1960s Revisted

Page 1


October 15 – November 13, 2010 Curated by Gary Snyder

ISBN 978-0-9827872-3-6 Price $20.00


Leon Berkowitz

Cover detail, from top to bottom:

Ilya Bolotowsky Hilton Brown

Rakuko Naito Untitled (Black and White),

Lawrence Calcagno

1964, Oil on canvas, 68" x 68"

Roy Colmer

James Hilleary

Howard Daum

#113, 1969, Acrylic on canvas,

Gene Davis

64" x 64"

Thomas Downing Thomas Downing

Mario Garcia

Untitled, 1962, Acrylic on canvas,

John Goodyear

84 1/2" x 86 1/2"

Cleve Gray Roy Colmer

Hisao Hanafusa

#43, 1973, Acrylic on canvas,

James Hilleary

75 1/2" x 60"

Paul Huxley

Albert Stadler

Ward Jackson

Untitled (#121), c. 1965, Acrylic on canvas, 62 1/2" x 63 1/4"

Raymond Jonson Matsumi Kanemitsu Minoru Kawabata

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, "1960s Revisited,"

Lyman Kipp

October 15 - November 13, 2010,

Masatoyo Kishi

curated by Gary Snyder.

James Kuo

Š 2010 David Richard Contemporary

Beatrice Mandelman Howard Mehring Rakuko Naito Sumiye Eugenia Okoshi Betty Parsons Leon Polk-Smith Paul Reed Ralph Rosenborg Vivian Springford Albert Stadler Sidney Wolfson

GalleRy DirectoRs David Eichholtz & Richard Barger

130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | p (505) 983-9555 | f (505) 983-1284 www.DavidRichardContemporary.com | info@DavidRichardContemporary.com

the 1960 s: otheR TrajectoRies by Peter Frank

The ‘60s aren’t what they used to be. We

understood—actually, felt—by examining the

know these fabled years constitute a decade

vast range of expression and investigation

of rapid and continuous change, but we’re

comprising that era’s art. Artistic “pluralism”

learning that we don’t really know the

supposedly characterized the 1970s. Well,

half of it. In American art, for instance, the

the singular was already translating into the

decade of Pop Art and Minimalism was also

plural the decade before.

a decade of hard-edge and gestural abstraction, painterly figuration, and eccentricities

By focusing on abstract approaches, this sur-

of many kinds. The decade of New York’s

vey implicitly examines the legacy of abstract

pre-eminence also saw the emergence—and

expressionism, the dominant mode of post-

re-emergence—of other art centers through-

war American painting that had limped into

out America. A decade dominated by white

the 1960s practically spent. We see abstract

American males hosted a plethora of women

expressionist practices drive the work of a

artists, artists of other ethnicities, and art-

number of these painters; translate in the

ists from other countries—long before Black

hands of others into something recognizable

power, feminism, and other civil and social

but still new and distinctive; and be overtly

movements burst on the scene. Art took

rejected by still other artists who wanted

over America in the 1960s, and in doing so,

to examine very different aesthetics, and at

rode off in every direction.

least a few cases had been examining them for quite a few years. Indeed, several of the

This exhibition looks at several developments

artists here were veterans of artistic disputes

in art—that is, among artists—working in the

going back to the 1930s; with the superan-

United States during the 1960s. None of these

nuation of abstract expressionism, some of

developments has rated much above a foot-

them found themselves adrift, seemingly

note in most standard histories of modern or

put out to pasture, while others found them-

even contemporary art; at best, they might

selves re-emerging almost in triumph. But

serve as frameworks for specific painters

all were active, engaged, committed not just

now lauded as heroes of American art, but

to what they were doing but to the need for

as phenomena in their own right, these ten-

even their enemies to be doing it. Art was

dencies have been paid little heed since their

their belief system, their philosophy and their

heyday. More’s the pity—not simply because

religion, their raison d’être; in the ‘60s they

so much of what got buried was and remains

found the audience suddenly growing much

so engaging and attractive in its own right,

larger and more curious (thanks in such great

but because it gives body to the context

part to the romance and controversy abstract

of art at a time of dynamic fluctuation. The

expressionism had engendered in the previ-

transition from modernism to post-modern-

ous decade), and now they could reasonably

ism began in the 1960s, and the complex-

hope, no matter how radical their ideas or

ity of that transition can be so much better

practices, to catch someone’s ear—and eye.

DETAIL: Roy Colmer #43, 1973, Acrylic on canvas, Signed, dated and numbered on verso, 75 1/2" x 60"

It wasn’t even necessary to work in New York

generations of avant gardists seeking to cul-

to maintain the sophisticated concerns the

tivate their ideas in atmospheres of natural

nation’s (and now the world’s) art capital cul-

as well as cultural inspiration. And the buzz

tivated. It was certainly necessary to expose

of native art activity in other urban centers

one’s accomplishments in New York, but that,

beyond New York grew louder and more con-

rather than actual residency, was what it took

fident; even though places like Los Angeles,

to participate in the contemporary discourse.

