John Coplans

  • Larry Poons

    Born Tokyo, 1937.

    Studied at New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, 1955–57.

    Lives In New York City.

    PART OF THE FASCINATION OF LARRY POONS’ ART is the extreme subtlety with which it functions at the borderline of randomness, despite its rigorous, systematic and complexly planned overtones. Thus it appears simultaneously to manipulate and balance two mutually exclusive approaches—the precisely ordered and the haphazard. These contradictory aspects derive from a very personal range of coloration, articulated by the optical bounce of the dots or ellipses

  • Billy Al Bengston

    Born Dodge City, Kansas, 1934.

    Attended Los Angeles City College, 1953–54; Los Angeles State College, 1954–55; California College Of Arts And Crafts, Oakland, 1955–56.

    Taught at Chouinard Art Institute, 1961, and University of California, Los Angeles, 1962.

    Lives In Venice, California.

    IN WESTERN ART, PURELY PAINTERLY QUALITIES, the handling of the media, can often be distinctly separated from composition, or the organization of form. In some cases, differences in paint application can become the distinguishing features of the style, as for example, the recognizably smooth, highly polished and

  • An Interview with Allen Jones

    Jones: I have a relative lack of interest in the images I use––this seems to amaze people.

    Q: What do you mean––a relative lack of interest?

    Jones: Well, I have no specific regard for my images––they are just pegs on which to hang a formal problem.

    Q: However, you are commonly regarded or categorized as a Pop painter.

    Jones: Yes, it seems to have been taken for granted my images grow out of a popular iconography. This is not true. One of the earliest pictures that had any significance for me was a self-portrait––a head with a tie under it. Now, this image––which is a kind of obsessive image––has

  • David Gray

    Gray’s polychrome metal sculpture exhibition (of works completed within the past twelve months) can be seen as part of a conscious attempt to focus in on the series of transformations wrought within the medium of sculpture during this century. Despite considerable dependence on surface coloration his shapes are intimate studio objects within a long-standing sculptural tradition, but they avoid reference to the monumental, the figurative or to the anthropomorphization of machinery. He maintains sculptural bulk by using pierced geometrical shapes of symmetrical and emblematic character––in effect,

  • Mondrian at Santa Barbara

    MONDRIAN WAS AN OBSESSIVE VISIONARY IDEALIST. He could not bear the thought of art for art’s sake, nor for art to be (merely) morally uplifting. He wanted it to serve a greater purpose—to bring man, art and environment into a Utopian harmony. In 1926, in “Pure Abstract Art,” he wrote: “. . . In our disequilibreated society whose atmosphere thoroughly reeks with old age, everything drives us to seek pure equilibrium: it alone will sustain us with the indispensable joy of living. To this end, pure abstract art’s “painting” is not enough; the expression must be realized in our material environment

  • Concerning “Various Small Fires” An Interview with Edward Ruscha


    A. Yes, the first, in 1962, was “Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations.”

    Q. What is your purpose in publishing these books?

    A. To begin with—when I am planning a book, I have a blind faith in what I am doing. I am not inferring I don’t have doubts, or that I haven’t made mistakes. Nor am I really interested in books as such, but I am interested in unusual kinds of publications. The first book came out of a play with words. The title came before I even thought about the pictures. I like the word “gasoline” and I like the specific quality of “

  • Man: Glory, Jest & Riddle, Part III

    TO THE SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM, proclaimed keeper of the traditions of contemporary art for northern California fell the task of surveying “the use of the human form” in 20th-century art. Mr. George Culler, in another display of the kind of thinking that has made his entire tenure as Director of the Museum a downhill toboggan ride from the reasonable heights to which Dr. Grace Morley, his predecessor, had raised it, evidently decided that his job was simple enough: all he had to do was keep out the abstrac­tions and collect as many paintings with people in them as he could.

    The San Francisco Museum

  • “Some Paintings to Consider”

    The underlying idea of the current exhibition is com­mendable––the problem was to find the artists to fit it. Dr. Thomas W. Leavitt expresses it this way: “(The) modern critical tendency of creating stylistic categories for artists can im­pair individual responses and cause the work of some very significant artists to be undervalued. The eight painters included here (Seymour Boardman, Charles Cajori, Al Held, Matsumi Kani­mitsu, June Lathrop, Knox Martin, John Opper, Richards Ruben) are neither new nor unknown, but their stature has not been generally recognized because they have not become

  • Lee Mullican

    The opening statement of the unsigned introduction to the catalog of this exhibition asserts: “Lee Mullican has been one of the dominant figures in West Coast art since his first one-man exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art, in 1949.” It is the kind of statement which appearing in a commercial gallery would mean nothing, and in a scholarly institution is surprisingly unqualified. But the fact is that it is a statement which ought to have been true, and that it is not is saddening. For there is no doubt that Mullican is an artist of talent. His work maintains very individual overtones.

