Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"People are shy of humor in painting. They think it has to be a serious matter. It’s the only thing we have between ourselves and pessimism. I see painting as poetry. Humor, after all, is the reminder that we are mortal." William N. Copley, excerpted from William N. Copley: CPLY X-Rated.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Anthony Atlas.
For readers interested in the extraordinary life, work, and artistic milieu of the great American surrealist and proto-pop painter William Nelson Copley (1919-96), this volume will come as a thrilling revelation and a long-awaited peek into the mind of one of 20th-century art’s most influential yet least recognized protagonists.
Though best known for his radical work as a painter—which he pursued under the name CPLY—Copley was also a talented writer and the texts gathered here present his most significant essays, articles and conversations. Among Copley’s reflections on art and artists is “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dealer,” a vividly humorous account of his brief tenure as a dealer in surrealist art in 1940s Los Angeles. Also included are key interviews and correspondence illuminating Copley’s own practice and a selection of his newspaper articles, originally published in the 1950s and reprinted now for the first time.
Published by Kasmin. Contributions by Claire Copley.
William N. Copley: Women includes beautiful plate photography of works from every phase of the artist’s career, revealing Copley’s (1919–96) persistent and complex fascination with the female form, masculinity, voyeurism, politics, art history and more. A new text by Claire Copley, one of the artist’s two daughters, addresses head-on the frank sexuality and complicated gender politics present in much of her father’s work, in a unique hybrid of personal memoir, cultural criticism and art history. A reprint of the artist’s seminal text, "CPLY’s Reply to the Breakup at the Wasteland of Good Taste," plus photos of the artist from the family archives and installation photography of key historical exhibitions at the Alexander Iolas and Iris Clert galleries in Paris, and at the New Museum in New York City, provide further historic and conceptual background.
Published by Fondazione Prada. Edited with introduction by Germano Celant, Toby Kamps. Text by Gwen Allen, Paul R. Franklin, Alison Gingeras, Jonathan Griffin.
William N. Copley (1919–96) was a multifaceted American artist and art-world catalyst. Creator of madcap narrative paintings, drawings and installations, Copley was a unique figure in postwar art history well known for his humorous and sarcastic imagery. Known by his nom de plume CPLY, he was a self-taught artist pushing the limits of art-world decorum, as well as a collector, gallerist and connector of some of the most important artists of the 20th century, in particular European Surrealists and Dadaists such as Max Ernst, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, and American Pop artists. William N. Copley assembles works from all phases of the artist’s creation, from the Parisian years to the last period spent mostly in solitude in his home in Sugarloaf Key, Florida, tracing the development of his painterly style and continual experiments with line, color, pattern and allegory. In Paris in the early 1950s, Copley developed a unique, ribald figurative style that bucked prevailing trends toward abstraction, taking inspiration from Surrealist painting, American, cartoon and silent-movie imagery. Throughout his career, he repeatedly returned to subjects like nudes, cars and nationalism; later works reveal his abiding interest in political and psychosexual themes, surrealist visual punning and vaudevillian Americana, making Copley a link between European Surrealist and American Pop circles. Featuring approximately 250 paintings and works on paper, the volume accompanies the first comprehensive presentation of the artist’s work in an American museum, also scheduled to travel to Italy.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Linn Lühn.
Originally written in 1976 for his Paris–New York exhibition, Reflection on a Past Life is painter William N. Copley’s (1919–1996) humorous and insightful account of his many bizarre encounters with key Surrealists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp and René Magritte. After inheriting a fortune as a young man, Copley (often known as "CPLY"), used his family wealth to open The Copley Galleries in Beverly Hills shortly after World War II, where he exhibited works by major Surrealist artists. Although the gallery proved to be a financial flop, closing after its first year, Copley secured a place in the annals of art history by bringing Surrealism to Hollywood, as well as with his own painting. This memoir provides a revealing and intimate look at the work and thought processes of Copley’s heroes from the frank, engaging perspective of a younger colleague.
Painter, gallerist, writer and collector William N. Copley (1919-1996) was one of Surrealism's most active advocates in America (especially in Los Angeles), and his paintings are increasingly recognized as important precursors to Pop. A close friend to Duchamp and Man Ray, Copley always courted controversy, never more memorably than with his infamous X-Rated exhibition at the New York Cultural Center in 1974. Copley's cartoonish works of the 1950s developed an overtly sexual iconography in the 1960s, which in turn prefigured his erotic and arguably pornographic work of the 1970s. Published on the occasion of Paul Kasmin Gallery's reconstruction of the 1974 show, the book includes 38 superb color plates of the paintings--many of which have not been seen since the original exhibition--as well as Copley's fascinating 1977 memoir of his early years as an exponent and gallerist for Surrealism, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dealer."
PUBLISHER Paul Kasmin Gallery
BOOK FORMAT Hardcover, 10.75 x 10.75 in. / 140 pgs / 38 color / 8 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 4/30/2011 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2011 p. 80
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780982943311TRADE List Price: $65.00 CDN $75.00
Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited by Klaus Gerrit Friese. Text by Stephan Berg.
The life and career of William N. Copley (1919-1996) spans an exciting (if little-known) period in American art. As a gallerist, Copley established a powerful presence for Surrealism on the West Coast, exhibiting René Magritte, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Joseph Cornell and Man Ray, before deciding, in 1947, to become a painter himself. He then moved to Paris, where he developed his own unmistakable style, a style which has come to be recognized as the native link between Surrealism and Pop art. In his emphasis on bold wavy outline and occasional use of text, Copley is now also considered a forerunner of the graffiti art practiced by the likes of Keith Haring. This important monograph reproduces a broad selection of Copley's paintings, inspired by everyday American circumstances: his cowboys and pin-up girls, his erotic and pornographic fantasies and his set pieces from everyday life.