Oranges and Sardines Artist Talk



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Oranges and Sardines at the Hammer Museum
The title for the exhibition is borrowed from American poet Frank O’Hara’s poem Why I Am Not a Painter, which reflects on the elusiveness of the creative process, often resulting in a finished work that bears no resemblance to its initial inspiration. Oranges and Sardines hopes to offer manifold examples of abstraction’s inventive potential and will suggest varied reasons why it remains vital and essential to contemporary art. Similarly, the works of the six artists who have developed the exhibition may be viewed with more complex appreciation and more insightful understanding.

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Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman’s canvases offer glimpses into a subliminal world. Strangely intimate, her abstractions negotiate a space of both ideas and feelings, inflected with an emotional empathy.

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Charline von Heyl
Charline von Heyl's paintings reveal a unique language developed in the face of information streams and image overload.

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Mark Grotjahn
Drawing influence from both modernist abstraction and pop culture, Mark Grotjahn’s paintings are intimate seductions, slipping between hard-edged design and emotive expression

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Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky
Originally published in 1911, Kandinsky compares the spiritual life of humanity to a large triangle similar to a pyramid; the artist has the task and the mission of leading others to the top by the exercise of his talent. The point of the triangle is constituted only by some individuals who bring the sublime bread to other people. It is a spiritual triangle which moves forward and rises slowly, even if it sometimes remains immobile. During decadent periods, souls fall to the bottom of the Triangle and men only search for the external success and ignore purely spiritual forces.

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Mary Heilmann
Heilmann’s work has been deeply influenced by her personal experiences, including a childhood and adolescence split between Los Angeles-area beaches and Bay Area beatnik clubs. The impact of this thoroughly West Coast childhood is seen in the vibrant, lusty color palette, sense of boundless possibility, and experimentation for which Heilmann’s paintings are known.

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Peter Voulkos
Peter Voulkos (January 29, 1924 – 2002) popular name of Panagiotis Voulkos, was an American artist of Greek descent. He is known for his Abstract Expressionist ceramic sculptures, which crossed the traditional divide between ceramic crafts and fine art.

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David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, although he also maintains a base in London. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century. His older sister who lives in Yorkshire, Margaret Hockney, is also an artist of still-life photos.

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Robert Smithson
Smithson is most well known for his provocative earthwork, the Spiral Jetty, made in 1970. He gained international recognition for his groundbreaking art which was not limited by genre or materials as well as for his critical writings that challenged traditional categories of art between the years of 1964-1973. His art and writings have had a profound impact on sculpture and art theory for over thirty years.

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Christopher Wool
Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases. However, Wool possesses a wide range of style – using a combined array of painterly techniques, including spray paint, silkscreen, and hand painting. Wool provides tension between painting and erasing, gesture and removal, depth and flatness.

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New York Studio School
The New York Studio School is committed to giving a significant education to the aspiring artist that can last a lifetime. We aim to reveal appropriate questions about drawing, painting and sculpture rather than give facile answers. Students are encouraged to work hard and think rigorously until it becomes a natural trait. They learn to construct their own ethical and philosophical framework for their life's work.

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Wade Guyton
Wade Guyton is the perfect artist for these nightmarish times. He makes black monochromes using a large format Epson printer; the “paintings” are printed on pre-primed linen. In order to fit the linen into the printer, which is forty-four inches wide, the linen is folded, resulting in a thin, irregular, white space (or “line”) dividing the “painting” into two, slightly different halves. The repeated overprinting causes slight ocular shifts. All ten paintings in this exhibition are the same size, untitled, and nine of them are black.

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Dan Flavin
Flavin's early use of fluorescent light is represented in this exhibition by untitled (1962), the final working drawing for icon IV (the pure land) (to David John Flavin [1933-1962]). This drawing documents one of a group of "electric light 'icons'" that Flavin made in the early 1960s. These icons, made from boxes that hang on the wall with attached electric lights, mark his rejection of an earlier gestural style in order to develop an art—now considered a cornerstone of Minimalism—that uses standard fluorescent lights in simple, matter-of-fact presentations.

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Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz (Latvian: Marks Rotko; September 25, 1903–February 25, 1970), was a Latvian-born American painter and printmaker. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted the classification as an "abstract painter".

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The Abstract Sublime
Abstract Sublime. A term coined c. 1960 by the American art historian Robert Rosenblum (1927–  ) to characterize the feelings of vastness and solitude suggested by certain Abstract Expressionist paintings, for example those of Newman, Rothko, and Still.

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Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman (January 29 1905 – July 4 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.

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Dieter Roth
Dieter Roth (April 21, 1930 - June 5, 1998) was a Swiss-German artist best known for his artist's books and for his sculptures and pictures made with rotting food stuffs. He was also known as Dieter Rot and Diter Rot.

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Philip Guston
Philip Guston 1913-80, American painter, b. Montreal. Guston emigrated to the United States in 1916. His earliest role models as an artist were such Mexican muralists as José Orozco and David Siqueiros ; he later made nonobjective murals with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning . His sensitivity to the relationships of masses of color on canvas caused some critics to call him an "abstract impressionist." He was, however, intimately associated with abstract expressionism , and during the 1950s and 60s painted some of the most lyrical works connected with that movement.

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Clement Greenberg
Influential twentieth century art critic, best known for his promotion and defense of abstract expressionism. In "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" (1939) he somewhat paradoxically combined his socialist convictions with a defense of avant-garde, abstract, "non-objective" painting and poetry, even while admitting that this art appealed to a small and shrinking elite, members of the ruling class, on whose money the avant-garde depended for its survival.

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Frank O'Hara
Urbane, ironic, sometimes genuinely celebratory and often wildly funny, O'Hara would allow a realm of material and associations alien to academic verse to pour into his poems: the camp icons of movie stars of the twenties and thirties, the daily landscape of social activity in Manhattan, jazz music, telephone calls from friends; anything seemed ready material for inclusion into the particular order that the moment of composition would call for.

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Raymond Chandler- The Simple Art of Murder
"The Simple Art of Murder" refers to both a critical essay and a collection of short stories written by hard-boiled detective fiction author Raymond Chandler. The essay was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in December 1944. It was reprinted in 1950 by Houghton Mifflin along with eight of Chandler's early stories pre-dating his first novel, The Big Sleep

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Michael Fried
Michael Fried is a poet, art historian, art critic, and literary critic.

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Curator Gary Garrels in conversation with artists Mark Grotjahn, Wade Guyton, Mary Heilmann, Amy Sillman, Charline von Heyl, and Christopher Wool.

I enjoyed this Talk. Especially the discussion of the sublime and also the approachable stance of the verbal expressions of the panel! I could listen to Mary Heilmann all day. Amy Sillman brings up a good point about Atists looking and/or not looking for a new King as a Critic. The talk also brings up some great names to look up! Now onto the "Oranges and Sardines" walkthorough video!!

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