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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“We are probably the only artists in the world who have a 2,000-page book on a work of art that doesn’t exist,” said Christo (b. 1935) of collaborating with his late partner Jeanne-Claude. A remarkable thing about the world-famous duo is that many of their fantastical ideas have become realities. Their monumental projects, such as The Gates in Central Park and Wrapped Reichstag, forever changed the world’s view of iconic locales. This success can be attributed, in large part, to that laborious documentation. “These projects reveal their identity through this whole process,” Christo said. “When I’m starting, I only have the slightest idea of how the work of art will exist.” Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s early-career proposal to wrap Rome’s oldest bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo, is captured in this exquisite mixed-media print. It’s a screenprint with fabric, twine, felt pen and graphite. See more works by Christo from the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection below.
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.
The first thing you need to know about Frank Stella‘s (b.1936) Waves series is that the vibrant, mixed-media prints are monumental. Each of them measures at least 6 feet high and over 4 feet wide. The American artist employed a trifecta of printmaking techniques to create them: serigraphy, lithography and linocut. The prints are hand-colored and collaged, ensuring that each one is unique.
Stella created these marvels of post-painterly abstraction over a 12-year period, between 1985 and 1997. His epic endeavor seems quite fitting if you consider his source of inspiration. The Waves series is a tribute to Herman Melville’s seminal Great American Novel Moby-Dick. Stella imagines himself as a stowaway on the whaler ship Pequod, joining the narrator Ishmael to chronicle Captain Ahab’s tumultuous quest for revenge against the elusive white whale Moby Dick. Each print is an abstract summary for one of the book’s 135 chapters—an elemental, topsy turvy impression of life at sea. To hear Stella speak about the series, check out this excerpt from Studio 360’s Modern Icons podcast about Moby-Dick.
Stella was also influenced by abstract expressionism for this series. “This is paying my debt, or not so much paying my debt as expressing my admiration for the abstract generation I grew up with and that I admired the most,” he said of Waves.
Works from the Waves series have passed through the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection before, but this release is truly remarkable. We acquired the mint condition prints from a private collection—including several images that we’ve never had before. They all hail from the same pull, and are a low edition number. We’re offering special pricing and right of first refusal to collectors who are interested in purchasing all six as a set, so make sure to contact us quickly if you’d like to own a piece of artistic—and literary—history.
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.
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.
Christo‘s early education in Soviet Socialist Realism, and his experience fleeing his home as a refugee of political revolution, informed his career’s numerous forays into real-world politics as a primary subject and source of his art making. His 35-year collaboration with the artist Jeanne-Claude, and the large-scale site-specific works they co-authored, stand out as his career’s greatest achievements.
Together, the duo made monumentally-scaled sculptures and installations that often utilized the technique of draping or wrapping large portions of existent landscapes, buildings, and industrial objects with specially engineered fabric. Christo and Jeanne-Claude made works that stand out as some of the most grandiose, ambitious, site-specific art works ever. While they often insisted that the aesthetic properties of their art constituted its primary value, reactions from audiences and critics worldwide have long recognized a broader commentary operating across their work—as exemplified by Christo’s serigraph and photo collage Wrapped Statues, The Glyptothek, Munich, created in the twilight of the Cold War.