During March and April the GEORGE ADAMS GALLERY will present a special exhibition of paintings and constructions by JOAN BROWN (1938-1990) at CB1-G in LOS ANGELES. A survey of eleven self-portraits made between 1970 and 1980, the period during which Brown firmly established herself as an artist with a unique vision, most of the works on view have never been previously shown in Los Angeles.
By the early 1960s Joan Brown was already celebrated for her colorful, heavily impastoed figurative paintings and her work featured in regular exhibitions in galleries and museums across the United States. Yet in 1965, feeling stylistically constrained by her association with the Bay Area Figurative movement, she withdrew from gallery exhibitions and retreated into her studio in order to redefine herself artistically. After a hiatus of several years, Brown reemerged with a highly introspective body of work that focused primarily on the self-portrait, portraying herself as she was: a complicated and at times contradictory set of personas. In these paintings Joan is not only an artist but also a daughter, wife, mother, lover, athlete, dancer, world traveler, and mystic, all subjects she continued to explore until her premature death in 1990.
JOAN BROWN HERSELF begins chronologically with examples of four enamel on masonite paintings from the early 1970s; notably “Christmas Time (Noel and Joan)” (1970) and “Parts of A Woman” (1972). Additional works include two constructions in cardboard and string, “Luxury Liner” and ”The Smoker” (1973) as well as two large-scale canvases, “Woman Waiting in a Theater Lobby” (1975) and “The Kiss” (1976). The exhibition continues chronologically with an example of her late-70s immersion in spirituality, “Cosmic Nurse” (1978), and concludes with “Self-portrait at Age 42” (1980), one of many “birthday” self-portraits she painted over the course of her career.
JOAN BROWN HERSELF will be on view at CB1-G from Saturday, March 12th through Saturday, April 23rd. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 5 or by appointment.
CB1-G (Guest) is a freestanding pop-up venue at the new location, 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., exhibiting solo, two person or group exhibitions of both contemporary and historical art disciplines presented by national and international dealers. CB1-G provides the opportunity for an in-depth, repeat visitor experience to see works of art not regularly seen in Los Angeles.
The below audio tours are courtesy of Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery for their 2015 group exhibition ‘About Face.’
Curator Kristina Kite on Joan Brown’s ‘Summer Solstice’ (1982) and Dianna Molzan’s ‘Untitled’ (2015):
Brian Calvin on Joan Brown’s ‘Self-Portrait at 42’ (1980):
Siobhan McDevitt on Joan Brown’s ‘Family Portrait’ (1981):
Moira Macbuqaire reads Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno, Fragment B in response to Joan Brown:
Matthew Marks is pleased to announce What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to Present, the next exhibition in his three 22nd Street galleries.
Focusing on four groups of artists practicing away from the cultural capitals of New York and Los Angeles, What Nerve! presents an alternative history of American art since the 1960s. As the exhibition’s curator, Dan Nadel, has written, “When confronted with a system that seems impenetrable, outsiders tend to band together.”
The Chicago-based Hairy Who exhibited together from 1966 to 1969. Its members were Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum. Funk Art took root in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s and is represented in the exhibition with works by Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Joan Brown, Roy De Forest, Robert Hudson, Ken Price, Peter Saul, and Peter Voulkos. In Ann Arbor, Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw formed Destroy All Monsters as students in the 1970s. Forcefield members Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, Leif Goldberg, and Ara Peterson, active in Providence from 1996 to 2003, created fictional personas complete with pseudonyms and elaborate garments.
This exhibition reassesses the artists associated with these four groups, providing a new understanding of their influence on contemporary art history. Distinct as their artworks are in style, period, and place, the artists all share a common set of concerns. Inspired by a wide array of influences including folk art, advertising, primitive art, comic books, and fetishism, they all favor figurative imagery that diverges from the predominant artistic style of the time.
The groups presented here emerged from close collaboration and, in the case of Destroy All Monsters and Forcefield, experimental living arrangements. All of them embrace alternate aesthetics and unconventional media. Lawn chairs, purses, comic books, chain metal shrouds, and a video installation join rarely seen paintings and drawings.
The Collected Hairy Who Publications 1966 – 1969, the first book to gather the artist’s books of the Chicago-based Hairy Who into a single volume, will be published on the occasion of the exhibition. Accompanying it are a scholarly essay and an extensive archive of Hairy Who posters, exhibition photographs, and ephemera.
A version of the exhibition was presented last fall at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI, which was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with texts by Dan Nadel, Robert Cozzolino, Brian Chippendale, Dominic Molon, Roger Brown, John Smith, Naomi Fry, Michael Rooks, Nicole Rudick, and Judith Tannenbaum.
What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to Present will be on view at 502, 522, and 526 West 22nd Street from July 8 through August 14, 2015, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
A post on the SFMOMA Blog has unearthed gallery announcements from the legendary Six Gallery (1954–57), founded by artists Wally Hedrick, Hayward King, Deborah Remington, and David Simpson, and poets John Allen Ryan and Jack Spicer. Joan Brown (b. Joan Beatty)’s announcement from an early show with fellow painter Mike Nathan are among the ephemera posted.