pasadena-ca

Jess

Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

“Got Wallace’s Art Forum [sic] (tore out everything else) and made a delightful Berman pamphlet,” reported Jess (né Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California, in 1923) to his lifelong partner, the poet Robert Duncan, in 1966. As curator Ingrid Schaffner notes in her sharply revisionist catalogue essay, the gesture of the artist, an expert bladesman, cut in at least two ways: “It was a tribute to the success of a friend and fellow Californian with whose work Jess’s was identified” and it was a “tacit act of reproach”—not against Berman, “but against the contemporary art world represented by Artforum’s other sixty-one pages of features, criticism, and advertisements that Jess had discarded. Apparently he didn’t consider the rest of the magazine worth cutting up for collage material.”

Frequently, Jess availed himself of printed matter that operated in a gray scale of graphite and fog as well

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