As an avid environmentalist, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) designed the first Earth Day poster to benefit the American Environment Foundation in Washington, D.C. in 1970. Twenty years later, Rauschenberg created this color silkscreen and color pochoir on wove paper to celebrate the success of the 1990 Earth Day, which had 200 million participants.
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“Believe it or not, I can actually draw,” said Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988). After establishing himself as a musician, poet, and graffiti artist by the time he was 20, Basquiat debuted his paintings to critical acclaim in a group exhibition sponsored by Colab and Fashion Moda. He would have his first solo show a year later, which launched a prolific but tragically short career.
The artist’s signature, scrawling painting style often commented on systematic racism, class struggle, and power structures. Basquiat’s neo-expressionist paintings have been exhibited internationally since his death, often selling in the millions. In fact, the image from his 24-color screen print Flexible also appears in a 1984 painting that sold for $45.3 million at Phillips earlier this year. Look below to learn more about the print, which is new to our collection.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Flexible,
24-color screenprint, 60.25 x 45.5 in, 2016
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“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment,” said Sam Francis (1923-1994). The abstract expressionist master is best known for paintings that show multicolored abstract splatters between luminous fields of white. “Containment” isn’t the first word you might use to describe these exuberant artworks that are devoid of hard edges. However, much like Jackson Pollock, Francis was actually exercising precise control in the creation of his work. Though Francis’s bright pigments are focal points, he knew that negative space was his most important compositional tool. These new prints in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection are dazzling examples of his signature aesthetic.
“Very quickly, a painting is turned into a facsimile of itself,” said Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). “One becomes so familiar with it that one recognizes it without looking at it.” He could’ve been talking about Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which makes a cameo in his 1996 intaglio printBanco, from Ground Rules. The portrait is so rooted in the modern cultural consciousness that we can instantly conjure it in our mind’s eye.
Thus, it’s a perfect tool for exploring the concept of authorship: the painting appears next to a window emblazoned with the words “YOUR NAME HERE.” By presenting the world’s most iconic painting beside advertising lingo, the postmodern master asks whether true ownership of an image is possible in the age of mass media. Learn more about the print below, and browse more works by Rauschenberg.
Lovers of beautiful books, rejoice! Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is now an official seller of TASCHEN Books, the revolutionary German imprint that deserves its own art museum. TASCHEN has collaborated with the likes of David Hockney, Christo & Jeanne-Claude and Beatriz Milhazes to produce limited edition books that are true works of art. We’re particularly excited about their new title Murals of Tibet, an epic chronicle of some of the greatest treasures of Buddhist culture and Tibetan heritage.
For more than a decade, photographer Thomas Laird traveled the length, breadth, and far-flung corners of Tibet’s plateau to capture the land’s spectacular Buddhist murals. Deploying new multi-image digital photography, Laird compiled the world’s first archive of these artworks, some walls as wide as 10 meters, in life-size resolution. In recognition of this World Heritage landmark and preservation of Tibetan culture, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has signed all copies of this Collector’s Edition. As pictured, Murals of Tibetcomes with a stand designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian pioneer Shigeru Ban.
Click the images below to view more books from TASCHEN, now available from Zane Bennett Contemporary Art. Browse all of our TASCHEN titles and other books in our online shop.
Judy Chicago is having a moment. In the past few months, she’s been featured in an Artsy podcast, profiled in an article for W Magazine, and hailed as “The Godmother” in a recent piece by New York Times Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Once your eye is trained to see Chicago’s imprint, it is everywhere, and unmistakable. It’s in Petra Collins’s menstruation-positive T-shirts; in the forthcoming installation on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. by Zoe Buckman of a huge uterus drawn in neon tubing crowned with boxing gloves; in the pink “pussy hats” that are worn in opposition to Trump’s election. Images like these — symbolically overt, politically and anatomically in-your-face, forcing a public confrontation with sexism — are all descended from Chicago’s imagination.
Another article that appeared in the New York Times a few days ago analyzed the tumultuous legacy of critical perspectives on Chicago’s most iconic work, The Dinner Party:
[Chicago] said that despite the art media’s early disparagement of her work, her way of overcoming the disappointment was to go into her studio and continue making art. She found a supportive community in Southern California’s Ferus boys, notably the American artist and sculptor Billy Al Bengston, from whom she said she learned quite a bit. “Early on, he told me: ‘Never read reviews. Just count the column inches and the number of pictures,’ advice I heeded for many years. And given the vicissitudes of my career, it was really good advice.”
Chicago’s fiery feminist statement on the rebirth of humanity, Birth Tear / Tear, appeared at our sister gallery form & concept when Chicago visited last February. Watch our Q&A with her here, and inquire about the piece below.
Donald Sultan (b. 1951) emerged as a master of the New Image movement in the 1970’s, producing elegant, minimalist imagery using industrial materials that were decidedly postminimal. Abstracted blooms are an iconic motif in his work. The new screen print in our collection offers a prime example of Sultan’s style, characterized by stark, black forms amid vibrant fields of color. In the print, tar and flocking enhance the dark fields, transforming them into infinite chasms with powerful visual gravity.
Scroll down to view our new Sultan screen print—along with a full bouquet of the artist’s flower compositions—in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection, and click here to browse all available works.
Add a piece of art history to your walls this winter! There’s a new Special Offerssection on the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art website, featuring exceptional pricing on works by legendary artists. Scroll down to view prints by Pop Art icons and Pop-inspired artists from the new collection, and make sure to bookmark the Special Offers page for future additions.
