Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960-1970 will present to the New York public a long-overdue survey of the particular kind of minimal work that was made in and around Los Angeles, work which differentiated itself in its emphasis on surface, synthetic materials, industrial processes, and perception. Often referred to under the umbrella term “Light and Space,” the artists and artwork included in this exhibition will present a more inclusive overview of the ground-breaking and diverse art practices that flourished in California in the 1960s. The exhibition includes rarely seen works by Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Laddie John Dill, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, John McCracken, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, De Wain Valentine, and Doug Wheeler.
While most of the artworks included in the exhibition can be referred to as minimal in form, their seductive surfaces, often made out of nontraditional materials, and their luminescent use of color and light characterize them as uniquely Southern Californian. Distinguishing themselves from their East Coast Minimalist counterparts, the California artists in the exhibition were reacting to local concerns with light and atmosphere, often evoking the qualities of the bright Los Angeles sunlight and the shiny, finished surfaces of the city's ubiquitous signs and automobiles. Noted for translucent, reflective, or ethereal surfaces, the work made by these artists explored the often ephemeral boundaries between painting and sculpture and the broader experiential possibilities of art.
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