It’s About the Paint, Not the Subject, for Veteran New York Artist Larry Poons
This screenprint was created by Larry Poons for the legendary portfolio Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness. The portfolio was published by the Center for Constitutional Rights to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 7, a group of Yippies, radicals and anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Conspiracy: the Artist as Witness, portfolio featured works by Jack Beal, Romare Bearden, Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Peter Saul, Raphael Soyer, and Frank Stella. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page and excerpts of the defendants' and their attorneys' testimony from the trial.
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Signature: Signed lower right; numbered lower left in pencil; stamped with copyright stamp on the reverse
Publisher: Center for Constitutional Rights, publisher; Chiron Press, New York, printer
Portfolio: "Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness:", 1971, Center for Constitutional Rights
It is not surprising that Larry Poons’ gestural, emotional, and improvisational paintings are borne from an artist who originally studied to become a professional musician. In the 1960s, Poons left the New England Conservatory of Music to pursue a career in painting, a decision honored with nearly immediate success—Poons’ early works, Op art paintings of circles and dots, were included in a MoMA exhibition when he was just 28. These illusionistic paintings evoked rhythm and an underlying musicality, yet a move toward Abstract Expressionism would introduce an even greater presence of the artist’s psyche is his work. In Poons’ action paintings, his gestures and energy were expressed through buckets of paint he had thrown at the canvas. Even his later works, painted by brush, recall the same energy in their expressive use of color and seemingly infinite number of frenetic brushstrokes.
American, b. 1937, Ogikubo, Japan, based in New York, NY, United States