Wednesday, November 16, 2011

McMaster Gallery Presents Castelli’s Cabinet

By Judit Trunkos

[caption id="attachment_4177" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Lichtenstein's Art Critic"][/caption]

It is not every day that original works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Edward Ruscha can be on display anywhere in Columbia, but this month, it is USC’s McMaster Gallery, which impresses art lovers with the most prestigious Pop Art, Minimalist and Conceptual Art collection. The Exhibition “Castelli’s Cabinet” can be seen through November 23rd.
City Paper asked Director, Mana Hewitt how was she able to secure such an exhibit.
Hewitt: “This exhibition is owned by Brenau University in Georgia, and is loaned to us.  My daughter, Vanessa Grubbs is the Director at Brenau Galleries and Collections and she helped us to have this collection at our gallery.
City Paper: How did Brenau University collect such an impressive quality of works?
Hewitt: Gallery owner and collector Leo Castelli from New York developed a friendship with the president of Brenau University and left a sizable collection to the school.
Leo Castelli’s gallery opened in New York on February 10, 1957 and hosted South Carolina native Jasper John’s first exhibition. In the beginning, Castelli collected European abstract painters’ works, such as Kandinsky, but later turned to American Expressionism and later to Pop Art and Minimalism. Castelli’s sensitive eyes to new styles and young artists quickly made him one of the best collectors of Pop, Minimal, and Conceptual Art nation-wide and internationally. Including in his collection are works from Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, and Keith Sonnier, which made Castelli an international expert of post-World War II European and American contemporary art.

[caption id="attachment_4178" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Rauschenberg's Caucus"][/caption]

“Castelli’s Cabinet” at McMasater Gallery consists of 22 works, multiple pieces from each artist. Jasper Johns have three pieces showing of which “Passage” and “Untitled” lithographs welcome the visitor at the entrance of the gallery. “Untitled” is a black and white lithograph playing with the idea of mixing easily recognizable letters with brushstrokes. The South Carolina native artist began working on his ready-mades and his maps, targets and flags for which he was later most known for and with which he began a new area in American Contemporary art.
Lichtenstein and Warhol are the two most known Pop Artists in the world. Lichtenstein often used enlarged scenes from comic books often including the Benday dots used with photomechanical reproduction. His subjects vary from violent scenes to romantic clichés, all from modern American life. Warhol in addition to painting also worked as printmaker as he created the famous color versions of movie starts and singers “Marilyn Monroe” and “Elvis Presley” and his most known painting the “Campbell Soup Cans”. Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl” and “Whaam!” are among his most famous and recognizable works. At McMaster Gallery, two of Lichtenstein’s pieces are featured of which the “Art Critic” was chosen to represent the show in the news media.
Another southern painter, Robert Rauschenberg’s work, “Caucus” is a result of a new process in which the artists uses a photo silkscreen process to include images on the canvas. In this case, the horse and the tire are transferred to the canvas. Rauschenberg had a strong relationship with Johns and supported each other’s’ works.  Rauschenberg’s most famous works are "Combines," and “Monogram” in which he used non-traditional materials and objects together with the two dimensional paintings.
Finally, Kosuth represents the Conceptual Art style in the exhibition. This approach represents the intellectual view of art as it breaks down the concept or the forms of thought into information. This movement was strong in the 1970s and one of the founders was Joseph Kosuth. The America-artist created “One and Three Chairs,” and “Art as Idea as Idea” in both works he emphasizes that the essence of objects and concept can be broken down to the photograph or even a printed definition of the object.
This exhibit is a great opportunity for art lovers and students to study an important section of post-World War II modern art and its various movements.

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