September 14, 2012
Press Release - Billy Al Bengston "It Hit The Fan"

It Hit The Fan!

September 28—November 3, 2012

Opening reception: Friday, September 28, 5:00-7:00 PM

David Richard Gallery, LLC
Railyard Arts District
544 South Guadalupe Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Billy Al Bengston has been a part of the Venice Beach scene in California since the late 1950s. He was one of the early artists of the important Ferus Gallery along with Ken Price, John Altoon, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ed Kienholz and Ed Moses. Best known for his various symbols such as sergeant stripes, iris flowers (referred to as Draculas by his friend Ken Price) and anthuriums, which became his personal signatures and characterized his artwork for decades. Bengston started working in clay, but switched to painting on canvas, metal and paper and creating collages. He is a serious artist, but never takes himself too seriously. Focusing on his signature icons creates a readily available device, partly eliminating the need for compositional decisions and allowing him to critically explore painting, while seemingly poking fun at some aspect of contemporary culture or consumerism. Bengston’s art, for the most part, is indescribable and after five decades maybe that has been his grand plan, to keep us guessing and wondering, what is the point—maybe there is no point other than challenging viewers and critics alike to just LOOK, ask a question, but decide for themselves what the message might be. Abstract and colorful, infused with wacky imagery, his art is never slick, maybe a bit irreverent, but always humorous and painterly with brushstrokes, drips, personal touches and a bit of kitsch.

This exhibition is not only the gallery’s first solo show for Bengston, but the first presentation of a series of paintings he produced from 1992-1994. Like much of his art, and as the title might suggest, this body of work spawned from a personal aspect of his life. Conceptually, it is classic Bengston, but with new imagery—a heavy dose of iridescent paint, psychedelia, island culture and large undefined blobs flying through the air—giving one the sense of looking at earth from outer space through a meteor shower. Bengston frequently referred to this series of paintings as “human comedies.” So, once again, leaving us to our own imaginations.

David Richard Gallery is located in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District and specializes in post-war abstract art including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, geometric, hard-edge, Op, Pop, Minimalism and conceptualism in a variety of media. Featuring both historic and contemporary artwork, the gallery represents many established artists who were part of important art historical movements and tendencies that occurred during the 1950s through the 1980s on both the east and west coasts. The gallery also represents artist estates, emerging artists and offers secondary market works.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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