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PRIDE! Jess, Robert Duncan, Funk Art, the Manhattan Project

Celebrating June PRIDE





Jess ,who had worked as a chemist on the Manhattan Project during WW2, came to San Francisco from Cal Tech where he was studying chemical engineering and realized that was NOT what he really wanted to do—many of the post WWII people were wrestling with philosophical ideas rather than how to make a better bomb.  His work was classic raw, beat-era art: collage, funk sculpture, assemblage, Beatnik DADA.  Jess met the poet Robert Duncan in the early 1950s and they influenced each other’s work as well as that of many other writers, filmmakers, and artists.  The lovers often collaborated: Duncan’s  poetry, Jess’s collages (or "paste-ups"). In 1952, the men, along with painter Harry Jacobus, opened King Ubu Gallery, known for avant-garde art in San Francisco. Their home was a gathering place and refuge for artists.

For good overviews of the exhibition,  An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and Their Circlehttps://greyartgallery.nyu.edu/exhibition/jess-duncan-011414-032914/

And: http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/1987#.XvVECmhKjIV

And, Glen Helfand’s review in Artforum:https://www.artforum.com/picks/an-opening-of-the-field-jess-robert-duncan-and-their-circle-41962


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.



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