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LACMA Debuts the First North American Retrospective of German Artist Blinky Palermo
Blinky Palermo, Coney Island II, 1975. Collection Stroher, Darmstadt, Germany. Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964–1977, on view October 31, 2010 through January 16, 2011. The exhibition comprises more than seventy works by the German artist, whose reputation as one of the foremost postwar painters has been long established in Europe. This encompassing exhibition will introduce American audiences to all four principal categories of work Palermo produced during his highly influential career, including many works that have never before been shown in the United States. Curated by Lynne Cooke and organized by Dia Art Foundation and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard), the exhibition will be coordinated at LACMA by curator of contemporary art, Franklin Sirmans.

"Palermo‘s experiments with color, form, material and space were groundbreaking forty years ago, and today they continue to astound with their poetic clarity," said Sirmans. "LACMA has continuously presented a strong commitment to modern and contemporary German art and Palermo‘s presence in that continuum will be deeply felt here in Los Angeles."

The exhibition provides a fresh and in-depth examination of the evolution of Palermo‘s aesthetic, illustrating the significance of his contributions to the field of postwar painting. Surveying four major types of work over his career, the retrospective includes: objects created shortly after he graduated from Joseph Beuys‘s class at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1964; Cloth Pictures (Stoffbilder); documentation of in situ Wall Paintings and Drawings; and examples of his late Metal Pictures.

"Palermo has, to date, been very much an ´artists‘ artist,‘—that is, he is greatly admired by his peers and by younger generations, many of whom have drawn on his work in remarkably diverse ways," said exhibition curator Lynne Cooke. "Not least, he offered a model for a practice that contests the dominant role of the art market by exploring alternative contexts and opportunities."

Following its presentation in Los Angeles, Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964–1977 will be shown at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, from February 24 through May 15, 2011, then concurrently at Dia:Beacon and CCS Bard from June 25 to October 31, 2011.

Blinky Palermo was born Peter Schwarze in 1943 in Leipzig, where he and his twin brother, Michael, grew up as adopted children under the name Heisterkamp. In 1962 he entered the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied with Joseph Beuys, and in 1964 he adopted the name Blinky Palermo, which he appropriated from an American boxing manager and mafioso. His first solo show was held in 1966 at Galerie Friedrich+Dahlem in Munich. In 1970 he made the first of several trips to the United States, relocating in 1973 to New York City, setting up a studio there which he would maintain for the rest of his life.

Palermo died in 1977, while traveling in the Maldives. His large-scale work To the People of New York City (1976) was shown at Dia in Chelsea, in 1987. During his lifetime, Palermo participated in more than seventy exhibitions including Documenta (1972); the 13th São Paulo Biennial (1975); and the Venice Biennale (1976). Posthumous retrospectives have been presented at the KunstmuseumWinterthur (1984); the Kunstmuseum Bonn (1994); Museu d‘Art Contemporani de Barcelona, in co-production with the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002–2003); and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2007).

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art | Lynne Cooke | Franklin Sirmans | Blinky Palermo |

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