Catalog | Left of Center

StanfordArtMuseums

Curated by Stanford PhD Candidates, Left of Center seeks to show how modes of art-making that originated on the West Coast decisively changed the topography of American modernism.

FIVE YEARS of the

ANDERSON COLLECTION

at STANFORD UNIVERSITY


LEFT of CENTER

FIVE YEARS of the

ANDERSON COLLECTION

at STANFORD UNIVERSITY

edited by

Jason Linetzky


contents

4

director’s foreword

Jason Linetzky

7

introduction

Amber Lynn Harper

11

VIEWER ASCENDING a STAIRCASE

Danny Smith

25

SPACES, STUNTS, and SURFACES

Kelly Filreis

39

A WINDOW CAKED with LIGHT:

PAUL WONNER, RICHARD DIEBENKORN,

and the REFRACTION of PAINT

Christian Whitworth

56

works in the exhibition

51

FAMILIAR LANDSCAPES,

or the TIME of ARTIFICE:

JENNIFER BARTLETT’S

A T the LAKE, MORNING

Beatrice Smigasiewicz

58

acknowledgments

59

contributors and photography credits


4 5

director’s foreword

On September 21, 2014, the Anderson Collection at

research across disciplines, build a broad and diverse

of meetings with museum staff that continued throughout

re-approaching and re-experiencing not only a building

Stanford University opened its doors to the world.

audience, and inspire innovative thinking that enhances

2018 and 2019 and culminated in the museum’s first fully

but also a selection of artists and artworks that forged

The museum is home to one of the foremost collections

scholarship, interpretation, and the joyful engagement with

student-curated exhibition, the accompanying gallery texts,

pioneering paths and continue to inspire and influence

of twentieth-century American art gifted to Stanford by

art by the Stanford community and beyond. By offering

as well as the essays in this catalogue.

those who take the time to engage and look closely.

the collectors Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

firsthand experiences with art and artists, exhibitions,

(“Hunk and Moo”) and their daughter, Mary Patricia

educational programs, artist and scholar talks, and gallery

As Amber Harper points out in the introduction, the theme

Quite phenomenally, this catalogue is the inaugural

Anderson Pence (“Putter”). The building, designed by

performances, the museum continues the Anderson

of the West Coast emerged as a starting point for this

publication supported by The Hunk Anderson Memorial

Richard Olcott of Ennead Architects, sits behind a shady

family’s early commitment to creating new opportunities

project. The Anderson family began building their collection

Fund, an endowment providing long-term support to the

grove of live oaks, adjacent to the Stanford Arboretum,

for considering and discussing art on the West Coast.

soon after moving to California, and many of the artists

museum for publications. Together with Moo and Putter,

the Cantor Arts Center, the McMurtry Building for the

that they gravitated toward were profoundly influenced

Hunk placed great emphasis on the enduring legacy

Department of Art & Art History, and across from the Bing

Left of Center: Five Years of the Anderson Collection at

by the West. The title Left of Center underscores the nature

publications afford exhibitions and authors. It is in his

Concert Hall. Its location—among a group of Arts District

Stanford University is published in celebration of the

of the West—or Left—Coast. The phrase “left of center”

memory that a wide range of community members made

institutions whose programs are rooted in the intertwined

museum’s fifth anniversary and establishes a new platform

may now carry political overtones, but this catalogue

this fund possible, and it is to each of them that I extend

history, creation, and presentation of art—has been key to

for collaboration between the museum, the university, and

and exhibition repurpose the expression to emphasize

my deepest gratitude. In the coming years, the fund will

the museum’s evolution and its connections to a vibrant

the Anderson family. This catalogue showcases the

connotations of variance and independent thought.

ensure that publications play a key role in maintaining

university community.

intellectual curiosity and discovery of a group of PhD

The title also references the West Coast, a geographic

the Anderson Collection at Stanford University as a

candidates and students in Stanford’s Department of Art

region that is visually left of center when represented on

dynamic hub for learning, teaching, and experiencing

Over the past five years, the Anderson has become a place

& Art History who curated the exhibition of the same title

the typical map of the United States. With these two

modern and contemporary American art.

of creative engagement, community programming, and

active learning that explores the connections between art

and life. The museum preserves and presents one of the

and authored the essays contained herein. The Andersons

worked closely with Stanford students, hiring them as

interns beginning in the mid-1970s. The museum carried

interpretations in mind, Left of Center prompts its viewers

to consider our Left Coast as a place that has historically

fostered new ideas, innovation, and the breaking of

jason linetzky

director

anderson collection at stanford university

most significant university collections of modern and

forward this tradition by beginning this project with an

tradition—specifically in the art world. Here, the essays by

contemporary American art. Through exhibitions and

open invitation to graduate students to start conversations

Kelly Filreis, Beatrice Smigasiewicz, Danny Smith, and

public programs, the Anderson aims to support academic

about the permanent collection. What ensued was a series

Christian Whitworth afford the reader an entry point for


6

7

Amber Lynn Harper

introduction

Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson (“Hunk and Moo”)

(fig. 1) and their daughter, Mary Patricia Anderson Pence

(“Putter”), moved to the Bay Area in 1962. From their new

home, the Anderson family formed close friendships with

both Stanford University and up-and-coming artists living

on the West Coast. Around this time, the Andersons also

began collecting the works of modern and contemporary

art that now form the Anderson Collection at Stanford

University. From the beginning, a sense of place and a

meaningful connection to the American West emerged

as a prominent theme in their collecting practice, and

the five-year anniversary exhibition Left of Center: Five

Years of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

surely demonstrates this motif. Curated by current

graduate students in Stanford’s Department of Art & Art

History—many of whom have also contributed essays to

this catalogue—the exhibition and its accompanying

publication celebrate artists from the collection who

demonstrate a distinct connection to the American West

as well as West Coast artists with wide-reaching influence.

The story of the Anderson Collection begins with a visit to

a museum. Hunk and Moo first fell in love with art while

visiting the Louvre in Paris. Moo recalls the excitement of

traversing the galleries with Hunk on that first trip; both

were eager to understand as much about painting, sculpture,

and art history as possible. As Moo remembers, she began

to grasp the relevance and importance of modern art after

they returned to the United States and she spoke with the

owners occupying the front desks of gallery spaces. From

these conversations Moo learned what it meant to be

embedded in the art world. 1 The Andersons soon began to

fill their own home from floor to ceiling with art. Although

they first acquired works by French Impressionists, it

was not long before they turned their attention to Bay Area

artists like Richard Diebenkorn. The ingenuity of these

artists is what initially attracted the Andersons; before

adding a new work to the collection, they would ask

themselves, Has this been done before? Could I have

thought of it? As a result, the artworks in the collection

represent each artist’s singular sensibility, and every one

encapsulates a gesture or a moment of exceptional insight

that is unrepeatable.

When Hunk and Moo began collecting, New York was the

epicenter of the American art world and little attention was

given to the emerging communities of artists who made

their home elsewhere. Up and down the West Coast, artists

formed closely knit groups and opened artist-run spaces

that made big cities like Los Angeles feel more like small

towns. Kelly Filreis addresses this cultural phenomenon

in her catalogue essay “Spaces, Stunts, and Surfaces.”

