Let’s begin at the end. Pass through the hard edges of her country and the science fiction of her colors, and as the decades fall away we’ll finally return to a room in California and the painter herself, summoning the cosmos. Helen Lundeberg finished her last painting nine years before her death in 1999, a few months shy of ninety-one. Almost seven decades earlier, in 1934, aged twenty-six or so, Lundeberg wrote with her teacher and lover (later husband) Lorser Feitelson a manifesto for New Classicism, a punchy critique of Surrealism.
We asked and you answered. This is the first in a series of announcements over the next few days of the winners in WEHOville’s annual Best of WeHo contest. Coming soon will be Best Of listings of pet services, spas, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants, to cite a few of the categories. And with our final announcement, we’ll announce the winner of a weekend stay in a beautifully redesigned room at the Mondrian Los Angeles, which graciously offered that prize to encourage West Hollywood residents to call out their favorite local businesses to friends and neighbors.
A groundbreaking exhibit that explores how modern art was influenced by advances in science, from Einstein’s theory of relativity to newly powerful microscopic and telescopic lenses, is on display at the Zimmerli Art Museum as part of an initiative bring together the study of art and science at Rutgers-New Brunswick.
SAN FRANCISCO — I first became aware of the artist Jess (1923 – 2004) in the late 1960s, when I bought a copy of Robert Duncan’s The Opening of the Field (1960) at the Grolier Poetry Book Shop on Plympton Street, near Harvard Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jess’s ink drawing was the frontispiece of that singular volume, which was part of my introduction to the existence of alternatives to official verse culture. Although I went on reading Duncan, I did not see any more of Jess’s art until I came to New York in the mid-1970s and saw his work at the Odyssia Gallery, where I also saw pieces by Irving Petlin and, later, Robert Birmelin for the first time.
When the New Mexico Museum of Art opened to the public as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico on Nov. 24, 1917, its mission was to provide the contemporary artists of the day with a venue for showing their work. Regional artists could put their names on a list and their work would be exhibited in one of several ground-floor niche galleries, or alcoves. The open-door policy persisted for decades until curated shows took over completely in the 1950s. Alcoves 20/20, which opens on Friday, Aug. 9, pays homage to the museum’s original vision by showcasing the work of 30 New Mexico-based artists. (The artists’ work appears in six rotations featuring five artists at a time, spanning a year in total.)
What are the chronologies of the catalogue raisonné projects for Feitelson and Lundeberg?
The Foundation placed a call for collectors in 2012. At that time we also began amassing data, photographing all work still in the Foundation’s collection, and visiting museums and private collections. I visited the Archives of American Art to view the Feitelson/Lundeberg Papers in 2012 and 2018, and visited the UCLA archives to view the Tobey C. Moss Gallery Records on Feitelson and Lundeberg. These archives have all been instrumental in filling gaps in provenance and locating information on untraced works.
Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999) wrote in 1942 that her aim was “to calculate, and reconsider, every element in a painting with regard to its function in the whole organization.” The renowned Post-Surrealist’s precision of shape, color and composition is amply displayed in “Helen Lundeberg: Interiors” at Louis Stern Fine Arts, which includes 15 scenes she painted between 1943-1980.
In the painting of Olvera Street currently on view in the exhibition “Something Revealed: California Women Artists Emerge, 1860-1960” at the Pasadena Museum of History, the symbolism of masculine dominance may have been unintentional, but it is extremely poignant considering the subject of the exhibition. The old cobbled street is shown on a quiet morning. A saleswoman perches uncomfortably on a stool in front of her terra cotta pot stall and gazes over at two men browsing the pots across the way. Behind her, another shopkeeper stands in her doorway beside a display of ceramic vases and jars as a woman in a headscarf strolls along the sidewalk. In front of the seated woman, a small child approaches a dog who appears oblivious to them all as he busily scratches an itch. Above them all in the center of the painting and thrusting into the sky is the tower of the Los Angeles City Hall, a building completed in 1928– the only clue that dates the oil painting. At the bottom right-hand corner is the artist’s signature “V.C.M. Staples” – a genderless mark that reveals next to nothing about the artist who painted this masterful portrait of the heart of Los Angeles.