Chicago, and New Orleans were likely to lose

The abstract expressionists themselves had

their best and their brightest to New York,

begun to move out of New York in previous

those best and brightest maintained close

years, the successful ones gravitating to the

ties with their hometowns, spoke up for their

Hamptons, Woodstock, and other ex-urban

homies in the New York ferment, and often

locales and those less successful, or more

returned home after a few years of fleeting

committed to an academic framework, tak-

success and/or enduring obscurity.

ing positions at universities around the country. Several outlying regions—northern New

Washington may seem an unlikely place for a

Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, upper New

vital network of artists to emerge, but, both

England—were re-discovered by whole new

despite and because of the unique nature of

our nation’s capital, at least one such net-

and Roy Colmer took their compositional

work did appear there late in the 1950s. It

strategies a step further. Interestingly, as we

took the advocacy of the country’s most

see in Bolotowsky’s work and that of Lyman

influential art critic, Clement Greenberg, to

Kipp, the geometric style made painting out

put the Washington Color School on the

of sculpture and vice versa.

map, but his support of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland in particular proved crucial

The gestural approach to abstract painting,

to the broader recognition of that “school.”

a hallmark of abstract expressionism, was in

In 1965 Greenberg brought Louis and Noland

eclipse, but its practitioners proved durable,

together with Gene Davis, Thomas Downing,

obstinate, and mutable by turns, refining their

Paul Reed, and Howard Mehring in a sur-

original styles with various levels of response

vey mounted at the Washington Gallery of

to the “new going thing(s).” While Greenberg

Modern Art that made waves in New York;

maintained tight control over the color-field

and other Washington painters such as Leon

circle around him, more independent-minded

Berkowitz, Hilton Brown, and James Hilleary

individuals such as Vivien Springford, Albert

were also able to attract attention up the

Stadler, and the redoubtable artist-gallerist

pike with their balanced negotiations of

Betty Parsons engaged the techniques and

luminous color and fluid or rigid proto-min-

effects of color field painting—the saturated

imalist form.

color areas, the de-emphasis on texture, the mutable contours—in more painterly man-

The Washington painters’ emphasis on color

ners. Other painters such as Mario Garcia,

and visual field endeared them to those like

Ralph Rosenborg, Lawrence Calcagno, and

Greenberg who saw such an approach as

(arguably) Beatrice Mandelman hovered sim-

a—the—logical evolution out of abstract

ilarly near representation, their compositions

expressionism. But their reliance on geomet-

implying the presence of figure, landscape,

ric shapes and compositions betrayed their

or even microscopic life. The echoes of pre-

awareness of the emerging “hard-edge” ten-

abstract expressionist experimentation—in

dency (a tendency Greenberg tacitly sup-

particular the “Indian Space Painting” that

ported), and in fact defined most of them as

sought a fusion of geometric and organic

geometricists. Certain of them even became

form—lingered in the work of Howard Daum,

identified with “op art,” the highly hyped

while “orthodox” abstract expressionism

post-Pop phenomenon that zeroed in on per-

endured in the work of such artists as the

ceptual dynamics within a geometric frame-

Chinese-born James Kuo.

work. By the mid-1960s such opticality had helped geometry reassert itself forcefully as a

The ranks of geometric artists, op artists,

credible and available formal language. Older

color field painters, gestural painters, and

artists devoted to constructivism such as Ilya

artists of all kinds in New York were broad-

Bolotowsky and (in New Mexico) Raymond

ened considerably by influxes of foreign art-

Jonson were now joined by younger talents

ists who brought their own methods and

such as Leon Polk Smith, Ward Jackson,

experiences with them. Of course, many

Sidney Wolfson, and Paul Huxley in rendering

of these émigrés were coming over as stu-

clearly and precisely defined shapes on can-

dents or recent graduates; but just as many

vas, while op artists such as John Goodyear

settled in New York for extended periods,



even taking American citizenship, once they

Art always comes in all shapes and all col-

had achieved artistic maturity in their native

ors, as it were, and in great centers of artistic

lands. The Japanese influx, in particular, com-

activity, art is likely to be practiced quite vari-

prised a profound presence in and among all

ously. Even so, the exigencies of art history

aspects of the New York art scene. Within a

locate specific tendencies in specific places at

decade of their country’s defeat and devas-

specific times, so that, for instance, a painter

tation, Japanese artists had developed an

practicing International-Style miniaturism in

experimental scene of their own. Enamored

late-15th century Florence has been entirely

of the overseas avant garde, they felt com-

overshadowed by Michelangelo’s early man-

pelled to go to the source of their inspiration.

