LORETTA HOWARD GALLERY: THE ART OF THE SIXTIES

by leslierankowfinearts

 

Loretta Howard

ONE OF THE MARKERS OF THIS EXPANSIVE ART MARKET IS THE RENEWED INTEREST ON THE PART OF COLLECTORS, DEALERS, AUCTION HOUSES AND MUSEUMS IN LOOKING BACK IN TIME TO DIFFERENT PERIODS OF ART BY ARTISTS WHO WERE PREVIOUSLY OVERLOOKED.  ARTISTS OF THE 1950s AND 1960s WHO MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PERIOD BUT ARE LESSER KNOWN HAVE BECOME A FOCUS OF ATTENTION. LORETTA HOWARD IS A VITAL CATALYST IN THIS PROCESS, HER GALLERY EXPLORING AND EXHIBITING THE WORKS OF MID-TO LATE 20th CENTURY AMERICAN PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS. LORETTA IS AN EXPERT IN THE ART OF THE 60s, AN AREA OF COLLECTING THAT HAS GAINED SIGNIFICANT PROMINENCE IN THE ART MARKET IN THE LAST DECADE. THE GALLERY NOT ONLY HIGHLIGHTS THESE ARTISTS IN BEAUTIFULLY CURATED INDIVIDUAL SHOWS BUT ALSO OFFERS THE PUBLIC THOUGHTFUL AND ENGAGING THEMATIC EXHIBITIONS THAT ENRICH OUR UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH THE INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS AND THE PERIOD IN WHICH THEY WORKED. MOVEMENTS REPRESENTED BY THE GALLERY INCLUDE THE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST MOVEMENT OF THE 50s, PIONEERED BY LEGENDARY ARTISTIC HEROES AS JACKSON POLLACK, CLYFFORD STILL AND WILLEM DE KOONING,  A VISUAL METAPHOR FOR A PERIOD OF AMERICAN EXPANSION AND TRIUMPH FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II THAT ENCOURAGED A PARALLEL BURST OF EXPRESSIVE, DARING ART,  MONUMENTAL IN SCALE AND SPIRIT AND THE COLOR FIELD MOVEMENT, A GROUP EXEMPLIFIED BY SUCH ARTISTS AS MORRIS LOUIS AND HELEN FRANKENTHALER, THAT REPRESENTS A RESPONSE TO THE AESTHETIC PRINCIPLES OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM AND IS CHARACTERIZED BY THE BEAUTY OF THE PALETTE AND THE INSISTENCE THAT THE CANVAS BE PRESENTED AS TWO-DIMENSIONAL AND NON-ILLUSIONARY.

ORIGINALLY LOCATED ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE, THE GALLERY  IS NOW IN THE ART HEARTLAND OF  CHELSEA AT 526 WEST 26TH STREET IN A WONDERFUL LIGHT-FILLED SPACE THAT LENDS ITSELF TO BOTH INDIVIDUAL AND THEMATIC EXHIBITIONS. http://www.lorettahoward.com/

LORETTA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

WHO ARE THE ARTISTS WHO REPRESENT THE SIXTIES? CERTAINLY SOME ARE SECOND-GENERATION ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTS WHO FOLLOWED IN THE GREAT 50s LEGACY OF WILLEM DE KOONING AND JACKSON POLLOCK. OTHERS ARE GROUPED AS COLOR FIELD PAINTERS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TWO AREAS AESTHETICALLY AND WHAT ARTISTS ARE MOST PROMINENT?

The gallery specializes in artists who came to prominence in the 1950’s and 1960s. They can be grouped into a number of stylistic branches: Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Minimal and Optical art. What makes the 1960s  an interesting moment is that many important movements burst forth almost simultaneously. We start with Abstract Expressionism which was well established in the 1950s: the gallery shows works by Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell and has represented the estates of Norman Bluhm and the female Abstract expressionism Shirley Goldfarb (all on view currently). Next we have Second Generation Abstract Expressionism which includes Color Field painters like Helen Frankenthaler, Friedel Dzubas, Morris Louis, Larry Poons and Jules Olitski. These are artists I have worked with since my days at the Andre Emmerich Gallery.  Pop Art sprang up at the same moment as a reaction against the seriousness and pretentions of the Expressionists. Minimalism emerged in an effort to reduce and synthesize what is essential in art.  The gallery deals with this movement as exemplified in the sculpture of Ronald Bladen who we represent.  Op Art was another 1960’s sensation which grew simultaneous to new technology and psycodellia of the era as identified in the 1964 MoMA exhibition “The Responsive Eye.” We represent the Op Artists Richard Anuskiewicz and Francis Celantano.

Ron Bladen The X (Garden scale), 1965 Painted aluminum

Ron Bladen
The X (Garden scale), 1965
Painted aluminum

 

Ronald Bladen (1918-1988) is considered one of the founders of Minimalism, but he was also a self-proclaimed romantic. His interest in monumental scale and simple form was
less a product of conceptual reductionism, but rather, an interest in the drama which such forms inspire. His work seeks “presence,” and its solidity and simplicity was intended
to reinforce its stature, to stabilize and ground itself as the viewer shifts position. Bladen’s work was included in several seminal exhibitions in the 1960’s, including “Primary Structures”
at the Jewish Museum in 1966, “Scale as Content” at the Corcoran Gallery of art in 1967. He was the subject of a major retrospective at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1999.
 
 

HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO ART AND WHAT LED YOU TO PURSUE AN ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL CAREER IN THE ARTS?

I grew up in Manhattan and remember going to the Whitey and MoMA on a fairly regular basis as a child. I loved returning to the mystery and beauty of Edward Hopper and I will never forget the DaDa show at MoMA with Meret Oppenheim’s fur cup. I committed fully to art history when Rome swept me off my feet during my junior year at Amherst. Eventually I went on to graduate school at the Institute of Fine Arts. I realized how much I had to learn. The most wonderful part of graduate school was not necessarily focusing on modern art, but being exposed to Chinese, Egyptian and Architectural History.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB AND IN WHAT WAY DID IT INFLUENCE YOUR TASTE AND THINKING?

My first job in the art world was working for Dick Solomon of Pace Prints. Dick was on many boards and foundations and routinely produced long written documents. It was up to me to type these many pages on an IBM Selectric. I was lousy at it. The belabored result was so thick with corrections and white out that it would crack if folded. Disastrous. I moved on and luckily Dick and I still laugh about it.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, LORETTA WILL DISCUSS THE INFLUENCE AND IMPORTANCE OF HER EXPERIENCE WITH ANDRE EMMERICH, AN IMMINENT DEALER WHO WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO CHAMPION THE ART OF THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES. PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LORETTA’S EXPERTISE AND POSE ANY QUESTIONS OF THIS PERIOD AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND MARKET.

UNTIL NEXT TIME..