Pacific Standard Time

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Richard Tuttle at the Getty opening (Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

October 5, 2011

The first weekend of October in Los Angeles was the official beginning of Pacific Standard Time, a six-month long collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California coming together for the first time, through a multitude of simultaneous exhibitions and programs, to tell the story of the Los Angeles art scene from 1945-1980.  Collectors, museum professionals and art dealers from around the world traveled to LA, striving to get to as many of the VIP events, private collection tours and gallery receptions as they could.  With over 70 galleries in Los Angeles and several in New York also participating, the Gemini workshop in Los Angeles and our gallery in New York each mounted complimentary exhibitions focusing on the works made during or inspired by the Pacific Standard Time era.  These two exhibitions, titled Pacific Standard Editions, aspire to represent the time when the Gemini workshop and its artists burst onto the West Coast scene, making a rich and unique contribution to this burgeoning period in the history of art in Southern California.

On Saturday, October 1st, as a treat for special invited guests, Gemini opened the doors to its LA workshop and offered a glimpse of the tremendous effort that goes into edition-printing.  Visitors watched as Master Printers editioned the enormous Serra Double Level II etching, Ed Ruscha’s colorful Liberty lithograph and Julie Mehretu’s 12-panel masterpiece Auguries.  Notable among the many guests were Pacific Standard Time Chief Curator Andrew Perchuk, and former Gemini salesperson Lindsey Christensen, who returned to LA for the weekend festivities and to quickly visit the new Los Angeles art fair, Art Platform.

The following afternoon, Richard Tuttle landed at LAX, arriving on the new non-stop American Airlines flight from Santa Fe, carrying only a small canvas duffle.  He came to town to check in on the ceramic project he is producing at Gemini and to sign the exquisite new etching that will be released this Fall.  Sidney and I whisked Tuttle away to Maxfield, fashion central for Hollywood and the music business, so he could buy something for the Pacific Standard Time festivities at the Getty Museum that evening.  With Tuttle dressed in a stunning new bright-green corduroy Balmain shirt, off the three of us headed to the hilltop Getty in Brentwood for the opening of Crosscurrents in L.A.: Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970, where hundreds of LA artists, collectors, artworld luminaries and out-of-town visitors gathered at the gala reception.

Tuttle spent the following two days at Gemini, signing, numbering and hand-writing the title at the bottom of each impression of his new etching For John Altoon.  To each impression he also added a curled pencil mark, unique to each sheet.  The mark starts within the boundaries of the image, just above the signature, and, with drama and energy, spirals out to the margin of the paper.  Tuttle also resolved the framing of his six new ceramic series, each of which is uniquely formed out of red earthenware clay.  All are individually slip decorated, with the exception of the sixth series, which was finished with a yellow glaze.  In three of the six “editions” – actually series of unique works – wires, copper and other materials are added to the surfaces.

John Baldessari and Christopher Knight (Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

On his last evening in Los Angeles, Tuttle accompanied Sidney and me to a conversation between John Baldessari and Christopher Knight, held in the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum.  We were also joined by Kalyn and Sidney’s assistant, Kate Guillen.  Christopher Knight, Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist and long-time writer for the Los Angeles Times, began the evening by showing the promotional film created for Pacific Standard Time.  The witty video features actor Jason Schwartzman being pursued by the voice and oversized head of Baldessari, who encourages Schwartzman not to be intimidated by fine art.  It was a fun and engaging way to warm up the audience for the provocative and lively discussion that ensued.  Knight began the conversation by asking Baldessari about his early days in National City, California, and Baldessari was very revealing in the personal and creative journey that after many years brought him the international acclaim that he enjoys today.  He spoke of how he learned “more about painting from [ceramist] Peter Voulkos than anybody else,” and recalled meeting Paul Brach at University of California at San Diego in 1967.  Two years later, Brach became the founding dean at Cal Arts, and recruited Baldessari to come teach at the school, where he met Nam June Paik, Alan Kaprow and many other artists whose work and careers impacted Baldessari.  The evening was filled with informative dialogue on the mechanical process of Baldessari’s artmaking as well as the philosophical approach to the “what is art” question that artists ever since Duchamp have been exploring.