Focusing on artists like Billy Al Bengston and Ed Moses,

who were associated with Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles,

Filreis explains how artists were influenced by the ultracool

surface image of mid-century LA. Bengston, for one,

created works such as Lux Lovely (1962) by airbrushing

metallic paint onto Masonite, copying the slick finishes

that were popular in the city’s custom-car culture (pl. 6).

Similarly, Ed Moses paid homage to LA’s signature

consumer culture by using synthetic media, including

plastic and resin, to create his work. Like other members

of this group, Bengston and Moses created works that

reflected the aesthetics of their lifestyle, and their art fits

well with the saying that California is as much a state of

mind as a state of the Union.

figure 1

Leo Holub, Hunk and Moo Anderson, 1993, Gelatin silver print, 18 x 14 in.


8 amber lynn harper

introduction

9

Despite the emergence of these communities, West Coast

important moments of bicoastal connection. Whitworth

“I want people, when they look at my painting, to have the

topography of modern and contemporary American art, the

artists often expressed a feeling of loneliness as a result of

comments on works by Wonner and Diebenkorn and the

same feelings they experience when they look at a land-

Anderson Collection encourages Stanford students and the

their distance from the East Coast. For instance, the artist

ways they were influenced by trips to New York. Wonner

scape. . . . [I]t’s really about the feeling of beauty and

greater community to think creatively. Their collection

Vija Celmins, who also lived in Los Angeles during the

spent several years in New York studying at the Art

freedom that you experience in landscape.” 4 A meaningful

began when Hunk and Moo were inspired by a visit to a

1960s, remembers the city as a “wonderful, lonely place.” 2

Students League before settling in California. His painting

experience with the American West was also influential

museum. The Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Yet Celmins attests that it was her time in California that

Figure by Window (1962), created while he was teaching at

for Winters, who worked with the Land artist Walter de

now carries a similar potential, aspiring to pass on the

provided an opportunity to develop a style “not like that of

UCLA, incorporates the gestural brushstrokes of Abstract

Maria in New Mexico for a brief period during the 1970s.

Andersons’ passion for art to all the museum’s visitors.

a New York artist.” 3 Removed from the art scene in New

Expressionism while underscoring the impact of the

Winters’s painting Theophrastus’ Garden (1982) asks us

York, California artists were able to experiment and explore

new modes of art making: Celmins began creating a series

Californian environment on his work; the figure sits before

a window flooded with the clear, bright light of California’s

to imagine the artwork as an ancient flowerbed filled with

primeval plants that have long since returned to the soil

1 Mary Margaret Anderson, conversation with author, May 6, 2019.

2 Quoted in William Hackman, Out of Sight: The Los Angeles Art Scene of the

Sixties (New York: Other Press, 2015), 178.

of meticulously rendered Photorealist paintings that depict

vast oceans or starry firmaments and differ from the

cloudless sky (pl. 16). Diebenkorn, like Wonner, spent

time in New York between the 1940s and ’60s but always

(pl. 10). Named for an Ancient Greek botanist, the painting

is a meditation on history and the promise of creative

3

Kristine McKenna, “A Rare Show by Reclusive Vija Celmins,” Los Angeles

Times, July 27, 1990, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1461022663?accountid=14026.

hardline style and commercialism of Pop art. This creative

independence is the focus of Beatrice Smigasiewicz’s essay

returned to California. Diebenkorn’s painting Ocean Park

#60 (1973) offers an impression of the blue sky over

growth, which is inherent in the natural world.

4 Quoted in Denise Green, Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New Paradigm

(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 22.

“Familiar Landscapes, or the Time of Artifice: Jennifer

Santa Monica (pl. 14). Although the painting references

Left of Center: Five Years of the Anderson Collection at

Bartlett’s At the Lake, Morning,” which focuses on several

California’s suburban landscape, Diebenkorn’s expressive

Stanford University addresses the sense of place—namely,

artists in the Anderson Collection who spent their formative

and energetic brushstrokes also betray the influence of

California—that offered Billy Al Bengston and Ed Moses

years in California. Elizabeth Murray, for example,

New York School painters such as Willem de Kooning

the opportunity to cultivate a personal style and provided

completed graduate work at Mills College in Oakland

and Philip Guston.

Vija Celmins, Elizabeth Murray, and Nancy Graves with a

while Nancy Graves first studied art at the University of

respite from the commercial art world in New York.

California Los Angeles (UCLA). The relative autonomy

Encounters with the American West were equally important

California was similarly meaningful to Paul Wonner and

of the West Coast art scene would push Murray to explore

for artists included in Left of Center who are based outside

Richard Diebenkorn, both of whom took lessons from New

painting on surfaces other than the traditional flat canvas

California. Rather than react to cultural trends within

York School artists before making a home in the Bay Area.

and Graves to create three-dimensional works using

the art world, Agnes Martin and Terry Winters were each

And, finally, paintings by Agnes Martin and Terry Winters

unconventional materials, such as mechanical gears and

affected by the profound natural force of the landscape.

speak to the importance that both culture and the natural

fabricated animal bones.

Martin created Untitled #21 (1980) while living in Taos,

landscape hold for a sense of place. The building that

New Mexico, where she spent most of her career (pl. 12).

houses the Anderson Collection at Stanford University is,

Through the works of artists such as Bartlett, Murray,

Although the painting is not a straightforward representa-

itself, a reflection on the exhibition’s theme, as Danny

and Graves, Left of Center explores the manner in which

tion of the high desert environment, Martin’s Untitled #21

Smith’s essay on the Anderson Collection staircase attests.

West Coast artists influenced the broader field of twentieth-

suggests the pink sand and gray peaks of the Sangre de

Smith focuses on the presence of the building that has

century American art. Christian Whitworth’s essay

Cristo Mountains with alternating pink, yellow, blue-gray,

welcomed students to take part in the Anderson family’s

“A Window Caked with Light: Paul Wonner, Richard

and white stripes. Commenting on the relationship

commitment to art since it opened its doors five years ago.

Diebenkorn, and the Refraction of Paint” likewise addresses

between her work and the American West, Martin said,

Just as the artists in the collection profoundly impacted the


11

Danny Smith

VIEWER ASCENDING a STAIRCASE

Slowly. That’s the only way to go up the long and sloping staircase that links the lobby

of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University to its upstairs galleries (fig. 1). The

stairs—forty-three in total—are short and deep. Each tread is barely four inches high

with a depth of almost fourteen inches. That ratio—a shallow rise and a deep run—is

unusual for a staircase. It is unusual enough, in fact, that as you start to climb the

stairs you have to pay attention to your stride, far more so than you would on any

other staircase. You are forced to take short, careful steps—many more than you

would think you would need to ascend a flight.

At first the effect is somewhat off-putting. The short rise feels too low for a single

footstep, but the treads are too deep to take two at a time. There’s nothing for it but

to go at the pace the stairs require, slowly, methodically, actually thinking about how

you are climbing a staircase. But what feels plodding at the onset becomes almost

meditative. The short steps mean the climb isn’t particularly arduous or tiring; the

stairs just require a little more of your attention as you take each step at a time,

carefully not lifting your foot too high, placing your whole foot on each tread as you

go. Maybe you’re chatting, or looking at your phone, or just not paying attention when

you start to climb. But by the time you’re a few steps in, the staircase has your focus.

