Click image below for more "still life"

Click image below for more "still life"
Francis Cunningham "Three Baldwin Apples" (1964) Oil on linen 5'' x 16''

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Online Exhibition: Francis Cunningham "Male Nude"

This entry idea began with perke's brainstorm for Francis Cunningham's participation in a planned exhibition of four figure painters of the nude at Westbeth in 2011.  Having just posted the entry on the consequences of showing the life-sized painting of Patrick (1973-75) at a New York gallery in 1975, perke suggested that the next show including any nudes might best consist of all male nudes in order to see what the response will be 35 years later to the life-sized male nude.
No decision has yet been made about what will be shown, so we're bringing the nudes from the last several decades together in chronological order for an impromptu online show.

We think the selection of these life-sized male nudes should best be viewed live, but until we have them hanging in a gallery together, we can only indicate the paintings' scale by giving the dimensions.

To paraphrase the Guerrilla Girls, "Do Men have to clothed to enter a gallery?"

To answer to the statistics in the poster by the Guerrilla Girls, yes, Francis Cunningham is a man, but his nudes are equally distributed between the sexes. Please see more on the institutional critique of the Guerrilla Girls on the Brooklyn Museum site here.

See more variety of subjects in human figure category on Francis Cunningham website here.

Patrick (1973-75)
oil on linen
80'' x 44''

Stephen (1983)
oil on linen
60" x 56"

Jeff (with skull) (1985)
oil on linen
66'' x 58''

Tom at Umpachenee Falls (1988)
oil on linen
68" x 84"

In the Woods - Tom Johnson (1988-93)
oil on linen
87'' x 101''

Reaching-Peter (1994-96)
oil on linen
72'' x 48''

On the Beach Tom Johnson (1997)
oil on linen
55" x 70"

Man Walking (1999)
oil on linen
72" x 36"

Resurrection (1999-02)
oil on linen
80'' x 43''

Ramon (2003-04)
oil on linen
105" x 48"

Francis Cunningham - May Exhibition at the Laurel Tracey Gallery in Red Bank NJ

I'd like to invite you to the opening of the artists show I'm part of at the Laurel Tracey Gallery in Red Bank, NJ.  The show will open on May 8th with the reception 6:30-8:30pm. I'll be present at the opening. We'll be showing recent small works. If you're in the New York, New Jersey area and can plan a Saturday trip to Red Bank, please do. Please check for the details below.

Francis Cunningham, May Apple Blossoms, oil on linen.  15 x 20.         

Save the date
Saturday, May 8th 

recent paintings

Arthur Cohen
Francis Cunningham

the Landscape
Cape Cod and the Berkshires

please join us!

Opening reception Saturday May 8th
 6:30 to 8:30 PM

10 White Street

Red Bank NJ 07701
732 224 0760

Gallery Hours
Tue 1-5 PM, Wed - Sat 12-5 PM

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's 1975. "Patrick" and the New York scene.

Today we have a story from 1975, of course from the New York art scene involving Dick's exhibition.  In order to set it against the historical background we go to Wikipedia where we find this handy chart about art movements from the 1950s to 2000s.

We look in the column devoted to the 1970s and find a handy list of hot movements of the time, but not what else artists are doing. Our blog entry halts and we have to find a better source of information on the period. We're interested in the stable of the Castelli Gallery as it is a good measure of what is going on in New York major galleries in that decade than the rather new movements listed on Wikipeidia, and we find the exhibition history on the gallery website.  Here is how 1975 looks at Leo Castelli.
 In short, Castelli is showing abstraction and pop art.  That leads us to assume, perhaps too soon, but our time is limited today, that there is little coverage of the kind of representational painting Dick does.  We make a short stop at Allan Frumkin Gallery, today know as George Adams which is known for representing figurative artists such as Jack Beal and Philip Pearlstein.  Here is a statement from their website.

"REALIST AND FIGURATIVE ART  The gallery has long been known for representing Realist and Figurative artists such as Jack Beal and James Valerio as well as handling works by Alfred Leslie and Philip Pearlstein."

We don't find anything on what the gallery is showing in the 1970s and we move on to the generals.

Another element to the backdrop of what Dick is doing at the time is the photorealist movement beginning late 1960s and early 1970s, a reaction to Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. While the Abstract Expressionists, Minimalists and Photorealists are fighting it out, from what Dick tells us, Philip Pearlstein and Lennart Anderson are painting nudes and showing in New York galleries.

In 1975 Dick has a show in New York which features life-sized figures, including nudes such as "Patrick."

"Patrick" is in the European tradition of the idealized nude- three-dimensional and standing in space- except that he's a particular human being.

Here is the story;

"This painting of "Patrick" was taken down from the walls of a prestigious New York gallery without my knowledge and put in a back room. It was 1975 and the occasion was my third one-man show which, in addition to still-life and landscape, included four life-sized clothed figures and four life-siize nudes.

That Saturday opening I bounded up the stairs to the main second floor gallery to be congratulated, coming down, by the man who had introduced me to the gallery. He never spoke to me again.  On the following Tuesday my sister-in-law saw the show and called, saying that she had seen a man waving a catalogue and wondering where the painting of "Patrick" was? A gallery attendant then ushered him in to a back room, and she followed. 

At the age 44 and in full stride I was still an innocent about the art world. I called Walter Terry, dean of American dance critics and a friend of my wife's and     also myself, and I said, "Walter, what do I do"?  The reply came without hesitation- "go to the gallery and them them either it goes up or the whole show goes down."

I did that.  Well, I brought out the sweat on the gallery owner's upper lip. Not a good sign.  He said the head of a company was coming in to buy a large, million dollar unfinished sketch by Claude Monet of his house-boat, and that the man's wife had died of cancer and that he'd be upset.  The conversation continued on until I said, "Look. When he comes in, detain him on the first floor, take the painting down, and put it up when he leaves."  "Hooray," the dealer said, "Cunningham has got the answer."  A few weeks later the letter came, saying I'd never have a one-man show there again.

When the head of the Brooklyn Museum Art School, where I would teach for 18 years, Augustus Peck, heard about this he said, "You'll get a gallery in New York, but you'll never get a good one." Gus Peck was wrong on one count; I have had no gallery in New York, good or bad.

Why were the powers-that-be-disturbed by a particular, male, human being, nude?  Why are some people still disturbed? Is it the male nude?  Is it the particularity?

Today is not 1975.  We have had far more exposure to the body through television, movies and the performing arts.  We have now reality TV and "The Biggest Looser," where we see 350 or 400 pound bodies, but I suspect we're as much voyeurs now as we were then- afraid of our own bodies, looking at them with something between shame and distrust.  

Let's look at "Patrick" as being ahead of its time in taking up the nude in the classical art form but with the subject, a particular human being.

-Francis Cunningham"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still Life with Basket Gourds and Oranges (1967)

From the figure we're turning to still life, in particular to Still Life with Basket Gourds and Oranges (1967) oil on linen 34 x 40 in. 
In part one of the video Dick talks about the root of painting being a lived experience.

In part two we take up composition on the flat surface and in depth.

In part three we consider light, flatness and space.

...and all of it with a dash of Cezanne and a few others.