los-angeles

Norman Zammitt, Diagonal 1, 1979, acrylic on canvas board, 9 x 12".

Norman Zammitt

Carter & Citizen

Norman Zammitt, Diagonal 1, 1979, acrylic on canvas board, 9 x 12".

Here’s a telling anecdote about Norman Zammitt’s large-scale paintings: His monumental North Wall, 1977, which featured prominently in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s “Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970,” was found displayed not on the walls but on the ceiling of its owners’ bedroom when it was tracked down by the show’s curators for their 2011–12 exhibition. The painting’s horizontal installation was ostensibly necessitated by its monumental size—eight by fourteen feet. But the decorative appeal of Zammitt’s big striped paintings (the very quality that might inspire a collector to mount one on the ceiling) may also explain why the late artist is so little known outside Los Angeles: His large works can veer uncomfortably close to ’70s-style interior design.

The recent exhibition of Zammitt’s small paintings at LA’s Carter & Citizen gallery

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.