Posted inArt

“The Rose” Is Not A Rose

From 1955 to 1966, Jay DeFeo and her painter husband, Wally Hedrick, lived at 2322 Fillmore Street, San Francisco. They were at the center of a lively, politically anarchic milieu of artists and poets that included Bruce and Jean Conner, Joan and Bill Brown, Deborah Remington, Sonia Gechtoff and James Kelly, Jess, Robert Duncan, Philip Lamantia, Jack Spicer and others. Largely centered around small galleries and presses such as the Auerhahn Press, City Lights bookstore and press, the legendary Six Gallery (which Hedrick helped start), the East & West Gallery (run by Gechtoff’s mother), Batman Gallery, and Dilexi, this loosely allied group had no counterpart in New York. For various reasons, most of the figures associated with this group would neither be integrated into, nor adequately recognized by, the East Coast art establishment.

Posted inArt

How to Be a Lady Painter

I think it’s funny that Patricia Albers’s recent and authoritative biography on Joan Mitchell was given the subtitle “Lady Painter.” It’s my only guess that Mitchell’s lifestyle and her painting were so out of character for the time that the term becomes ironic. The artist was known for her camaraderie with Cedar Tavern macho dudes like de Kooning and Pollock, her hangout sessions with beatnik poets, her ability to party, and her tendency to drink and sleep around with bravado. At the time these activities and attitudes were thought to be reserved for men. Mitchell gradually carved out a space for her paintings to be given the same treatment.

Posted inArt

Can We Still Learn To Speak Martian?

Let us start with two addresses just a few blocks from each other in San Francisco, and what was happening there in the early and mid-1950s. On Halloween, 1954, the Six Gallery opened at 3119 Fillmore Street in San Francisco. The six founders were Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington, Hayward King, David Simpson, John Ryan and Jack Spicer. Their shared interest was to have a place to exhibit art and host literary events, to put art and poetry on the walls, side by side. At the debut exhibition, Spicer’s poems were in fact on the wall, just like the paintings and drawings of the other co-founders.