Conversations pause. Phones slip back into pockets.

figure 1

Staircase leading to the second floor of the Anderson Collection


12 danny smith

viewer ascending a staircase

13

Something happens on the stairs—something almost imperceptible but utterly fundamental

to the Anderson Collection itself. It’s physical, sure, as your body adjusts to

the environment of the building, but it’s also more than that. It’s a microcosm of the

museum, a tiny echo of what the Anderson Collection can do. That staircase, those

forty-three steps of polished concrete, takes you away from Stanford’s quads, from

classes and assignments, from emails and group text threads and Snapchat stories.

It takes you into an immersive world of visual art, of sculptures that play with light

and space, of paintings of profound and endless depth. Between the everyday of

campus and the timelessness of the Anderson Collection, the staircase is a few

moments pause, a re-centering, a subtle reminder to think about how you move

through the world.

You may not know it in the moment, but somehow the staircase works on you. You find

yourself upstairs in the galleries in front of Mark Rothko’s Pink and White over Red

(1957), lost in the vastness and immensity of its color. Or you are unconsciously

walking in circles around Martin Puryear’s Dumb Luck (1990), following the layers

of wire mesh daubed in thick, black tar. Or you are standing in front of Robert Irwin’s

Untitled (1969), a disk of lacquered acrylic that appears to disappear into the wall

(pl. 8); before it your eyes toggle between seeing the artwork’s almost invisible edges

and letting them blur into the surfaces of the building itself. You are in the crook of

brilliant blue at the center of Robert Motherwell’s Italian Summer (1963) (fig. 2).

The campus and the whole world outside feel impossibly distant.

The staircase and the building it traverses were designed by Richard Olcott of Ennead

Architects. The structure’s exterior is clad in panels of tan stone that matches the

Santa Teresa sandstone of the campus’s oldest buildings. Downstairs, the building has

a lobby and cloakroom, a small gallery for temporary exhibitions, as well as a well-lit

classroom, and an administrative wing is neatly tucked away. But upstairs the building

is open and vast. Echoing Stanford’s quads, the galleries form a ring around a central

figure 2

Robert Motherwell, Italian Summer, 1963, Oil on canvas on hexel panel, 90 x 70 in.


14 danny smith

viewer ascending a staircase

15

void punctuated by the staircase. Large

picture windows at the front of the museum

open onto Lomita Drive and afford a view

of trees and greenery. The gallery spaces

themselves offer unobstructed vistas, each visible from another. A gently undulating

ceiling links the galleries, drawing your gaze around the space. The building is contemporary

and bright, straightforward and supremely easy to maneuver. It blends

gracefully into the architecture of Stanford’s campus and the foliage of Stanford’s

landscape. But in this otherwise unassuming building, the peculiar staircase feels

all the more conspicuous.

But Olcott’s staircase reminds you how. Its short steps slow you down, force you to

pay attention to how you’re moving; they demand your focus.

The staircase primes you to experience the works in the Anderson Collection. The way

in which you ascend the stairs—conscious of your body and the physical space around

you and how awkward you may feel taking tiny, little steps—accomplishes what the

best work of art can do. Like an artwork, the staircase changes how you perceive your

environment. It takes what could otherwise be ordinary and somehow electrifies it,

defamiliarizes it. Above all, it reminds you to slow down and appreciate it.

Olcott’s staircase has a long history: for more than a century, architects have been

using the staircase as a subtle way to assert something of a museum’s ethos to its

visitors. Richard Morris Hunt’s grand exterior stairs to the facade of the Metropolitan

Museum of Art projects largesse and civic grandeur; Giuseppe Momo’s wrought-iron,

spiraling double-helix stair at the Vatican Museums in Rome (fig. 3) harkens back

to a private staircase designed for Pope Innocent VIII by Donato Bramante in 1505.

But unlike many of its predecessors, Olcott’s staircase isn’t a dramatic architectural

statement. It doesn’t telegraph the museum’s stature or its history. It just provides

a subtle reminder.

The Andersons’ gift to Stanford was more than simply an outstanding collection of

modern and contemporary art. Theirs was a gift of the time and the space to lose

yourself in paintings and sculptures. But even with this incredible resource on

Stanford’s campus, it’s hard to take full advantage of it. It’s hard to take yourself

away from the everyday stress and busyness of academic life and just to be open and

attentive to the world in the way that the art of the Anderson Collection deserves.

figure 3

Staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo at the Vatican Museums


plate 1

VIJA CELMINS

Barrier, 1985–86

Oil and wax on linen, 70 x 72 in.

plate 2

PETER ALEXANDER

Untitled, 1971

Polyester resin, 88 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 5 1/4 in.


plate 3

PHILIP GUSTON

The Tale, 1961

Oil on canvas, 68 1/4 x 72 in.

plate 4

ROBERT ARNESON

Hommage to Philip Guston, 1981

Glaze on ceramic, 18 3/8 x 17 x 14 3/8 in.


plate 5

RONALD DAVIS

Spoke, 1968

Polyester resin and fiberglass, 56 3/4 x 135 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.


plate 6

BILLY AL BENGSTON

Lux Lovely, 1962

Nitrocellulose lacquer and oil on Masonite, 72 1/4 x 72 1/4 in.

plate 7

ED MOSES

Ill. Hegemann 30, 1972

Pigment and resin on canvas, 89 1/4 x 103 5/8 in.


25

Kelly Filreis

SPACES, STUNTS, and SURFACES

Dear Walter, L.A. is a fast city. Love, Wallace.

—wallace berman

Los Angeles in the mid-1950s might conjure images of a newly designed freeway

system, the glamour of Hollywood, and the fantasy of starting one’s life anew under

the ever-present radiant sun. The city has long attracted actors, artists, inventors,

and writers under that very ambition. However, artist Wallace Berman’s enigmatic

note to Ferus Gallery founder Walter Hopps does not express a particular American

optimism. Where the term “fast” might connote speed and development, it might also

imply recklessness, capriciousness, or carelessness. Charged with obscenity after

his first and only solo exhibition at Ferus Gallery was shut down by the police,

Berman would quickly (albeit temporarily) make his escape from the fast city to

the San Francisco Bay Area.

plate 8

ROBERT IRWIN

Untitled, 1969

Acrylic lacquer on cast acrylic, 53 x 24 1/2 in.

Nevertheless, the occasion for Berman’s farewell note teems with the volatile

restlessness of the city’s burgeoning, yet undeveloped art scene and counterculture.

According to critic Peter Plagens, even into the early 1960s, “there really [wasn’t] any

‘art world’” in Los Angeles. 1 The ragtag “boys club” of artists represented by Ferus

Gallery—including Robert Irwin, Billy Al Bengston, and Ed Moses—would find in

this lack the opportunity for inventing themselves. 2 Although the gallery itself was

short-lived (founded in 1957 and closed in 1966), the seeming boundlessness of the

Ferus artists and gallerists such as Hopps, Ed Kienholz, and Irving Blum influenced

generations of Los Angeles–based artists in the ensuing decades.


