art, as well as in reviews published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Art News, and Art International. James Newman later donated a Kauffman painting, collected from Dilexi, to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
I’ve written before about the ways that Northern and Southern California are often compared and contrasted: divisions, disagreements, climates, and permeable lines. But here’s another example of an artist who traveled back and forth, living in both cities, and exhibiting in related galleries.
Lately I’ve been reflecting quite a bit. It’s something that’s probably due to age, but could also be related to my final review of an interview for the Archives of American Art (my interviewer was the marvelous Paul Karlstrom). One thing in that conversation really stands out: I have good reason for being passionate about arts education, verifiable research and educational publications. Those who follow this blog are well aware—maybe even weary—of those subjects.
Now, I think I’ve identified the sources: my mother and father. Back when I was growing up in South Pasadena, my father was the Publications Manager and Public Relations Director for California State University Los Angeles. It was in his office and in printing shops that I learned about editing, page layouts, typefaces and binding. He showed me how the annual college catalogue was produced, as well as how to write and distribute a press release.
My mother opened the door to another world, that of scientific research. She worked as a Research Librarian for the Stanford Research Institute, the world-class research organization (based in Menlo Park) with a branch in South Pasadena. I got to know scientists who were working on economic studies, agricultural experiments, and even (hush-hush) top-secret Defense Department-funded studies. I had special privileges, as my mother had great skills as a research librarian, but also phenomenal people skills.
My early exposure to the worlds of professional research and publication instilled high standards in me. I really believe in the importance of “setting the record straight,” because I’ve seen how easily incorrect information spreads across the internet and print media. It’s my responsibility as an arts professional to provide the public with well-researched and historically accurate materials that guide them to greater understanding of artists and their work.