Rolling Out a Rosenquist

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

James Rosenquist at Gemini G.E.L.

September 8, 2011

And now that we are up and running in Chelsea, our gallery drawers are once again filling up with proofs of the latest editions coming out of the Gemini G.E.L. workshop.  One new arrival is James Rosenquist’s The Xenophobic Movie Director or Our Foreign Policy.

Rosenquist and Master Printer James Reid

Rosenquist visited Los Angeles at the beginning of the year to escape New York’s dreary weather and begin his first collaboration with Gemini in over a decade.  This past summer, the workshop had the pleasure of hosting the artist’s daughter (and current Rhode Island School of Design art student) Lily Rosenquist, for a brief printmaking internship, and in January, Master Printer James Reid was eager to begin collaborating with the elder Rosenquist.

The imagery in this new print references a 2004 painting of the same title measuring over 13 feet.  Given the scale of this lithograph, 58” in length by 25″ high, several of the colored lithographic plates had to be split into more than one plate in order to facilitate consistent hand-printing.  Rosenquist mixed each color ink to his exact specification, and this complex print was resolved with 18 runs through the press.

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

Always engaged with social and ecological issues, Rosenquist has paired iconic symbols of the American landscape with references to world affairs, reiterating his message by the hand-written title across the lower margin.  Rosenquist’s printmaking continues to illuminate the artist’s highly-charged, deconstructive style and vibrant coloring with an airbrushed quality, derived from his experience as a billboard painter.  This impressive lithograph made its public debut at Art Basel 42 and can be viewed in our gallery at 465 West 23rd Street.

Tuttle tries his hand at clay

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Richard Tuttle at Gemini artists' workshop

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

 June 29, 2011

After a successful etching collaboration in 2009, Gemini welcomed Richard Tuttle’s return to the Los Angeles workshop this month with open arms.  Inspired to study the dynamics of clay in Southern California, Tuttle was interested in fabricating editioned tiles.  The project, and Tuttle himself, was certainly influenced by the work of Peter Voulkos and Ken Price, founder and student of the ceramics department at Otis College, respectively.  Also an inspiration to Tuttle was Sidney, as he spent years laboring over a potter’s wheel in night school and was a classmate of Elsa Rady’s at Chouinard Art Institute, now known as Cal Arts.  Much of the important and vibrant history of clay in Los Angeles will be explored as part of the Getty Center’s Pacific Standard Time, at an exhibition called Clay’s Tectonic Shift at Scripps College opening in early January 2012.

During Tuttle’s visit to Los Angeles, celebrated photographer and LA native Jim McHugh stopped by the workshop and conversed with the artist while snapping a few portraits, and Tuttle also met with Print Curator Louis Marchesano while exploring the exhibition, Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings, at the Getty Museum.  Understandably, Tuttle was intent on seeing this terrific show, as watercolor is regarded as one of the most challenging artistic techniques and certainly one that Tuttle has tackled in his unique works.  Its liquid nature is capable of extraordinary effects of luminosity, but is often challenging for an artist to control.  The exhibition presents works of the 1700s and 1800s by some of the greatest British masters of the medium, including Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, and William Blake, as well as an installation of three Yorkshire countryside watercolors by contemporary British artist David Hockney, bringing the tradition of the watercolor into the present day.

Tuttle’s clay project at Gemini should be resolved shortly and will likely consist of six series of tiles, each with black slip glazing, hand painted by the artist.  It is with great anticipation that we look forward to presenting this work in New York later this year.

The Art of Saying Thank You

May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Handmade cards by Bigs and Littles

May 21, 2011

The Gemini workshop opened its doors on a Saturday afternoon to nine “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters, an agency that matches mentors with at-risk youth in Los Angeles.  The Littles, ranging from 9 to 14 years old and accompanied by their Big Brother or Big Sister, learned to make screenprints and were taught creative ways of expressing appreciation during a workshop titled “The Art of Saying Thank You.”  The workshop was led by Joni (who has been a BBBS Board member since 1995), Gemini Master Printer Jim Reid and Mindy L. Zasloff, President of the human resources consulting firm, People Skills Are An Art.