26 kelly filreis

spaces, stunts, and surfaces

27

The presence of such Los Angeles–based artists in Left of Center allows for a reflection

on the Anderson Collection as a whole, for among the disparate movements, eras, and

geographic locations represented in the museum galleries is a resonating interest in

expressivity, materiality, and in putting the body at the center of one’s artwork. This

originates in the Abstract Expressionist paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, Franz

Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, which form the historical foundation for

the collection at Stanford. Critic Harold Rosenberg’s 1952 assertion of the canvas

as an “arena in which to act” succinctly articulates how the very stakes of postwar

American painting shifted toward art as an event. 3 The artist’s gesture would not

merely result in an image but instead forge a path of relationality between the beholder

and the artist.

This understanding of art as event extends to the alluring surfaces produced by some

Los Angeles artists featured in the exhibition. Robert Irwin’s Untitled (1969) initially

appears worlds apart from the gestural abstract paintings made by the Abstract

Expressionists two decades prior (pl. 8). A translucent white acrylic disk appears to

float with no visible support while its rounded edges fade into the wall on which it

hangs. The center is interrupted by a sharply painted horizontal band that obscures

the artwork’s depth, producing a phenomenal effect that is at once painterly and

sculptural. Irwin, like Rothko before him, heightened the beholder’s sensorial perception

through an immersive interplay of light, space, and form. The pacing of this work,

however, is not fast or immediate. Rather, Untitled reveals itself slowly over time,

destabilizing the certainty of what one sees and experiences.

Mid-century Los Angeles artists not only engaged in questions of the body through

their artistic production but also in their artistic personas and publicity, finding

new ways to define the very terms in which one receives an artist’s work. In the case

of Billy Al Bengston, his self-representation and the art from his Ferus period are

inseparable. A 1961 exhibition announcement features a photograph of a mustachioed

Bengston donning goggles and a helmet and captured

midjump on his motorcycle (fig. 1). Crouching and

leaning forward on the bike, the frontality of his

body threatens to break free from the oval frame that

contains him. Bengston, while trained as a painter

under Richard Diebenkorn, was also an Aub LeBard–

sponsored motorcycle racer and Hollywood stuntman. As he recalled in 2016, “Racing

motorcycles was supposed to be the most dangerous thing you could do. So I did it to

make a living . . . I could jump off a building and make enough to live for a month,

without even thinking about it.” 4 The thrill of racing was also a source of financial

gain, a means to sustain his art and livelihood. The role of the artist, Bengston’s

self-promotion suggests, is to perform, in many ways, as a stuntman. His posturing

of California “cool”—a characteristic of the Ferus scene as a whole—would in turn

become crucial in forming the enduring mythology of Los Angeles art.

However, Bengston’s Lux Lovely (1962) does not merely replicate the heroic, masculine

gestures that the very persona of the artist as stuntman implies but instead playfully

reflects the attitude of Bengston’s life in Los Angeles (pl. 6). The flat surface is

covered in clashing hues; acidic green fades into rusty orange that is then surrounded

by a bold blue border painted to the very edge of the canvas. In the center, a silvery

oval and an olive-green circle resemble a sinister eye placed on the Masonite board

with a confrontational centrality that seems to register the viewer’s presence. In the

center, a bubblegum pink “pupil” is inflected through the use of chevron sergeant

stripes, a heraldic motif that appears throughout his work, alluding to automotive

design. The vibrant opticality of the surface, unlike the monochromatic effects of

figure 1

Ferus Gallery announcement featuring Billy Al Bengston, ca. 1961


28 kelly filreis

spaces, stunts, and surfaces

29

Irwin’s Untitled, does not offer a kind of transcendent, slow looking. It instead

vibrates as if a roadside warning sign. Iconography and abstraction literally

collide on the canvas to tell the viewer, in Bengston’s own sardonic words, “[pay]

attention (motherfuckers).” 5

about through wide-ranging, multiple contexts: from fleeting visual sensations, to the

reckless danger of propelling oneself into the air, to material experimentation, and

finally, the unpredictability of human experience seized, but not fixed in place, by each

artist in his or her work.

Ed Moses’s life experiences surpassed the manufactured dangers of the stuntman.

As Hopps recounts, “the informing experience of Ed’s life” was his time in the Navy

Medical Corps during World War II, where direct encounters with abject violence

and injury meant “willfully putting yourself in a situation with an unpredictable

outcome . . . way beyond what you could’ve imagined, and more horrific.” 6 Moses

approached painting with a similar sense of both careful material control and the

uncertainty that comes from painterly spontaneity. Ill. Hegemann 30 (1972) shares

with many earlier Abstract Expressionist paintings an immense scale and physical

traces of the artist’s process (pl. 7). Retreating both from conventional oil paint and

from the gleaming “finish-fetish” of many of his peers, Moses instead applied translucent

resin and pigment to the canvas that he masked off in layers with tape, taking

inspiration from illustrations of Navajo weavings he found reproduced in the pages of

a book by the author and photographer Elizabeth Compton Hegemann. The resulting

quilt-like work appears stained and bruised, encased in a hardened resin shell. Unlike

Irwin’s disappearing edge in Untitled, and Bengston’s sharply defined edge in Lux

Lovely, the wavering edges of Ill. Hegemann 30 leave the work in an almost-continually

changing state that draws attention to its vulnerability—even its life span—as a

mutable surface.

1 Amy Newman, Challenging Art: Artforum 1962–1974 (New York: Soho, 2000), 31.

2 Peter Plagens, “Ferus,” Artforum (December 2002): 131.

3 Harold Rosenberg, “The American Action Painters,” in The Tradition of the New (New York: Horizon, 2016), 25.

4 Jennifer Samet, “Beer with a Painter: Billy Al Bengston,” Hyperallergic, October 29, 2016, https://hyperallergic.com/333818/beerwith-a-painter-billy-al-bengston/.

5 “Sorta Bio,” on Billy Al Bengston’s official website, accessed May 20, 2019, http://www.billyalbengston.com/BriefBiography.html.

6 Kristine McKenna, The Ferus Gallery: A Place to Begin (Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2009), 76.

The presence of these works in Left of Center ultimately does not serve to create

a comprehensive portrait of the city that called to—and, in the case of Berman,

repelled—so many artists in the postwar period. While the short history of the tightknit

Ferus group might imply a cohesion of styles and approaches, this is far from the

reality of each individual artist. So much art production during this moment came


plate 9

WILLEM DE KOONING

Woman Standing—Pink, 1954–55

Oil and charcoal on canvas, 48 x 36 in.

plate 10

TERRY WINTERS

Theophrastus’ Garden, 1982

Oil on linen, 87 x 70 in.


plate 11

ROBERT THERRIEN

No title (chapel), 1985

Oil and wax on wood, 52 x 16 x 4 1/2 in.

plate 12

AGNES MARTIN

Untitled #21, 1980

Acrylic, gesso, and graphite on canvas, 72 x 72 in.


plate 13

JACKSON POLLOCK

Lucifer, 1947

Oil and enamel on canvas, 41 3/16 x 105 1/2 in.


plate 14

RICHARD DIEBENKORN

Ocean Park #60, 1973

Oil on canvas, 93 x 81 1/4 in.

plate 15

MARK TOBEY

Window, 1953

Casein on board on Masonite, 44 3/8 x 28 1/2 in.


