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Purchase the Gutai: Splendid Playground exhibition catalogue.
William Baziotes: A Memorial Exhibition
Contributions by Lawrence Alloway and William Baziotes
Published in 1965
58 pages, fully illustrated
The 1965 Guggenheim exhibition presented later work (1944–62) by William Baziotes as a memorial tribute to the pioneering American artist. Curator Lawrance Alloway traces the various artistic styles that Baziotes worked in throughout his life, including Cubism, Surrealist automatism, and Abstract Expressionism. He posits that statements from the artist reveal Baziotes as a precursor to art critic Paul Rosenberg's definition of Action Painting. The catalogue includes a collection of artist's statements that further elucidate his influences and artistic practice. A bibliography, list of exhibitions, and reproductions of works in both color and black-and-white are also included.
Baziotes' color is as bland and shifting as light in topaz or opal, converting the motion of the sea to a Medusan calm. His art paradoxically evokes both the amniotic waters and the impassivity of the mineral world. Of Roman civilization Baziotes wrote: "Its decadence, satiety, and languor interested me. And I kept looking and returning to their wall paintings with their veiled melancholy and elegant plasticity. I admired the way they used their geology in their art—the sense of mineral, clay, rock, marble, and stone." His own imagery is like an image of pre-history compounded with reminiscences of objects from Pompeii or Tiffany's.