los-angeles

Vern Blosum, Zip Code, 1964, oil on canvas, 60 1/4 x 41 3/4".

Vern Blosum

Assembly and Tomwork

Vern Blosum, Zip Code, 1964, oil on canvas, 60 1/4 x 41 3/4".

Between 1961 and 1964, American Pop artist Vern Blosum produced forty-four canvases illustrating flowers, animals, and infrastructural fixtures outside his Manhattan studio. He painted parking meters, fire hydrants, mailboxes, and stop signs in a deadpan illustrational style executed with middling skill. Depicted on white backgrounds and at roughly life size, the objects float in space, looking at once ominous and dumb. The paintings’ starkly lettered captions are hardly illuminating. Appearing beneath an image of an expired parking meter: ZERO MINUTES. Below a mailbox: ZIP CODE. Below a pay phone: TELEPHONE.

Thankfully, there was more to this excavation of artifacts by yet another obscure painter from the 1960s: The works’ interest lies mainly in the fact that “Blosum” was the pseudonym of a second-generation Abstract Expressionist whose identity is still a secret. The elusive

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