The summer months - July and August - are often a time when gallery-goers expect to see mixed shows of gallery artists; it’s generally down-time in the gallery cycle. But over the last few years there’s been a trend for galleries to curate summer shows that are more enterprising. And so it is with the current exhibition at Flowers, of hard-edge abstract painters from America’s west coast, 1960s California Hard-Edge, which runs until September 8th. It is, in fact, an exchange show in collaboration with Louis Stern Fine Arts in Hollywood, California, which represents the three artists on show and is simultaneously putting on a show of British abstract painters from the same period: Bernard Cohen, Michael Kidner and Richard Smith.
Pasadena Museum of History presents Something Revealed; California Women Artists Emerge, 1860-1960, a fine art exhibition of over 250 works offering a new appreciation of the artists who defied gender and expectation in an era of inequality. Although some of the featured artists have achieved name recognition, the exhibition will focus on historically important yet unknown and underappreciated California artists and the role they played in shaping the arts and culture in California spanning 100 years.
Three abstract painters converge like an artistic Venn diagram in “Intersecting at the Edge” at the Claremont Museum of Art, where paintings by the late Karl Benjamin, a principal figure of the California Hard-edge painting movement, are displayed alongside abstractions by contemporary artists Heather Gwen Martin and Eric Zammitt. Curated by Dion Johnson, an abstract painter and former student of Benjamin, this show educes singularities and commonalities among its trio of constituent artists while suggesting Hard-edge painting’s enduring legacy.
“Abstraction represents self-determination and free will.” So avowed the painter James Little at a recent panel discussion held in conjunction with an exhibition of works by his fellow painter Joe Overstreet, but with the broader purpose of examining the question of “Black Artists and the Abstraction Idiom.” Little’s ringing declaration of aesthetic independence was couched in a language both explicitly political (self-determination being a right underwritten by the United Nations in its 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which held that “All peoples have the right to…freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”) as well as theological (though the problem of free will has earlier roots, it became urgent when Christian thinkers had to explain the origin of sin and damnation in a world created by a perfect and benevolent God). The implication of Little’s statement is that abstract art, by eschewing the forms of representation through which political and religious narratives are conveyed, enacts and exemplifies a kind of self-emancipation.