John Tweddle
Ken Price

Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles / United States

March 12, 2014

John Tweddle
Ken Price

March 15–May 3, 2014

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019

John Tweddle Curated by Alanna Heiss

Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition of work by John Tweddle. The exhibition, curated by Alanna Heiss, will consist of paintings drawn from the Scull Collection, one of America’s most historically significant collections of 20th-century art.

Tweddle, born in Pinckneyville, Kentucky in 1938, moved to New York City as the 1960s drew to a close. His first exhibition at Green Gallery with legendary Richard Bellamy, who remained a staunch supporter the rest of his life, caught the attention of Robert Scull, an early champion of Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol. Informed by his Southern childhood, Tweddle drew liberally from the “low art” traditions of cartoons and comic books while mounting an intellectually rigorous exploration of capitalism, iconography and the counterculture revolution. The resultant work—bold, primal, deliberately naive—drew upon an authentic American experience far removed from the cultural loci of New York. However, as the decade wore on and Tweddle found himself more deeply entrenched in the artistic establishment, his canvases evinced a growing concern with the interplay of art and commerce. By 1980, Tweddle had retreated from New York’s cultural milieu, preferring instead to work in relative isolation.

The paintings on display, completed between 1968 and 1986, capture a particularly fertile period in the artist’s career. In Grace Glueck’s review of his 1983 exhibition at the Blum-Helman Gallery, she notes that Tweddle’s “structure is iconic, usually consisting of a vignette with a narrative subject, ringed by formal borders that incorporate all manner of signs and symbols.” Central among his recurring motifs is the dollar sign, which serves as a visual shorthand for Tweddle’s own discomfort with the commodification of art. Tweddle arranges these symbols of contemporary culture into intricate and meticulously plotted patterns reminiscent of patchwork quilting, Navajo tapestry and aboriginal bark painting. Thus rooted in folk art tradition, Tweddle’s rough-edged brushwork and dusty palette of ochre and green render icons of the American landscape with a dark and chaotic complexity.

Alanna Heiss, Director of Clocktower Productions, is a leader of the groundbreaking early 1970s alternative spaces movement in New York City, which radically changed the way large-scale art projects were produced, shown, and seen. In 1972 she founded the legendary Clocktower Gallery, and in 1976 she founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), which she directed for 32 years, and transformed into an internationally renowned non-collecting center for the production and presentation of contemporary art.

Ken Price

Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present the gallery’s second exhibition of work by the sculptor Ken Price (1935–2012). This exhibition will consist of one work, Unit 6, first exhibited as part of Happy’s Curios, Price’s 1978 retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Over the course of his career, Ken Price crafted a body of revolutionary sculpture that challenged the conventional perception of ceramics, formerly dismissed as a primarily functional or commercial medium. Although best known for his late-career series of organically shaped sculptures, it was his collection of Happy’s Curios, a tender and slyly humorous homage to the ceramics of the Southwest, that served as the subject of Price’s first major museum retrospective.

In 1970, having achieved some critical success in Los Angeles, Price settled in Taos, New Mexico with his wife, Happy. Shortly thereafter, Price found himself drawn to the Mexican and Pre-Columbian ceramics sold in roadside stalls and local markets. Moved by the tradition’s rich trove of history and vitality, Price set to work on an homage to Mexican folk art that would eventually encompass cabinets of functional pottery, paintings, textiles, and a number of multimedia “Death Shrines.” Upon completion, the artist planned to open a storefront to house the mixed media installation, fondly named Happy’s Curios.

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