James Phillips | Cosmic Connnection, 1971 | acrylic on canvas | 96h x 212w in
James Phillips’s "Cosmic Connection," (1971), was originally painted as the backdrop for a memorial John Coltrane concert at Town Hall, New York that same year. The painting is about the relationship between light, sound, and music. He made the painting while an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum. “Sound is sound. I work with the visual manifestations of sound. The visual component to that would be light.” - said James Phillips (b. 1945, Brooklyn, NY).
Robert Gwathmey | Father and Child, 1974 | oil on canvas | 36h x 56w in
Much of Gwathmey's social realist oeuvre depicts rural Southern life and the plight of African Americans. As a lifelong social activist, Gwathmey believed that artistic expression and social issues could not be seperated. During WWII, Gwathmey became active in Artists for Victory, an organization of artist’s whose mission was to assist the war effort. He spent much of his life committed to civil rights, workers rights and the peace movement.
Martha Edelheit | Portrait of Tove Dalmau, 1969-71 | oil and collage on canvas | 45h x 45w in
Edelheit met the subject of this portrait, Tove Dalmau, through Allan Kaprow. Many of her artist friends were living in New Jersey - some of them teaching at Rutgers University at the time. Edelheit went to a party In New Jersey at Dalmau's home. Dalmau was wearing the dress shown in the painting. At some point during the party, Dalmau went outside with the men to do target shooting. Edelheit was impressed that Dalmau could out-shoot them all, and was also a sensuous woman and incredible, gracious hostess. She invited Dalmau to pose for a portrait with the shotgun and in that dress.
The painting references the vanitas paintings of artists such as Holbein and Vermeer, where a story is told with the objects in the periphery. Here, every object, fabric, and pattern refers to, and is about Dalmau. Edelheit was interested in changing the traditional male gaze. She gave women agency through the fabrics, objects, and situation. She was interested in capturing the ideas, dreams, and fantasies of the subjects of her paintings.
Pat Passlof | Untitled, 1950 | oil on paper mounted on canvas |17h x 14w in
Pat Passlof (1928-2011) was born in Georgia in 1928 and grew up in New York City. In the summer of 1948, she studied painting with Willem de Kooning at Black Mountain College, and continued to study with him privately after they returned to New York. That fall, De Kooning introduced her to Milton Resnick. She and Resnick began to live together in the mid-1950s and married in 1962.
Passlof was the subject of a solo exhibition at the famed Green Gallery in 1961. In the 1960s and 70s she also showed at the Globe Gallery, the Feiner Gallery, and the Landmark Gallery. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited regularly with Elizabeth Harris Gallery. A retrospective of her work was held at the Black Mountain College Museum in 2011. A painting was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, and included in their 2017 exhibition, “Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction.”
Memories of 10th Street: Paintings by Pat Passlof, 1948 - 63 is currently on view at Eric Firestone Gallery.
William Copley | Aux Morts Joyeux, 1953 | oil and thumbtacks on canvas | 51 1/4h x 64w in
"Aux Morts Joyeux," 1953 was painted during Copley's Paris years. After living and working in Los Angeles, where he had established the Copley Galleries, he expatriated to France between 1951-62. The Copley Galleries in Los Angeles was a radical endeavor in the city, debuting Los Angeles exhibitions with René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Matta Echaurren, Joseph Cornell, Man Ray and Max Ernst. The project also cemented Copley's friendships with many of these artists.
"Aux Morts Joyeux" is a significant work that establishes many of Copley's interests. It includes actual thumbtacks collaged into the surface of the canvas. It depicts a fictional porn palace in Paris with a nod to the architecture of the Grand Palais. Thus the painting playfully politically subverts the function of this exposition hall. Painted text "advertisements" that also point to racial issues are inscribed on the building walls. Erotic art would become a significant aspect of Copley's work -- who was interested in Surrealism's rejection of social propriety and embrace of the unconscious.
FUTURA2000 | TIME TRAVEL, 2021 | spray paint on canvas | 72h x 96w in
The gallery will be debuting a new series of paintings by Futura at Art Basel Miami, 2021. Futura's work has been shown at The New Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands; and a large site-specific installation in 2020 at the Palais de Tokyo. He was included in the 2021 exhibition, Writing the Future Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation at the Museum of Fine Arts,Boston. In 2020, Futura had his debut, solo exhibition with Eric Firestone Gallery. Eric Firestone Gallery represents Futura2000.
Kenny Scharf | Untitled (Junk Painting), 1981 | found object assemblage and acrylic on canvas board
Defying expectations has long been a hallmark of the work of Kenny Scharf. Taught to revere Abstract Expressionism in art school during the 1970s, Scharf chose to paint cartoon figures and use outlandish colors. Frustrated with the inaccessible gallery and museum system in the 1980s, he spray-painted his work throughout New York City, ensuring that everyone could see his bold work. Along with his peers, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Scharf has always pushed against the boundaries of the established art world and pursued his own artistic path that encompasses painting, video, sculpture, prints, fashion, and more.
This untitled junk painting from 1981 reflects Scharf's ongoing interest in using found trash objects - particularly discarded electronics and plastics - in his work. He created installations in his studios and homes over the years by amassing these kinds of objects. He called them "Cosmic Caverns" or "Cosmic Closets."
This particular work incorporates objects like hair dye canisters, which relate to the performer John Sex, and his first performance in which he dyed his hair. Also it is a nod to the combines of Robert Rauschenberg. In 1980, Scharf was part of the legendary "Times Square Show" in which artists took over an abandoned space in a bankrupt New York City. Scharf had painted over the old circuit boards in the space. In this painting, he incorporated a circuit board from the 1940s. These objects are combined with Scharf's "pop surrealist" pink brushwork, which is itself related to the use of plastic in terms of how he turns paint into a very man-made, artificial seeming substance.
Varnette Honeywood | Campus Christmas, 1985 | collage on board | 30h x 120w in
Varnette Honeywood found inspiration in direct representation of Black family life in Los Angeles, where she lived. Honeywood presented a view of Black culture that can be described as a radical normalizing, celebrating the life of her community in neighborhoods often pathologized by the media. A trip to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977 solidified her commitment to the use of saturated color, which she viewed as part of an ancestral aesthetic lineage. Her work utilizes simplified forms, emphasizing the silhouette or black profile. Honeywood’s work reached mass audiences through expanding collaborations across popular culture: book covers, magazine illustrations, film, and television. She achieved widespread fame. She is recognized by contemporary artists today for her significant contribution, helping to envision and shape Black visual culture. Artist Sanford Biggers was mentored by Honeywood, and he says that he admired “her vision of Black positivity and black communities amongst themselves: the conversations that we have with each other that are not on display for other cultures to see.”