nerism while one practicing that style in Sienna

Before the war, that would have been Paris.

has not. Who now thinks of the Italian Cubist

Afterwards, however, Japan’s new genera-

Mario Sironi or the Belgian Futurist Jules

tion, already Americanized by the occupa-

Schmalzigaug? But Schmalzigaug, Sironi, and

tion, gravitated to New York. Reflecting both

that poor Florentine miniaturist are all worthy

native cultural leanings and the philosophi-

of attention—for more than just their exotic

cal mindset(s) of New York’s late modern-

displacement—and, likewise, those American

ists—leanings and mindsets that strongly

artists who were not Pop artists or minimal-

corresponded (in, for example, the influence

ists in the 1960s must unfairly swim upstream

of Zen)—the Japanese artists who worked

in our collective memory the same way they

in New York at this time reflected local ten-

had to in the public opinion of their own time.

dencies but re-interpreted them in distinc-

But art history, finally, is no more a history of

tive ways, bringing notable accents from

mere winners than it is of mere objects, and in

home. Taro Yamamoto, for instance, prac-

their idiosyncrasies and anachronisms, their

ticed abstract expressionism with an auster-

fiercely independent minds and poignantly

ity that was neither minimalist nor gestural,

unfashionable practices, artists such as the

while Minoru Kawabata practiced hard edge

ones collected here lend fullness to the art

painting with an almost gestural lyricism.

history of their time. They are not extras, nor

Matsumi (“Mike”) Kanemitsu—who had come

even bit players in a pageant of highlights, but

over earlier than most of his countrymen and

supporting characters who, separately and

had fully integrated into the abstract expres-

together, comprise a rich, varied discourse—a

sionist scene—evolved a style that bestrode

discourse, to be sure, that bristles with contra-

hard edge and color field painting, never

dictions and disjunctures, but is all the more

fully abandoning the gesturality of his earlier

artistic, and all the more human, for that. A

work even once he’d moved to Los Angeles

few of these figures, in fact, are destined for

in 1965. Sumiye Okoshi’s and Masatoyo

full paragraphs in future histories. But all are

Kishi’s work bespeaks both American color

worth a look on their own merits, and on their

field painting and the theatrical gestural-

own merits already belong in the annals of

ism of Japanese Gutai, while Rakuko Naito's

American art. After all, they, too, made the

vibrant black and white composition falls

1960s what it was.

squarely under the Op art rubric and Hisao Hanafusa’s elegant object-painting evinces, but does not truly partake of, the first blush of minimalism.

Leon Berkowitz Cathedral No. 13, 1968, Oil on canvas, 90" x 72" Exhibited: The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Recent Paintings by Leon Berkowitz, February 22 - March 23, 1969. Gary Snyder/Project Space, NY, Leon Berkowitz: Cathedral Paintings, March 6 - May 2, 2009.

Ilya Bolotowsky Untitled (column), 1963, Oil on wood, Signed and dated near bottom, 35 1/2" x 4 3/8" x 4 3/8" Provenance: B.C. Holand Gallery, Chicago, IL Osuna Lennon, GP, Washington, DC Exhibited: New American Abstraction 19601975, Gary Snyder Project Space, November 8 - December 20, 2008.

Hilton Brown Homage to the Immaculates, 1965, Acrylic on canvas, Signed and titled on verso, 50" x 60"


Lawrence Calcagno Sunbands V, 1969, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 82" x 120" (overall) 6

Provenance: Brooklyn Museum of Art

Roy Colmer #41, c. 1969, Acrylic on canvas, 75" x 50"

Roy Colmer #43, 1973, Acrylic on canvas, Signed, dated and numbered on verso, 75 1/2" x 60"

Howard Daum Composition #194, c. 1960, Oil on canvas, 40" x 42" 7

Gene Davis #156, 1971, Acrylic on canvas, 4" x 120"

Thomas Downing Red, Blue, and Gold, 1960, Acrylic on canvas, 90" x 87 1/2" Literature: Houston, Joe. 2007, Optic Nerve, Perceptual Art of the 1960s. Merrell Publishers Limited, New York. p. 68.

Thomas Downing Untitled, c. 1970s, Acrylic on canvas, 56" x 45" 8

Mario Garcia Barn Series, c. 1960, Oil on canvas, 59 1/2" x 59" Exhibited: The Noyes Museum, Oceanville, New Jersey. Mario Garcia: Red Barn Series, September 18 – December 13, 1987.