39

Christian Whitworth

A WINDOW CAKED with LIGHT:

PAUL WONNER, RICHARD DIEBENKORN,

and the REFRACTION of PAINT

California [is] . . . a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.

—john steinbeck, Cannery Row

plate 16

PAUL WONNER

Figure by Window, 1962

Oil on canvas, 59 3/4 x 46 3/8 in.

So many accounts of California attest to the idiosyncratic pleasures of its light—how

it moves with such calm and effervescence before it compounds as material form

along the edge of the horizon just as day succumbs to dusk. And one always wakes

again to find it passing through the bedroom window, laying claim to the shape of the

home and the beginning of yet another day. The woman in Paul Wonner’s painting

Figure by Window (1962) turns her back to this light (pl. 16). With her hand at her chin

and her fingers more relaxed than the leaves of the nearby house plant, she studies the

newspaper in her lap. But the contents of its pages matter little in comparison to the

playful dance of light happening around her. The window constructs the space by

illuminating it, and each material surface within the frame, regardless of reflectivity,

becomes a metaphorical mirror to the light’s shifting effervescence. The crest of the

pillow, for example, catches the warm glow of the afternoon light. The back of her

hand twists just enough toward her face to reflect from below some light onto the

shadow of her turned cheek. Here, amidst the wash of dark, gestural strokes, rests the

glint of her eye. She seems not to read the paper before her but to watch it, its white

surface catching the light collecting and cohering on the surface of the window

behind her, a result of shifting, nuanced hues of paint. Ethereal, ever-moving, unfixed,

the light that curves along the edges of the window frame falls forth into the room and

onto the page, and the woman, residing within, surrenders to study its fluctuating

relations, its communal qualities, its Steinbeckian habits and dreams.


40 christian whitworth

a window caked with light: paul wonner, richard diebenkorn, and the refraction of paint

41

Wonner’s seated woman serves as a surrogate for artists, art historians, critics,

collectors, and viewers alike who also seek to study the shifting relations and

shared aesthetic qualities of mid-twentieth-century California painters, even as

they themselves draw influence and inspiration from other corners of the country.

The window, then, becomes a metaphor not for a lens through which to view these

shifting relations but a plane onto which they, like the strokes of light in Wonner’s

painting, collect, cohere, mix, and meander. We study this play of light just as we

study the paintings themselves, and their makers’ association in turn becomes the

subject of our focused contemplation.

If we take Wonner’s Figure by Window as our entry point into this mode of study, we

might find within this light a sort of tension between the artist’s sources of education.

Wonner left Arizona for California in 1937 to begin his training at the California

College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. There, Wonner practiced the tenets of traditional

academic artistic education that would serve him throughout his career: figural

representation drawn from plaster casts and live models. It was not until his discharge

from the US Army in 1946 that Wonner’s characteristic abstract-realist style truly

began. Living in New York City between 1946 and 1950, Wonner immersed himself

within the world of Abstract Expressionist thought and practice. He attended programs

and lectures at Robert Motherwell’s Studio 35, where artists, critics, and museum

professionals gathered around the table and spoke of their variegated concerns. 1

“I would consider a work finished,” stated the sculptor Ibram Lassaw on the first of

a three-day series of artists’ sessions in April 1950, “when I sense a ‘togetherness,’

a participation of all parts as in an organism.” 2

With these lessons of sociality and togetherness, Wonner returned to the Bay Area to

earn his MFA under the direction of Hans Hofmann at the University of California,

Berkeley. In Figure by Window, the free-form figural tendencies Wonner absorbed

in New York converge with the “push-pull” influence of Hofmann’s abstracted

rectangular fields of paint. This union is best seen in the window, in which the wavy,

free-form brushstrokes always remain delimited by the frame. But by situating the

figure just below the window, Wonner seemingly placed himself within the pictorial

composition. He studies, as does the woman, the play of light and the construction

of place. This window caked with light carries with it those affinities between

abstraction and figuration, expression and stasis, inside and outside, East Coast

and West Coast.

A review of the works in the Anderson Collection reveals a window motif, most

likely a result of the pervasiveness of California-based artists and their recognition

of the state’s singular style of light. But if we take Wonner’s window as a site for the

aforementioned convergence and blurring of styles, we start to see other artists’

windows as having a similar function. When the painter Richard Diebenkorn moved

to the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica in September 1966, he peered

through his own studio window—located at 2448 Main Street, just two blocks from

the Pacific Ocean—to illustrate the material effects of the California light he experienced.

In Ocean Park #60 (1973), part of a larger series begun in 1967, Diebenkorn

suffused his canvas with the pale Pacific light he witnessed passing into and onto his

window (pl. 14). Shades of blue and teal paint become architectonic planes when

framed by the sharp, angular lines stacked at the top and right edges of the canvas.

The canvas, in turn, becomes a window at once transparent and opaque, and this

diligent study of light becomes a way for the artist to articulate his place in a world

of painting.

As much as Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series exhibits a personal shift toward abstraction,

we must not view it as a total separation from his earlier figurative work, much

of which was produced in Berkeley. As curator John Elderfield notes, “Diebenkorn’s

new imagery, in the Ocean Park series, may be thought of as a barrier and a link to the

bodily imagery of preceding paintings.” 3 When compared to the women in Wonner’s


42 christian whitworth

a window caked with light: paul wonner, richard diebenkorn, and the refraction of paint

43

Figure by Window and Diebenkorn’s earlier Girl

on the Beach (1957) (fig. 1), the Ocean Park series

suggests Diebenkorn turned his back on his

former artistic education and experimentation.

But to turn one’s back may still be a mode of studying, reading, and repeating the

residual effects of an earlier method. The differences between Girl on the Beach and

Ocean Park #60 may be many, but in both the artist situated himself in relation to

his own artistic formation. Through light, he recognized his spatial and temporal

relationship to the world, grasped his own errors and mistakes, and worked and

reworked the surface of the canvas to bring together hard-won resolutions into a

window-like, balanced composition.

I too reflect on my own contemplative

study of Wonner’s and Diebenkorn’s

paintings by seeing their works as

windows onto my page. If my writing is to be taken as the content of this page, then

what might be a more revelatory experience is a vision of the light dancing on this

surface, reflecting the window nearby in order to construct the space and place

around me. Their canvases, whether of windows or as windows, serve as timely

reminders of the importance of place and the coalescence of light. Within the

Anderson Collection, they function in a similar manner: they materialize California

light, dispersing it across the space of the gallery while disclosing modern painting’s

tradition, style, and sociality.

When in 1984 the retired Stanford professor of photography Leo Holub was in the

midst of his artists’ portrait project—a project in fact commissioned by Harry and

Mary Margaret Anderson—he captured a shot of Diebenkorn in his Santa Monica

home (fig. 2). In this print, Diebenkorn sits on a couch with his legs crossed as he flips

through a book on his lap. As in Wonner’s Figure by Window, what appears on the

pages of the book is less important than the series of windows lining the wall behind

Diebenkorn. Three framed images from his Ocean Park series hang on the wall behind

him, all three illuminated by the window at the far-left end of the room. In their own

special way, they too illuminate the space, projecting their atmospheric effects onto

the page that Diebenkorn reads with careful contemplation. His study becomes ours,

and Holub’s photograph documents the relationship between these artists within the

Anderson Collection, serving as yet another mediator in the examination of paint,

light, and artistic tradition.

