NEW YORK, NY.- Paul Kasmin Gallery
presents William N. Copley X-RATED, a large-scale recreation of the artists 1974 exhibition in the former Huntington Hartford Museum on Columbus Circle. Highly original, libidinous, and unapologeticly joyful, the paintings were unlike anything being made at that time. This body of work, painted between 1972 and 1974, represents a pivotal leap in the artists style and is rich with irreverent yet ambitious compositions, unbridled combinations of highly-keyed colors, and generous doses of off-beat humor.
CPLY (the artists self-chosen moniker) here presents single figures, pairs, and the occasional grouptheir gestures and actions translated from magazines procured in seedy 42nd street emporiumsposing and coupling eagerly amid vivid arrays of abstract patterns and lyrical motifs, romping furniture, and tilting planes of scumbled color. Throughout, CPLY strives to uncover the joy and poetry in this most unlikely of subjects, with the belief that humor, after all is the reminder that we are mortal. It is a body of work that stands alone in Copleys ouvre and resolutely apart from the driving narratives in the contemporary art world of the early 1970s.
As a painter, writer, gallerist, supporter, and publisher, the artist blazed a singular path through numerous territories of post-war art, along the way charting a vital link between the European Surrealist and the American Pop Art movements. A fully-illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring a new essay by Anne Doran and a reprinting of CPLYs memoir Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dealer, an outrageous chronicle of his short-lived but legendary Surrealist gallery in Beverly Hills.
William N. Copley was born in 1919 and passed away in 1996. His work is in private and public collections worldwide. CPLY has been the subject of numerous single artist shows and a traveling retrospective at the Kunsthalle Bern, Centre Georges Pompidou, and the Stedelijk Van Abbesmuseum, and has taken part in important group exhibitions including in documenta 5 and documenta 7.