John Goodyear Monet's Garden, c. 1966, Mounted strips of acrylic, 24" x 24"

Cleve Gray Perne #22, 1978, Acrylic on canvas, Signed, dated, and titled on verso, 56" x 64"

Hisao Hanafusa Yellow I, 1966, Canvas and tubing, 48" x 60"

James Hilleary #113, 1969, Acrylic on canvas, Signed, dated, and titled on verso, 64" x 64" Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist


Paul Huxley Untitled, 1968, Acrylic on canvas, 84" x 84" 10

Ward Jackson Reversal, Interchange VII, 1964, Oil on canvas, Signed, dated and titled on verso, 34" x 34" Provenance: Estate of the Artist Exhibited: New American Abstraction 19601975, Gary Snyder Project Space, November 8 - December 20 2008.

Raymond Jonson Polymer #9, 1965, Polymer on panel, Signed verso, 39 3/4" x 29 3/4"

Matsumi Kanemitsu Untitled, 1961, Ink on paper, 13 1/2" x 10 3/4" Provenance: Gary Snyder Fine Art, NY Exhibited: Eastern Essence: Abstraction by Asian American Artists, 19501970, Gary Snyder Fine Art, NY, March 16 - May 4, 2002.

Minoru Kawabata Yellow Slow, 1965, Acrylic on canvas, Signed lower left, 64" x 44" Provenance: Betty Parsons Gallery, NY

Lyman Kipp Untitled (Green & Yellow), 1967, Painted wood, 4 3/4" x 10" x 4 3/4"


Masatoyo Kishi Untitled, 1959 – 1963, Oil on canvas, 51" x 76" 12

James Kuo Growth #1, 1969, Acrylic on canvas, Signed lower left, 60" x 30" Provenance: Gary Snyder Fine Art, NY Exhibited: Eastern Essence: Abstraction by Asian American Artists, 19501970, Gary Snyder Fine Art, NY, March 16 - May 4, 2002.

Beatrice Mandelman Circles, c. 1960s, Casein on masonite, Signed lower right, 48" x 24"

Howard Mehring Untitled, c. 1963, Magna on canvas, 76 1/2" x 77 1/2" 13

Rakuko Naito Untitled (Black and White), 1964, Oil on canvas, Signed and dated on verso, 68" x 68"

Sumiye Eugenia Okoshi Untitled, c. 1968, Oil on canvas, Signed lower right “Eugenia Okoshi”, Signed on verso “E. Okoshi”, 45" x 35"

Betty Parsons Untitled (ParUnt22), 1961, Oil on canvas, Signed verso, 50" x 40" 14

Leon Polk-Smith Constellation K, 1969, Acyrlic on canvas, Signed, dated and titled on verso, 47 1/2" x 23 1/2"

Paul Reed #25C, 1964, Acrylic on canvas, 74 1/8" x 57" Provenance: East Hampton Gallery, New York Ramon Osuna, Washington, DC Exhibited: 1965, Paul Reed, East Hampton Gallery Literature: Judd, Donald. "In the Galleries," Arts Magazine 39, no. 4 (January 1965), p. 65. Judd, Donald. Complete Writings: 1959-1975. New York University Press, New York, p. 160.

Ralph Rosenborg American Landscape: A Summer Day, 1969, Oil on canvas, S.D. L. L., 32" x 42"

Vivian Springford Basin Street (VS25), 1963, Oil on canvas, 51" x 62"

Vivian Springford expansionist series (VSF596), 1978, Acrylic on canvas, Signed, dated and titled on verso, 60" x 54"


Albert Stadler Untitled (#111), c. 1962, Acrylic on canvas, 42 3/8" x 32 3/8" 16

Albert Stadler Untitled (#121), c. 1965, Acrylic on canvas, 62 1/2" x 63 1/4"

Sidney Wolfson Untitled (SWP10), 1969, Oil on canvas, Signed verso “SW 68-69”, 57 1/4" x 43 1/2" Provenance: The Artist Private Collection, Florida

Leon Berkowitz Ilya Bolotowsky Hilton Brown Lawrence Calcagno Roy Colmer Howard Daum Gene Davis Thomas Downing Mario Garcia John Goodyear Cleve Gray Hisao Hanafusa James Hilleary Paul Huxley Ward Jackson Raymond Jonson Matsumi Kanemitsu Minoru Kawabata Lyman Kipp Masatoyo Kishi James Kuo Beatrice Mandelman Howard Mehring Rakuko Naito Sumiye Eugenia Okoshi Betty Parsons Leon Polk-Smith Paul Reed Ralph Rosenborg Vivian Springford Albert Stadler Sidney Wolfson

GalleRy DirectoRs David Eichholtz & Richard Barger

130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | p (505) 983-9555 | f (505) 983-1284 www.DavidRichardContemporary.com | info@DavidRichardContemporary.com