1 Seymour Lipton, Norman Lewis, Adolf Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Alfred Barr, Willem de Kooning, Ibram Lassaw, Ad Reinhardt, and

Richard Poussette-Dart, to name only a few, established a new vision of modern art through conversation and a shared attitude.

2 Ibram Lassaw, “The First Day,” in Artists’ Sessions at Studio 35 (1950), ed. Robert Goodnough (Chicago: Soberscove Press, 2011), 18.

3 John Elderfield, “Leaving Ocean Park,” in The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, ed. Jane Livingston, exh. cat. (New York: Whitney Museum

of American Art, 1997), 111.

figure 1

Richard Diebenkorn, Girl on the Beach, 1957, Oil on canvas, 52 1/8 x 57 1/4 in.

figure 2

Leo Holub, Richard Diebenkorn, Santa Monica, 1984, 1984, Gelatin silver print, 9 3/4 x 11 7/16 in.


plate 17

JAY DEFEO

Summer Image (For My Mother), 1983

Oil and acrylic on paper, 67 3/4 x 44 3/4 in.

plate 18

ROBERT THERRIEN

No title (hangman), 1988

Enamel on aluminum and brass, 90 x 72 x 12 in.


plate 19

ELIZABETH MURRAY

Mouse Cup, 1981–82

Oil on two canvases, 112 x 97 1/4 in.


plate 20

LOUISE NEVELSON

Sky Garden, 1959–64

Enamel on wood, 99 5/8 x 61 x 17 1/2 in.

plate 21

NANCY GRAVES

Telestich, 1988

Carbon and stainless steel, iron and bronze, 31 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 9 1/2 in.


51

Beatrice Smigasiewicz

FAMILIAR LANDSCAPES,

or the TIME OF ARTIFICE:

JENNIFER BARTLETT’S

A T the LAKE, MORNING

You cannot fold a flood

And put it in a drawer,—

—emily dickinson, “CXXXIII”

Boxes hold things that we cannot. They organize objects that we wouldn’t otherwise

know where to put or how to keep together. They serve as a means of measurement

and as a way of guarding against the abstract mess of “things.” As the California-born

artist Jennifer Bartlett explains, “If you paint a red square, you have a red square of a

certain measurable dimension. If you paint a vase of flowers, the vase of flowers is not

measurable[;]” rather, it is “more abstract than the red square.” 1 Bartlett is caught

between this dynamic of containing, measuring, and wanting to let each piece go.

At the Anderson Collection, Bartlett’s At the Lake, Morning (1979) (pl. 22) is exhibited

beside the New York artist Louise Nevelson’s Sky Garden (1959–64) (pl. 20). When

compared to Nevelson’s work, At the Lake, Morning struggles to keep together a

depiction of a landscape that wants to separate into the boxes of the grid that hold it

together. While Nevelson, like a Robinson Crusoe, built an art form from what seems

like remnants salvaged from a life past, Bartlett in her paintings deconstructed images

of iconic domesticated spaces: the house, the garden, and the lake.

plate 22

JENNIFER BARTLETT

At the Lake, Morning, 1979

Enamel, serigraph on steel/oil on canvas, 77 x 197 in.

Bartlett rose to prominence during the late 1960s in the male-dominated New York

art scene. The scene was characterized by a distinctly fraternal form of inheritance

shaped by the legacy of Jackson Pollock. Her situation was also colored by the then

already historic and fracturing response to the Abstract Expressionist movement as


52 beatrice smigasiewicz

familiar landscapes, or the time of artifice: jennifer bartlett’s At the Lake, Morning

53

well as the fact that one of Bartlett’s most intimate networks was centered around

Paula Cooper and her eponymous New York gallery. Although Bartlett wasn’t represented

by Cooper until 1974, the artist knew the gallery owner because Cooper represented

many of Bartlett’s Yale classmates, some of whose works—most notably, Nancy

Graves’s and Elizabeth Murray’s—were also collected by the Anderson family. 2

Bartlett, like many women artists of her generation, claimed that she had little

interest in expressing an aesthetic that took gender to be primary; she instead

engaged in an exploration of the formal artistic models passed down from the Abstract

Expressionists as a means of artistic exercise. 3 She developed a multifaceted painterly

system that sprung from various stylistic connections rather than from a single

system. She culled from Conceptualism by way of her mentor, painter Sol LeWitt;

from Neo-Impressionism via George Seurat’s dot; from Minimalism through the grid.

Bartlett drew on such varied visual traditions to create a language of amalgamation

that subjected the terms “abstraction” and “representation” to battle and travail.

It is precisely her conversation with these traditions that allowed her to assert—

as she did in an interview with Elizabeth Murray, her long-time friend from her

undergraduate years at Mills College and later Yale—that abstract painting is actually

more figurative than figurative painting, her reasoning being that abstract painting

frequently more closely depicts the object it portrays. According to Bartlett, this

has to do with how color defines the object. For example, if we can measure the red

square in a painting, we then know how much it contains as well as the color ratio it

represents on the picture plane. The red vase, on the other hand, is more abstract

because we cannot as easily measure how much it holds. 4

It is this struggle to contain that makes Bartlett’s work so fascinating. Take for

instance the negation at the center of At the Lake, Morning, acquired from the Paula

Cooper Gallery by the Andersons in 1981, just two years after it was made. Although

this work engages her career-long preoccupation with images of water, the lake

appears restrained, even tamed by the setup of the oil-painted canvas on one side

against the steel plates on the other. The configuration creates an impression of a

close-up, a kind of “artist’s dissection table” on one side that counters the performative

brushstrokes on the canvas on the other. We are meant to set them against one another,

but the stakes are slippery: Which side is more abstract? Which side is more figurative?

Which side is the “real” representation? In this stylistic hybrid, Bartlett staged the

reciprocal interference of visual traditions: one conceptual system roils within

another and demonstrates how far more disquieting such a synthesis is than allowing

works to function in a single conceptual system.

The New York School poet Barbara Guest observed that it is the grid that has stayed

with Bartlett throughout her work and is central to the understanding of her art. 5

In 1968 Bartlett started using one-square-foot steel plates as the basic module for

her paintings, a common practice among Minimalists consumed with questions of

pure form. For Bartlett, the modular units separated the elements within a painting

like words in a sentence. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Bartlett always used

recognizable figurative images; this method can show the classic tree or the quintessential

mountain as a stand-in—like a word—in its most recognizable symbolic

shape. The effect, she envisioned, would be like that of a conversation in which

individual pieces could be taken up, dropped, and then returned to in a different

form. Bartlett heard many interwoven voices in this conversation, as it included


54 beatrice smigasiewicz

familiar landscapes, or the time of artifice: jennifer bartlett’s At the Lake, Morning

55

everything: figurative

and nonfigurative

images could appear

in small scale on

individual squares or spread out over a great many squares. Her conviction in the

interchangeability of the individual grid squares was such an inherent fundamental

principle that in 1976, while displaying the 926-square piece Rhapsody (1975–76)

in the Paula Cooper Gallery, she was left bewildered when the artwork sold at once

(fig. 1). 6 Bartlett installed each distinct square at an interval of one inch. In this way,

the gaps mimicked pauses, like the white space between words. She had planned to

replace each unit as it sold individually, highlighting not only the interchangeability

of the fragment in the totality of the artwork itself but also its independence from it.

grid to create distance with perspective. Bartlett’s painting of an iconic landscape is

deconstructed and simultaneously contained by the grid, each section fluttering in its

own little window like a captured wing under glass, each part frozen in space and time

for us to open like a box.

