Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition of work by John Tweddle. The exhibition, curated by Alanna Heiss, will consist of paintings drawn from the Scull Collection, one of America’s most historically significant collections of 20th century art.
Tweddle, born in Pinckneyville, Kentucky in 1938, moved to New York City as the nineteen-sixties drew to a close. His first exhibition at Green Gallery with legendary Richard Bellamy, who remained a staunch supporter the rest of his life caught the attention of Robert Scull, an early champion of Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol. Informed by his Southern childhood, Tweddle drew liberally from the “low art” traditions of cartoons and comic books while mounting an intellectually rigorous exploration of capitalism, iconography and the counterculture revolution. The resultant work--bold, primal, deliberately naive----drew upon an authentic American experience far removed from the cultural loci of New York. However, as the decade wore on and Tweddle found himself more deeply entrenched in the artistic establishment, his canvases evinced a growing concern with the interplay of art and commerce. By 1980, Tweddle had retreated from New York’s cultural milieu, preferring instead to work in relative isolation.
The paintings on display, completed between 1968 and 1986, capture a particularly fertile period in the artist’s career. In Grace Glueck’s review of his 1983 exhibition at the Blum-Helman Gallery, she notes that Tweddle’s “structure is iconic, usually consisting of a vignette with a narrative subject, ringed by formal borders that incorporate all manner of signs and symbols.” Central among his recurring motifs is the dollar sign, which serves as a visual shorthand for Tweddle’s own discomfort with the commodification of art. Tweddle arranges these symbols of contemporary culture into intricate and meticulously-plotted patterns reminiscent of patchwork quilting, Navajo tapestry and aboriginal bark painting. Thus rooted in folk art tradition, Tweddle’s rough-edged brushwork and dusty palette of ochre and green render icons of the American landscape with a dark and chaotic complexity.
John Tweddle has exhibited at such institutions as MOMA P.S.1 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and his work can be found in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tweddle, who has twice received grants from National Endowment for the Arts, lives and works in New Mexico.
Alanna Heiss, Director of Clocktower Productions, is a leader of the groundbreaking early 1970’s alternative spaces movement in New York City, which radically changed the way large-scale art projects were produced, shown, and seen. In 1972 she founded the legendary Clocktower Gallery, and in 1976 she founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) which she directed for 32 years, and transformed into an internationally renowned non-collecting center for the production and presentation of contemporary art.
Heiss has organized over 700 exhibitions at P.S.1 and in art spaces around the world. In 2003 founded Art Radio WPS1.org, the Internet radio station of P.S.1 and first ever all-art museum station. Among her numerous publications are catalogues of the work of Janet Cardiff, Alex Katz, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Katharina Sieverding, and John Wesley.
Heiss was Commissioner of the 1985 Paris Biennial, and Commissioner of the 1986 American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She served as Chief Curator of the Tribute for John Cage, organized for the 1993 Venice Biennial, and as the Curatorial Director of the 2002 Shanghai Biennale, and she was a panelist for the 2005 Yokohama Triennial. She is the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Contributions to the Artistic Viability of New York City, France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in the Légion d’Honneur, the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, the Skowhegan Award for outstanding work in the arts, and the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1943, Ms. Heiss resides in New York City with her husband, Fredrick Sherman.