EVENT: Joan Brown talk with Jeff Gunderson, SFMOMA, April 20, 6-7:30pm

Please join us! Jeff Gunderson, archivist and special collections librarian of the San Francisco Art Institute, will give a talk titled “Joan Brown and Elmer Bischoff” on April 20th as part of SFMOMA’s Meeting of the Minds series.

MEETING OF THE MINDS: Joan Brown and Elmer Bischoff

by Jeff Gunderson

Thursday, April 20, 2017
6–7:30 p.m.

Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box, Floor 4, SFMOMA

From SFMOMA’s website:

Inspired by the exhibition Matisse/Diebenkorn, this series of talks examines artistic influence and aesthetic affinities between pairs of artists. Whether separated by time and place or through close personal relationships, this class highlights the ways in which artists gain inspiration from one another. Curators and scholars share stories, observations, and insights with participants as they draw connections between artworks and invite closer inspection of pieces both familiar and new. Participants will spend time in the galleries as part of this class.

Jeff Gunderson:

Jeff Gunderson has been the Librarian and Archivist at the Anne Bremer Memorial Library of the San Francisco Art Institute since 1981. Gunderson is the author of the title essay for The Moment of Seeing: Minor White and the California School of Fine Arts, (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2006) and “A Combination of Accidents:  The San Francisco Art Scene in the 1940s,” published in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:  75 Years of Looking Forward (San Francisco:  SFMMA, 2010) which won the Art Librarian’s Society Worldwide Books Award for 2010. His introductory essay to Black Power/Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch was published in September, 2012 by the Pirkle Jones Trust. He is currently working on a collection of essays about open water swimming.

FINAL DAYS: “Rat Bastard Protective Association” through January 7, 2017

Visit the Landing Gallery’s exhibition Rat Bastard Protective Association while you still can! Curated by Anastasia Aukeman, the show runs through January 7th, 2017. 

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Listen to KCRW’s episode Rat Bastard Protective Association and Jay Defeo on their segment KCRW’s Best of 2016: Art Talk (10 November 2016).

Or, read about the show here and here


Joan Brown on view in Paris, FINAL DAY

Tajan ArtStudio présents Over the Golden gate 1960-1990, October 20th-28th, 2016

“The Tajan Artstudio Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition presenting the creation from San Francisco and the Bay Area. The exhibition called “Over the Golden gate, 1960-1990″, which features 8 famous painters from this movement, will be on view from October 20th through October 28th. Tajan ArtStudio presents artists from different cultures, often giving them international exposure, even before they are fully appreciated in their own countries. In October, we have decided to host an important exhibition entitled “Over the Golden Gate, 1960-1990” which will honor major artists active during this period in San Francisco and the Bay area. This exhibition will follow the current successful exhibition at Centre Pompidou “The Beat Generation” and will attempt to add a strong visual element to a more conceptual approach. It will emphasize and strengthen in France and Europe the visibility and public awareness of this important American artistic movement. 

We will be presenting in our beautiful Art Nouveau space in the heart of Paris, artists such as Robert Arneson , Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Roy Deforest, Peter Saul , Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley.”

Joan Brown in Rat Bastard Protective Association, the Landing Gallery, LA, through Jan. 7, 2017

curated by Anastasia Aukeman
October 1, 2016 – January 7, 2017
Opening reception and book signing: Saturday, October 1, 5-8pm

Aukeman’s new book, Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association (University of California Press, 2016), will be available for purchase at the gallery. A signing will take place at the opening reception.

RBPA stamp.jpeg

The Landing is pleased to present The Rat Bastard Protective Association, a group exhibition organized by Dr. Anastasia
Aukeman, author of Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association (University of California Press, 2016). Through nearly 50 works by 12 artists, the exhibition documents the activities and artistic production of the Rat Bastard Protective Association (RBPA), an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked together in a building they dubbed “Painterland” in the Fillmore neighborhood of mid-century San Francisco. This will be the first exhibition of the RBPA since 1958, when the group led a parade to their exhibition at the Spatsa Gallery on Filbert Street in San Francisco.

Eager to consolidate his inclusion in the artistic community in and around 2322 Fillmore Street, or “Painterland,” when he arrived in San Francisco in September 1957, Bruce Conner placed himself firmly at the center of the cohort by forming the Rat Bastard Protective Association and naming himself its president. Conner derived the name by combining the name of a San Francisco trash collection company, the Scavengers Protective Association, with a slur picked up at the gym. The artists and poets who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—these included Wallace Berman, Robert Branaman, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jean Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, Alvin Light, Michael McClure, Manuel Neri, and Carlos Villa—all exhibited a unique fusion of radicalism, provocation, and community.

The art practices of these Northern California artists in the late 1950s and early 1960s animated broader social and artistic discussions throughout the United States and carved out an important place for West Coast activities for decades to come. The show’s success in demonstrating the importance of this cohort depends on the generosity of the estates and institutions lending works to the exhibition, including: The Conner Family Trust, The Jay DeFeo Foundation, the di Rosa Collection, The estate of Wally Hedrick, the estate of Alvin Light, and the San Francisco History Center at the San Francisco Public Library.