1 Betsy Sussler, “Jennifer Bartlett by Elizabeth Murray,” BOMB, October 1, 2005, https://bombmagazine.org/articles/jennifer-bartlett/.

2 Brenda Richardson, Jennifer Bartlett: Early Plate Work, exh. cat. (Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 2006), 19.

3 Ibid.

4 Sussler, “Jennifer Bartlett by Elizabeth Murray.”

5 Deborah Eisenberg, Air: 24 Hours, Jennifer Bartlett (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994), 12.

6 Calvin Tomkins, “Profiles: Getting Everything In,” New Yorker, April 15, 1985, 57.

7 Rosalind Krauss, “Grids,” in Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010), 15.

This interpretation of containment is present even in the quality of her mark making.

In At the Lake, Morning, the painterly quality of the brushstrokes of enamel paint

pulls the focus away from the symbolic subject of the lake. As in the works of the

Neo-Impressionist painter Seurat, the marks focus the question instead on that of

color. Each color engages in abstraction. Just as Seurat disassociated color from form

by means of the dot, Bartlett separated color and form from content by means of the

grid. It is never about the lake but, rather, her ideas about it, contained and organized

by the grid. We can consider the grid in the way art critic Rosalind Krauss described:

as the basic law of artistic knowledge, where the grid creates “the separation of the

perceptual screen from that of the ‘real,’” where it symbolizes the infrastructure of

vision in art history. 7 Bartlett employed the screen of the grid to contain the image

and distance herself from it in a way that painters during the Renaissance used the

figure 1

Jennifer Bartlett, Rhapsody, 1975–76, Enamel on steel, Overall approx. 7 ft. 6 in. x 153 ft.


56 57

works in the exhibition

Unless otherwise noted, all works are holdings of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University and are gifts of

Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence.

peter alexander

Untitled, 1971

Polyester resin

88 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (225.4 x 13 x 13.3 cm)

2014.1.025

nancy graves

Telestich, 1988

Carbon and stainless steel, iron and bronze

31 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (79 x 79 x 24.1 cm)

2014.1.096

leo holub

Ron Davis, 1989

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

jackson pollock

Lucifer, 1947

Oil and enamel on canvas

41 3/16 x 105 1/2 in. (104.6 x 268 cm)

2014.1.019

robert arneson

Hommage to Philip Guston, 1981

Glaze on ceramic

18 3/8 x 17 x 14 3/8 in. (46.7 x 43.2 x 36.5 cm)

2014.1.058

philip guston

The Tale, 1961

Oil on canvas

68 1/4 x 72 in. (173.4 x 182.9 cm)

2014.1.046

leo holub

Hunk and Moo Anderson, 1993

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

robert therrien

No title (chapel), 1985

Oil and wax on wood

52 x 16 x 4 1/2 in. (132.1 x 40.6 x 11.4 cm)

2014.1.073

jennifer bartlett

At the Lake, Morning, 1979

Enamel, serigraph on steel/oil on canvas

77 x 197 in. (195.6 x 500.4 cm)

2014.1.050

leo holub

Billy Al Bengston, 1984

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

leo holub

Robert Therrien, 1993

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

robert therrien

No title (hangman), 1988

Enamel on aluminum and brass

90 x 72 x 12 in. (228.6 x 182.9 x 30.5 cm)

2014.1.097

billy al bengston

Lux Lovely, 1962

Nitrocellulose lacquer and oil on Masonite

72 1/4 x 72 1/4 in. (183.5 x 183.5 cm)

2014.1.022

leo holub

Jay DeFeo, 1984

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

willem de kooning

Woman Standing—Pink, 1954–55

Oil and charcoal on canvas

48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

2014.1.018

mark tobey

Window, 1953

Casein on board on Masonite

44 3/8 x 28 1/2 in. (112.7 x 72.4 cm)

2014.1.014

vija celmins

Barrier, 1985–86

Oil and wax on linen

70 x 72 in. (177.8 x 182.9 cm)

2014.1.081

leo holub

Elizabeth Murray, 1986

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

agnes martin

Untitled #21, 1980

Acrylic, gesso, and graphite on canvas

72 x 72 in. (182.9 x 182.9 cm)

2014.1.110

terry winters

Theophrastus’ Garden, 1982

Oil on linen

87 x 70 in. (221 x 177.8 cm)

2014.1.105

ronald davis

Spoke, 1968

Polyester resin and fiberglass

56 3/4 x 135 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (144.2 x 344.8 x 5.7 cm)

2014.1.027

leo holub

Vija Celmins, 1986

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

ed moses

Ill. Hegemann 30, 1972

Pigment and resin on canvas

89 1/4 x 103 5/8 in. (226.7 x 263.2 cm)

2014.1.069

paul wonner

Figure by Window, 1962

Oil on canvas

59 3/4 x 46 3/8 in. (151.8 x 117.8 cm)

2014.1.001

jay defeo

Summer Image (For My Mother), 1983

Oil and acrylic on paper

67 3/4 x 44 3/4 in. (172.1 x 113.7 cm)

2014.1.067

leo holub

Ed Moses, 1989

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

elizabeth murray

Mouse Cup, 1981–82

Oil on two canvases

112 x 97 1/4 in. (284.5 x 247 cm)

2014.1.100

richard diebenkorn

Ocean Park #60, 1973

Oil on canvas

93 x 81 1/4 in. (236.2 x 206.4 cm)

2014.1.044

leo holub

Jennifer Bartlett, 1989

Gelatin silver print

18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)

Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

louise nevelson

Sky Garden, 1959–64

Enamel on wood

99 5/8 x 61 x 17 1/2 in. (253.1 x 154.9 x 44.5 cm)

2014.1.051

This listing reflects the information available

at the time of publication.


58 59

acknowledgments contributors photography credits

As with any exhibition and publication, Left of Center did not

come into being through the imagination and hands of a single

person. Rather, the success of this project depended on a team

of people interfacing with one another, growing and learning

together, communicating their ideas, and sharing their unique

skills and creativity.

First, I would like to thank the curators of the Left of Center

exhibition, Stanford University students and PhD candidates

Kelly Filreis, Amber Harper, Linden Hill, Beatrice Smigasiewicz,

Jennie Waldow, Christian Whitworth, and Jennie Yoon for their

many contributions. I am especially grateful to Amber for her

assistance in managing the curatorial process and her introduction

to this catalogue as well as to Kelly, Beatrice, Christian, and Danny

Smith for their thought-provoking catalogue essays. The curators’

fresh insights into the artworks and their willingness to experiment

with the presentation of these works as a collection shaped the

museum’s fifth anniversary exhibition.

