June 5, 2007 |
The new Claremont Museum of Art made just the right choice for its inaugural exhibition. Tightly organized and lovely to look at, the 42-year survey of 42 paintings (and one drawing) by Karl Benjamin honors the leading artist of the museum's home city. Benjamin arrived in Claremont in 1952, a young public school teacher who had recently begun to paint, and in 1994 he retired from Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University as the schools' most distinguished art professor.
January 22, 2004 |
Karl Benjamin enjoyed a moment in the spotlight in 1959 when the term "hard edge" was coined to describe his paintings in the LACMA exhibit, "Four Abstract Classicists." Benjamin's paintings are so chockablock with wonky colors and eccentric shapes that it's hard to imagine anyone linking them to the balance, rationality and restraint typically inspired by the ancients. And yet "Karl Benjamin: Paintings From 1950 to 1965" shows him to be an American original.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 1987
I find it perplexing that Cunliffe feels so put upon. At age 54, she retires with an income of $58,000 a year, plus $10,412 in vacation pay and $17,350 for unused sick leave. When I retired after 29 years of teaching in Southern California public schools, I received, in 1980 and at the age of 55, $7,260 a year. No pluses, although I had lots of unused sick leave. Now I must confess that the figure has swelled to $8,088, the 11% raise--over seven years, mind you--reflecting our generous built-in cost of living increase (we old teachers call it our un-COLA)
January 7, 1996 |
In addition to being the first major Modernist artist to emerge in postwar Los Angeles, John McLaughlin (1898-1976) also fertilized the local cultural landscape in two fundamental ways. First, when the legendary exhibition "Four Abstract Classicists" (McLaughlin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley and Karl Benjamin) traveled from the L.A. County Museum to London in 1959, the show gave Los Angeles its first coherent claim to international significance as a center for modern art. And second, McLaughlin's elegantly spare geometric abstractions established a rigorous aesthetic of perceptual refinement, which became a hallmark of art produced in L.A. From the acclaimed Light-and-Space installations of the 1960s and 1970s to John M. Miller's luminous paintings today, McLaughlin is their great forebear.
December 17, 2013 |
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens has acquired works to fill a gallery space set to open in July 2014 that will be devoted to geometric abstraction and pop art. Made possible by an anonymous donation, two of the works are by the late minimalist, Tony Smith. “For W.A.” is an 1969 abstract bronze sculpture in two parts, each a five-foot-high “rhombic prism,” as the Huntington calls the dark, velvety-looking blocks. The other Smith work, untitled, is an abstract oil on canvas, in deep green and red tones, that the artist made in 1960.
December 26, 2012 |
The fields of art and architecture lost several notable names in 2012. The most high-profile death was that of Thomas Kinkade, the self-anointed “Painter of Light” who died in April at 58 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. Kinkade gained a worldwide following for his paintings of cozy cottages and serene landscapes, but he was reviled by critics and most serious art connoisseurs. In Los Angeles, the year began on a sad note with the apparent suicide of Mike Kelley.