Hers and His

1/9
Hers and His


Charles Stuckey

Starting on September 18 Galería Mascota is presenting a selection of important works by the veteran New York artists Dove Bradshaw and William Anastasi at a satellite space for Galeria Mascota at 980 Madison, on the third floor. It has been five years since major works by either of them have been exhibited in New York. Surrounded a few years ago by works like these installed in the Upper West Side apartment where Bradshaw and Anastasi have lived and worked since they became life partners nearly a half century ago, their friend, the late Robert Ryman, opined that together their works surpassed anything on view in any current New York gallery. While most married artists work independently of one another, Bradshaw and Anastasi (already an acclaimed conceptual art pioneer by 1974 when they met) both embrace the aesthetics of John Cage with its emphasis on chance methods. Starting in 1984 they served jointly as artistic advisors for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
As if to go beyond conceptual art, around this same time each began to make monumental works that integrated abstract gestural painting with conceptual procedures outside their control. Orchestrating sense and nonsense, the colors for the works in Anastasi’s ongoing Bababad series are determined by chance, while the seemingly meaningless stenciled letters are excerpts from the one hundred letter thunderclap accompanying the bricklayer Finnegan falling to his death at the beginning of Joyce’s classic tale. As for Bradshaw, whose striking materialistic sculptures starting already in the late 60s involve an expertise of metal elements, her dark mysterious pigments for the monumental Contingency paintings are silver and liver of sulfur, unstable together and so fated to change hue and shape long after the artist set it into motion.  She has a special eye for exquisite accident, whether self-initiated or found at random, like the plastic exuberance of bullets shaped by chance on impact, each as like as unlike. Greatly enlarged and cast in resin these found objects become her festive Spent Bullet sculptures, coated with metallic automotive colors. No less dramatic, the graphic excitement in Anastasi’s Burst drawings, repeating the simplest single gesture from here to there as a visualization of the magnificence of energy exhausted is in keeping with the power of the Spent Bullets. Both artists make the case that chance-based art has an impact and truth that rivals the most profound works of the last half century.

William Anastasi (b. 1933 Philadelphia) is an American painter and visual artist. He has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1960s and is known as "one of the most underrated conceptual artists of his generation".His work is predominantly abstract and conceptual. Early works such as Relief (1961) and Issue (1966) incorporate the use of industrial and construction materials. His works are held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2010 Anastasi was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts John Cage Award, an unrestricted grant awarded biennially. Currently exhibited works include "Nine Polaroid Photographs of a Mirror", currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2007, he took part in the artistic performance "Blind Date" at the White Box Gallery in New York. In the performance, he and fellow artist Lucio Pozzi both drew dozens of artistic pieces blindfolded in an 8 hour long artistic duel.In his early career, Anastasi was largely influenced by Marcel Duchamp, who inspired his shows at the Dwan Gallery from 1965-1970.


Dove Bradshaw (b.1949 New York) pioneered the use of Indeterminacy in 1969 by enlisting the unpredictable effects of time, weather, erosion, and indoor and outdoor atmospheric conditions on natural, chemical, and manufactured materials. She has created chemical paintings that change with the atmosphere; indoor erosion sculptures of salt and outdoor stone sculptures that weather. She has worked with crystals that receive radio transmissions from local, short wave, and weather stations, along with reception of radio telescope signals from Jupiter. In 1975 she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant; 1985 the Pollock-Krasner award; 2003 a Furthermore Grant; in 2006 The National Science Foundation for Artists Grant. Her work has been shown regularly in the US, Europe, Korea and Japan, appearing in the 6th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. She is represented in the permanent collections of many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The National Gallery of Washington, The Art Institute of Chicago, The British Museum, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Marble Palace, Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg. The "Contingency Series" is Bradshaw’s first significant body of two-dimensional work. Beginning in 1984, instead of paint she began using materials reactive to the environment.