The publication Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond (2021) is the result of 8 years of research by Label Curatorial’s director Laura Whitcomb and the research director Narin Dickerson. It is particularly anticipated after the Dilexi’s well reviewed retrospective in 2019 which saw six galleries across California participate. The Dilexi Multivenue Retrospective included Parrasch Heijnen, Parker Gallery, The Landing, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles and Crown Point Press and Brian Gross Fine Art in San Francisco. The exhibition received very positive reviews in the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and was featured twice on KCRW as well as in articles by art critic Jonathan Griffin in two publications. Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond now stands at 420 pages and is a vital piece of scholarship that corrects the multitude of errata associated with the gallery and its artists while enriching this period of history in an in-depth manner.
The publication has essays by art critic Peter Frank and Dilexi founder Jim Newman. The publication also features contributing essays by the film critic Antoine Thirion, the legendary media historian Gene Youngblood, former Whitney curator and Artist Space Director Jay Sanders and the social critic Robby Herbst. Historic essay excerpts include the Berkeley Museum’s Pacific Film Archive Steve Seid and film historians and viedographers Steina and Woody Vasulka.
The book goes beyond documenting the gallery and ventures into the film, video and music programming projects which extended the gallery’s ethos and vision. The publications features Jay DeFeo’s The Eyes on the cover courtesy of the Jay DeFeo Trust.
The book was painstakingly fact checked and corrects much of the errata of this era in Bay Area art. It has already been critiqued by notable scholars as one of the most reliable sources of this time. The book compiles the first published biographies on many artists that have been overlooked through time and discusses the films and the cross pollination of dancers, musicians and artists that eventually arrived in NY and established the Judson Dance Theater and the Park Place Gallery in Soho. The book powerfully makes the case that California was largely the incubator of ideas that were key in the developments of the minimalist and Fluxus movements through artists Robert Morris, Simone Forti, La Monte Young, Walter De Maria, Terry Riley, and Yvonne Rainer, all of whom studied under the dancer Anna Halprin and her husband Lawrence Halprin.
The book presents the first accurate timeline of the Dilexi gallery, which in view of the Ferus gallery records being destroyed in a flood, is vital for the portrayal of California history. Many of the biographies are the first to be published and offers the first accurate accounts and published biographies of lesser known artists William Dubin, Muriel Goodwin Francis, Gary Molitor, Leslie Kerr, Arthur Richer, Alvin Light, Julius Wasserstein, Philip Roeber, Raymond Rocklin, Arlo Acton, Horst Trave, and Alan Lynch, all of whom were key artists that have been overlooked through time. The first English biography of the German artist Harry Kramer is also included as well as important historical essays on the Living Theater and Ken Dewey who had strong alliances with Bay Area alternative performance and theater.
The publication offers invaluable additions to history and features for the first time the earliest known works of Robert Morris and an unpublished project of Lawrence Halprin which was a planned cityscale happening that is absolutely fascinating. The never before published drawings were rendered by Curtis Shreier of Ant Farm.
The most important aspect of the book is Jim Newman’s contribution as editor and art director ensuring that this publication not only enriches history through his indelible authentic vision but portrays his critical eye that steered many of the directions of Northern California that eventually informed the platform of American Art. The book offers an extension of the gallery through Jim Newman’s critical eye. -