“I thinkthat if you can turn off the mind and look only with the eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015).Kelly’s abstraction is rooted in the real world.His strong sense of form and color has often been tied to his time in the military, affinity for bird watching, and observations of nature. Although simplistic in imagery, Kelly’s work holds a certain tension.“I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity, a sense of opposing the chaos of daily living,” said Kelly. “This an illusion, of course. Canvas rots. Paint changes color. In a sense, what I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture ofseeing.”
Kelly was a pioneer of Color Field painting and minimalism whose influence extends across the second half the 20th century to the present.This is exemplified by the story behind Kelly’s Untitled (1983), a hand-signed lithograph that was included in the Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary suite. The portfolio features artwork by eight prominent artists, and was used as a fundraising vehicle for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The artists who participated were Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol. This iconic collection is a testament to the cultural milieu of the United States in the 1980’s. This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of this illustrious history.
“All our projects are like fabulous expeditions,” said Christo (b.1935). “The story of each project is unique. Our projects have no precedent.” It’s a bold statement to make, but hard to deny when you look at the staggering output of Christo and his late, great partner Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). Starting in the early 1960’s, they set out to wrap the world in flowing cloth. They’ve managed to cover quite a lot of ground since then, from Central Park to the Reichstag. Three new prints in our collection depict wrapped objects that are not monumental in size—but just as culturally significant. Wrapped Telephone shows an L.M. Ericsson design that’s iconic of early 20th century communication. Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar and Wrapped Automobile capture two symbols of freewheeling American innnovation. Both of the new prints come with complimentary gifts, pictured below. It’s a unique opportunity to “unwrap” a Christo this holiday season.
You might say that Pop artist Robert Indiana (b. 1928) lived the American Dream. Throughout the artist’s early childhood in Indiana, his family lived in poverty. They moved 21 times before Indiana turned 17, and his mother worked as a waitress in greasy spoon diners to make ends meet. Flash forward to the late 1950’s, and Indiana was a 20-something living in New York City and cavorting with the likes of Andy Warhol and Wynn Chamberlain. His hard-edged oil compositions bearing bright colors, provocative phrases and culturally significant numbers had caught the eye of the contemporary art world. In 1965, Indiana designed a Christmas card for MoMA featuring scarlet, stacked letters that spelled out “LOVE.” It would become his most iconic image, landing on a USPS postage stamp in 1973.
A few years before he created the LOVE image, Indiana looked back on his path to success with the first painting in his American Dream series. The same composition appears in Indiana’s 1997 serigraph Tilt from The American Dream, which is new to the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. In the image, highly personal symbolism mingles with universal markers of Americanism.
The circles and stars that appear throughout the piece riff on advertising aesthetics of the period. In the black and yellow circle at top left, the numbers reference highways he roamed as a young man (including Route 66). The phrases “TAKE ALL” and “THE AMERICAN DREAM” represent an industrious but viciously competitive national ethos. In the bottom left circle, the word “TILT” evokes the pinball machines that Indiana encountered in the diners where his mother worked, and later in dive bars that he frequented. When paired with the other words in the tableau, “TILT” throws the egalitarian premise of The American Dream into question. This was the first of nine images in the American Dream series, created between 1961 and 2001. Tilt from the American Dream represents of Indiana’s epic, career-spanning exploration of the promises and pitfalls of American idealism.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is having a moment—though you could argue that the postmodern provocateur has been en mode since the midcentury. In any case, the Museum of Modern Art’s blockbuster survey show Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends recently closed in New York, and SFMOMA’s manifestation of the exhibition opens in late November. The new show is titled Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, a reference to the artist’s legendary erasure of a Willem De Kooning drawing in the name of art. It was a seminal moment in his early career, but hardly characteristic of the work he would produce in the following decades.
Rauschenberg was a master of addition rather than subtraction, fearlessly layering a vast arsenal of bizarre materials to create sculptural paintings, painted sculptures and three-dimensional drawings that he referred to as “Combines.” Cock Sure, a mixed-media print that he produced with Pace in the 1990’s, represents a late chapter of his persistent experimentation. “Cock Sure is an extension of his curiosity, applying paint directly onto the glass surface, increasing the depth of the work so that it became three-dimensional,” wrote Art Daily. “The work is characteristically by Rauschenberg as seen through the inclusion of everyday images: an open sign, chickens, a windmill, and a dog resting by a brick wall.” Scroll down to view more works by Rauschenberg in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum VIII
22.5 x 15.5 in
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum V
color silkscreen with hand-coloring and collage on paper
22.5 x 15.5 in
“My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates. They’re not nature per se, but a feeling,” said Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011). A second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s, initially influenced by artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky. She gained prominence with her invention of the color-stain technique—applying thin washes of paint to unprimed canvas—in her iconic Mountains and Sea (1952).
Frankenthaler’s works balance abstraction with elements of landscape and figuration, as seen in her 1987 lithograph Yellow Jack. The work transports the viewer to a calm seashore—or perhaps a cool desert—after dusk, with the rising moon’s bright yellow light bleeding from the composition’s edges. “This complicated relationship to landscape presents a constant tension in her art,” notes the Clark Art Institute in the exhibition materials for their current show, As In Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings. “[Her works] are primarily abstract, yet reveal recognizable elements from the landscape that function, paradoxically, to reinforce their abstraction: as in nature, but not as in nature.”
Image: Helen Frankenthaler, Yellow Jack, 1987, lithograph, 30 x 36 in.