The Bigs and Littles took a quick tour of the workshop before getting down to business with Jim Reid in the screenprinting shop.  As each person stepped up to the press to pull a couple impression from a screen, the group cheerfully applauded each successful print pulled.  Mindy then guided the Bigs and Littles through the process of writing a thoughtful note expressing thanks or what it means to have been matched.  Once the screenprints were cut down to the size of a folded note-card, the Bigs and Littles embellished them with watercoloring, rubber-stamped images, bits of colored construction paper and colorful stickers.  The day was a resounding success  –  the matches had an exceptionally fun day, and the cards produced will be used for expressing gratitude to the agency’s major donors.

Joel Shapiro shares views on David Smith

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Joel Shapiro leading walk-through of David Smith exhibition at LACMA

April 26, 2011

Joel Shapiro spoke to an intimate gathering of high-level LACMA supporters on Tuesday evening, walking them through the David Smith sculpture exhibit on view at the LACMA Resnick Pavilion through July 24.  He spoke eloquently and with considerable animation about the importance of Smith’s work in the history of American sculpture, and his own relationship to Smith’s work.  He kept the audience fascinated with his discussion of numerous creative associations between Smith and fellow sculptors including Giacometti, Calder and other.  After the walk-through, a small group of collectors were invited to dine at Playa, the hot new restaurant by John Sedlar who is known for his innovative Mexican cooking.  Crafting a special menu for the evening, Chef Sedlar greeted the diners, which included LACMA Director Michael Govan and his wife, fashion PR powerhouse Katherine Ross, Senior Curator Stephanie Barron, Gemini client and celebrity interior designer Rose Tarlow, and several LACMA trustees and patrons.  Joel is in Los Angeles, collaborating with Gemini on new prints to follow upon his highly successful 2009 series Boat, Bird, Mother and Child.

Daniel Buren visits the Gemini workshop

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Daniel Buren at Gemini artists’ workshop

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

April 20, 2011

Today was the last full day in Los Angeles for French artist Daniel Buren, and he spent it busily working at the Gemini workshop, collaborating with Master Printers James Reid and Richard Kaz.  Buren arrived in Los Angeles a week earlier, and enjoyed staying at the home of Gemini co-owners Elyse and Stanley Grinstein while creating what promises to be an exciting project.  There is still a lot of experimentation and proofing to be done before the project is resolved, but as with his 1989 Gemini collaboration, Buren is developing a series in which each individual work will be composed of a unique configuration of striped square elements.  To say “bon voyage” to Daniel and his wife Chantal, Sidney and I took them to a lovely dinner at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s traditional French bistro in Beverly Hills.

FYA Benefit Edition at Soho House

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

March 28, 2011

Joni, Sidney and Kalyn celebrated the first issue of ForYourArt’s Benefit Edition, a selection of artworks published in support of various non-profit organizations across Los Angeles, at the Soho House on Monday evening.  As part of their ongoing mission to cultivate arts patronage and cultural engagement, ForYourArt Founder Bettina Korek and Exhibition Coordinator Sarah Williams curated an exhibition of 128 editions from over 100 artists.

Hanging on the twisting hallways of the SoHo house were artworks by Gemini artists Jonathan Borofsky, Chris Burden and David Hockney.  There were also works by John Baldessari, Toba Khedoori and Bill Viola, all printed by Gemini G.E.L. to benefit the Orange County Museum of Art, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Ojai Music Festival, respectively.  The Toba Khedoori etching was the artist’s first collaboration with the Gemini workshop, made in 2005 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles, for which Joni is a long-time board member.  Ayn and Ellen Grinstein and Gemini Sales Director Kenturah Davis were in attendance along with Getty Deputy Director Andrew Perchuk.

For additional information on available editions, visit

Photo: Joni & Sidney with Toba Khedoori’s Untitled

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