In developing this project and making the presentation of Left of

Center possible, I thank the staff of the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University for the expertise and effort they devoted to

this project as well as their open communication and collaboration.

Particularly, I express gratitude to Aimee Shapiro for her work

with students on programming ideas, editing texts and design, and

publicizing the exhibition; Jean MacDougall for providing access to

records and artworks, editing texts, and developing the exhibition

schedule; Mark Shunney for his collaboration as well as his expertise

in installing artworks safely and managing a team of installers; Betty

Noguchi and Celeste Scholz for supporting volunteers and visitors

and keeping them well-informed; and intern Mikel Daniel-Robinson

for valuable writing and copyediting assistance.

In producing this publication, many thanks are due to Amanda

Glesmann in her role as a dynamo project manager, James Brendan

Williams for the thoughtful and striking design, and Jane Takac

Panza, an editor extraordinaire.

I would like to convey my deep appreciation to the Anderson

family—Moo Anderson, Putter Pence, and Devin Pence—for so

much, including their ongoing encouragement, loans to the

exhibition, support from the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson

Charitable Foundation, and contributions to The Hunk Anderson

Memorial Fund, which supports museum publications. Many thanks

also to Karen Saracino, a valued collaborator who kindly provided

access to the family’s art records and arranged visits between

Moo and the students, as well as to Keith Southern, who helped

in multiple ways and assisted with the loan of photographs by

Leo Holub in the family’s collection.

There are many in the Stanford University community to whom

I am grateful, but I am most appreciative of Vice President for the

Arts Harry Elam for his involvement with the Anderson Collection

and continuous, dedicated championing of the arts at Stanford.

I extend great thanks to my other VPA colleagues for their

collaborative spirit and to the faculty and students who teach

with and learn from the collection, making the museum their

home. I also thank Roberta Denning and Melissa Fetter for their

involvement and thoughtful guidance with the museum.

It is a pleasure to express my deep appreciation for the team

members who make the museum a welcoming place for visitors:

Visitor Services volunteers and docents are enthusiastic in offering

information and opportunities to learn and enjoy. The museum

security team, especially Inesh Nand and Max Dulaune, provides a

secure environment for both artworks and visitors. And Steve Green

keeps the museum facility in excellent order through the supervision

of dedicated maintenance workers and the custodial crew.

Finally, we at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

extend our gratitude to the many visitors, museum members,

and volunteers whose interest in, support of, and presence at the

museum add degrees of incalculable cultural value to the art of

our time.

For so much of what has come before and will come in the future, we

dedicate this publication to the life and legacy of Hunk Anderson.

jason linetzky

kelly filreis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art &

Art History at Stanford University, studying twentieth-century

American art and its intersections with feminist and queer

histories. She was the 2016–17 McDermott Graduate Intern for

Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art after receiving

her MA in art history from the University of California, Riverside.

amber lynn harper is a PhD student in the Department of Art

& Art History at Stanford University, studying art history and

film studies. She received her MA from the Modern Art: Critical

and Curatorial Studies program at Columbia University in 2015,

and she previously held positions at the Drawing Center and the

Whitney Museum of American Art.

beatrice smigasiewicz is a PhD candidate in the Department

of Art & Art History at Stanford University.

danny smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art &

Art History at Stanford University. His dissertation examines

the pictorial, theological, and intellectual histories of dreams

and dreaming in thirteenth-century Italian art. He received his

BA from Carleton College and an MA from Williams College.

christian whitworth is a PhD student in the Department of

Art & Art History at Stanford University. He holds an MA in art

history from Tufts University, and his writing on modern and

contemporary photography, experimental cinema, and video art

has been published in Afterimage and Millennium Film Journal.

Every reasonable effort has been made to credit copyright holders and to

ensure the accuracy of the information presented herein. If errors or

omissions are identified, please contact the Anderson Collection at Stanford

University so that corrections can be made in any subsequent edition.

All plates are holdings of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

and are gifts of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, and Mary Patricia

Anderson Pence.

Frontispiece and p. 4: photography by Tim Griffith; p. 5: photography by

Harrison Truong; p. 6: Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret

Anderson, © The Estate of Leo Holub; p. 10: photography by JKA

Photography; p. 12: Anderson Collection at Stanford University, Gift of

Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, and Mary Patricia Anderson

Pence, © Robert Motherwell / Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by

VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY; p. 14: Vatican

Museums Spiral Staircase 2012, © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC

BY-SA 3.0; pl. 1: © Vija Celmins, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; pl. 2: ©

Peter Alexander; pl. 3: © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser &

Wirth; pl. 4: © Estate of Robert Arneson / Licensed by VAGA at Artists

Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 5: © Ronald Davis; pl. 6: © Billy Al

Bengston; pl. 7: © Ed Moses; pl. 8: © 2019 Robert Irwin / Artists Rights

Society (ARS), New York; p. 27: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian

Institution; pl. 9: © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists

Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 10: © Terry Winters, courtesy

Matthew Marks Gallery; pl. 11: © 2019 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights

Society (ARS), New York; pl. 12: © 2019 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights

Society (ARS), New York; pl. 13: © 2019 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation /

Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 14: © Richard Diebenkorn

Foundation; pl. 15: © 2019 Mark Tobey / Seattle Art Museum, Artists

Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 16: © Estate of Paul Wonner and

William Theophilus Brown, Crocker Art Museum; p. 42: Anderson

Collection at Stanford University, Gift of Harry W. and Mary Margaret

Anderson, and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, © Richard Diebenkorn

Foundation; p. 43: Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Given in honor

of Leo Holub by Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson, 2007.31.50 © The

Leo Holub Estate; pl. 17: © 2019 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights

Society (ARS), New York; pl. 18: © 2019 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights

Society (ARS), New York; pl. 19: © 2019 The Murray-Holman Family Trust

/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 20: © 2019 Estate of Louise

Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; pl. 21: © Nancy Graves

Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York;

pl. 22: © Jennifer Bartlett; p. 54: Installation view of the exhibition

“Against the Grain: Contemporary Art from the Edward R. Broida

Collection.” The Museum of Modern Art, New York. May 3, 2006 through

July 10, 2006. (IN1970.04), © The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by

SCALA / Art Resource, NY.


This catalogue is published in celebration of the fifth anniversary

of the opening of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University,

Stanford, California, and on the occasion of the complementary

exhibition Left of Center: Five Years of the Anderson Collection at

Stanford University, opening September 20, 2019.

Anderson Collection at Stanford University

314 Lomita Drive

Stanford, CA 94305

anderson.stanford.edu

Copyright © 2019 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford

Junior University

Published in 2019 by the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or

transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,

including photocopying, recording, or any other information storage

and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.

ISBN: 978-0-578-55204-0

Designer: James Brendan Williams

Project manager: Amanda Glesmann

Copy editor: Jane Takac Panza

Permissions editor: Jean MacDougall

Printed and bound in the United States by Coast Litho, Oakland,

California

Frontispiece: Anderson Collection at Stanford University, 2018

Page 4: Anderson Collection at Stanford University, 2014

Page 5: View of the galleries at the Anderson Collection at Stanford

University, 2018

Additional image credits appear on page 59.

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