  • “Dutch And Flemish Painting Of The Northern Renaissance”

    It has been noted—not without considerable misgivings—that the Art Center at La Jolla has ceased to function as such, closed its school and changed its title to the La Jolla Museum of Art. The decision to change and extend the scope of this institution is far more complex than the trustees may have realized, especially at this moment when the resources of the region are being strained to the utmost to provide not only new buildings and equipment, but also primary collections of a reasonable standard for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Pasadena Art Museum. What appears to have been

  • Post-Painterly Abstraction

    NOT ONLY IN THE CREATION OF ART has New York proven to be distinctive in recent years but also in the quality of its critics. Such partisans as Clement Greenberg, Thomas Hess and Harold Rosenberg, for example, have thrown a very special quality of illumination onto the New American Painting, so much so, that at times it is difficult to separate our experience of the paintings from the passionate and intense views of these writers. Given Clement Greenberg’s special standing in this respect, any exhibition organized by him is looked forward to with considerable relish, but even more so at this

  • Formal Art

    THE ART OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA is marked by the emergence of three groups of artists who employ means that are distinctly formal in character. They can easily be distinguished; within the first group the connecting link is a notion of style which has been isolated and defined by the Los Angeles art critic, Jules Langsner, as Hard Edge. A recent exhibition organized by Langsner at Newport and titled “California Hard Edge” included Florence Arnold, John Barbour, Larry Bell, Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, June Harwood, Frederick Hammersley, Helen Lundeberg, John McLaughlin and Dorothy Waldman.

  • Re-Discovering Hassel Smith

    ONE COULD POSTULATE A CASE of timing and presentation which would make, for example, Oskar Kokoschka seem a rather indifferent and uninteresting artist, merely by concealing all of his most vital work in the years prior to World War I. Very much this sort of thing has happened to Hassel Smith. Even the briefest glance at his biography would indicate that not only has his work been inadequately presented to the art public, but that the most significant periods have hardly been presented at all. Indeed, it would be difficult to deliberately calculate an exhibition history that would do less justice

  • Five American Sculptors at Pasadena

    THE “NEW” IN THE TITLE OF the Pasadena Art Museum’s exhibition of the five sculptors—Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Edward Higgins, Kenneth Price and H. C. Westermann—is not intended to either disparage or overthrow an earlier generation of American sculptors, but instead to focus attention on a body of the latest work of a younger and newer generation, one that has developed in the last decade. These sculptors are far more acutely atuned to the Abstract Expressionist painters and owe little or nothing to the older generation of American sculptors. Within sculpture, they hark back to a more

  • Art is Love is God

    THE CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLAGE MOVEMENT stems from one artist, Wallace Berman, who in 1947, with very little formal art training began to draw with bizarre, naive and vulgar American surrealist overtones. In these drawings he projected all the underground vernacular of the jazz world and the dope addict, sometimes reconstructing portraits of jazz musicians such as Joe Albany and Charlie Parker or erotic fantasies with overtones of magic realism mixed with bebop and surrealism. In 1949, while working as a laborer with distressing imitation American period furniture, he moved absolutely naturally into

  • DeLap, Space and Illusion

    TONY DELAP’S EXHIBITED WORK over the last few years has consisted of rather small glass-boxed assemblages in shallow relief. Within these works he minimizes attention on the container—later to become one of the most important components of his work—for an imagery consisting of a variety of small objects and cut-outs from printed media mixed with a whole range of ephemeral materials. Manipulated in the abstract-expressionist style reminiscent of de Kooning and Marca-Relli, neither suaveness of handling nor the engaging quality of the materials used could conceal the problematic aspects of this

  • John McLaughlin, Hard Edge and American Painting

    THE PERSISTENT AND STUBBORN PROPAGATION of gestural techniques as the dynamic core of the New American Painting obscures alternative views, for among Gorky, Rothko, Newman, Still and Reinhardt none were committed to the procedural risks of action painting and its identifying marks. At the same time the sudden proliferation and rapid acceptance of Pop Art accompanied by the noticeable decline in the vitality of “Action Painting” in the hands of a younger generation has precipitated in many minds a sense of confusion as to the direction and quality of American painting. McLaughlin’s retrospective

  • Pop Art, USA

    “Pop Art, USA,” the first exhibition to attempt a collective look at the movement in this country, was presented at the Oakland Art Museum during September, 1963. The following essay, by John Coplans, who organized the show, has been pre­pared as the catalog essay for the exhibition.

    ALTHOUGH THIS EXHIBITION is the first to attempt a collective look in considerable depth at Pop Art (as well as those artists who now appear as harbingers of this new art), it has been preceded by a series of important museum exhibitions within the last year that have examined various aspects of this heterogen­eous

  • An Interview with Roy Lichtenstein

    ROY LICHTENSTEIN, BORN 1923 New York City, lives in New Jersey. Studied under Reginald Marsh (1939) at the Art Students League. Ohio State 1940–1943. Served in the armed forces 1943–1946 (Europe). Re­turned to Ohio State 1946 (B.F.A.) and taught there until 1951 (M.F.A. 1949). To Cleveland 1951–1957 paint­ing and making a living at various jobs. 1957–1960 instructor at N.Y. State College of Oswega. Currently teaches at Rutgers University.

    Q. How did you paint prior to your current style?

    A. Mostly reinterpretations of those artists con­cerned with the opening of the West, such as Reming­ton, with

  • Sculpture in California

    SEVERAL EXHIBITIONS over the past year or two, notably the 82nd Annual of the San Francisco Art Institute (at the San Francisco Museum in May, 1963), have called attention to the emergence of a powerful sculptural movement on the West Coast. An image of West Coast sculpture has evolved which represents the first flowering of a variety of loosely-related devel­opments. The Oakland Art Museum’s current exhibi­tion at the Kaiser Center* presents, in a particularly clear and uncluttered form, examples of the most im­portant of these developments and permits the viewer to sort, group and discuss the