Dr. Anastasia Aukeman is an art historian, curator (formerly of Artists Space and in the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art), and professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Off-site programming during the exhibition (dates to be announced) will include a program of Beat-Era films: featuring work by Paul Beattie, Robert Branaman, and Lawrence Jordan, as well as a staged reading of Michael McClure’s controversial and Obie award-winning 1965 play, The Beard.

stamp created by Bruce Conner, ca. 1957– 58. © Conner Family Trust / Artists Rights Society


Joan Brown in the exhibition “Berkeley Eye: Perspectives on the Collection” at BAMPFA, through Dec. 11

Two Joan Brown works , “Fur Rat” 1962 and “Dog Watching Moon” 1960, are currently on view at the UC Berkeley Art Museum in the exhibition “Berkeley Eye: Perspectives on the Collection,” through December 11th.

Press Release:



July 13December 11, 2016

The University of California, Berkeley began collecting art shortly after its founding in 1868. Bacon Hall Library and Art Museum opened on campus in 1881 and several of the works donated to the University on this occasion form the historic heart of BAMPFA’s collection, making it one of the oldest art museums on the West Coast. Although a number of significant works were purchased, most have been acquired as gifts from generous donors, including many prominent artists.

Art that activates the senses to stimulate the sixth sense—the mind.

The scope of the collection has always been broad, including works dating back to the Renaissance in the West and—since we began collecting Asian art in 1919—to the Neolithic period in China. Currently, BAMPFA holds approximately 19,000 works of art. Through exhibiting these works, BAMPFA aims to provide new perspectives both onto worlds beyond Berkeley and into the interior worlds of individual viewers.

Berkeley Eye: Perspectives on the Collection focuses on art that activates the senses to stimulate the sixth sense—the mind. The works are presented in eight thematic groupings to be experienced and enjoyed in no particular order, according to the interests of individual viewers: Bible Stories; Nature; Human Nature; Barriers & Walls; Connection & Change; Space, Time, Energy; Black, White, Gray; and Into the Light. The exhibition invites repeat viewings, in part because a number of light-sensitive works will be rotated on November 2.

Joan Brown in “As I Am” opens Feb. 4

As I Am: Painting the Figure in Post-War San Francisco

Curated by Francis Mill and Michael Hackett

O P E N I N G R E C E P T I O N: February 4, 2016, 6-8pm

E X H I B I T I O N D A T E S: February 4 – March 13, 2016

L O C A T I O N: New York Studio School, 8 W 8th St., New York, NY 10011

T R A V E L I N G: to Hackett Mill, San Francisco, April 7 – May 27, 2016

Hackett | Mill presents As I Am: Painting the Figure in Post-War San Francisco the first major survey in New York of 24 artworks by the founding members of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. Artists included are David Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn, as well as Joan Brown, William Theophilus Brown, Frank Lobdell, Manuel Neri, Nathan Oliveira, James Weeks and Paul Wonner. The exhibition will be presented at the New York Studio School, the original site of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and will examine the time period of 1950-1965, when a group of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area decided to pursue figurative painting during the height of Abstract Expressionism.

San Francisco was the regional center for a group of artists who were working in a style sufficiently independent from the New York School, and can be credited with having forged a distinct variant on what was the first American style to have international importance. The Bay Area Figurative movement, which grew out of and was in reaction to both West Coast and East Coast varieties of Abstract Expressionism, was a local phenomenon and yet was responsive to the most topical national tendencies. Many artists on both coasts, distressed by the rapid degeneration of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, sought to infuse fresh meaning into their work by exploring an alternative trajectory from abstraction back to figuration. But it was only in San Francisco that this enterprise took on the characteristics of a coherent movement, most notably led by the work of artist David Park, who in the words of Roberta Smith, art critic for the New York Times, “could do with another New York retrospective. He’s the kind of artist who can light a fire under a young artist and also teach the public a great deal about looking at painting, a skill we seem to be in danger of losing.”

The new figurative works created by the Bay Area artists were neither reactionary nor merely illustrational—instead they were rooted in the affectionate scenes of everyday life. Returning to recognizable subject matter after a period of abstraction allowed these artists to celebrate the simple, everyday activities and objects of human life, and to restore a level of intimacy to American painting. The paintings in As I Am show the artists idealizing the beauty of the familiar while incorporating aspects of Abstract Expressionism, including strong gesture and visceral paint application.

In As I Am we invite you to visit and participate in looking at a sophisticated dialogue between abstraction and representation—images oscillating between recognizable subjects and boldly colored, abstract arrangements of paint.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the New York Studio School will host a lecture with Nancy Boas, author of David Park, A Painter’s Life on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 6:30pm. Additionally, during the Armory Modern fair in March 2016, there will be a VIP tour of the exhibition on Friday, March 4, 2016. An exhibition catalogue will also be available featuring an essay by Nancy Boas.

Shortly after the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s planned grand opening in 2016, the museum will show the first David Park retrospective in three decades with the exact dates of the exhibition to be announced. David Park’s last museum retrospective was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988.