John Held, Jr.
Debris from the Cultural Underground
Ever Gold Gallery
441 O”Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA.
Opening Reception: October 7, 2010 6-9pm
Closing Reception: October 28, 2010 6-9pm
“John Held, Jr. Debris from the Cultural Underground,” chronicles four decades of involvement in the international cultural undergrounds of Fluxus, Mail Art, rubber stamp and zine cultures by the San Francisco artist, writer, collector, bibliographer and cultural historian.
The exhibition explores Held's interest since the seventies in confronting the challenging art of his time, having met artist Ray Johnson, who introduced him to Mail Art, and George Maciunas, the impresario of Fluxus, which counted among its adherents Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik and Yoko Ono.
Held's interest in the diffusion of open cultural participation over long distances through DiY (Do-it-Youself) practice led to active involvement in the fields of Mail Art (DiY art), rubber stamps (DiY craft) and zines (DiY publishing). Aspects of these fields and Held's involvement with them, are presented in this retrospective exhibition blending art and life over a forty year period.
Held will be lecturing in early October at Black Mountain College Museum in Asheville, North Carolina, on the influence of John Cage, Ray Johnson and other Black Mountain College artists (Ruth Asawa, Remy Charlip, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly) on current DiY artistic practice, including the incorporation of chance in the contemplation and completion of the creative act.
Held has had solo exhibitions in over thirty countries, lecturing at such varied institutions as the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), National Communication Museum (Berlin), Palace of Fine Arts (Havana) and Academy of Contemporary Art (Moscow). He is the author of several books on Mail Art and rubber stamp art, and his Papers are in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Local artists included in the exhibition through inclusion in Held's collection include the late David Ireland, Tom Marioni, Jeff Berner, Bay Area Dada (Tim Mancusi, Marlon Vito Picasso, Monte Cazazza, Indian Ralph, Madawg Painter of Dark), Charles Gatewood, Greg Edwards, Wanxin Zhang, Harley, Jokie X. Wilson, Jennie Hinchcliff, Mike Dickau, Alice So…among others in the Bay Area Mail Art and zine communities.
“Forty Years Accumulating Debris from the Cultural Underground”
Lecture: October 14, 2010 7pm
Held will present a lecture on “Forty Years Accumulating Debris from the Cultural Underground,” commenting on his four decade history with an international network of cultural workers and interviews with such notable artists as John Cage, Ray Johnson and Alan Kaprow.
“Withheld: A Conversational Memoir”
Performance: October 21, 2010 7pm
San Francisco playwright and actor Jeremy Greco will present excerpts from, “Withheld: A Conversational Memoir,” which resulted from the transcription of ten interview sessions between the artist and playwright earlier in the year. Greco's work is currently in development at The Marsh.
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