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Perpetual Motion: Goldberg Exhibit to Run Sept. 9-Dec. 12 in UAM

Published: September 1, 2010

Michael Goldberg, an abstract painter of the New York School, who was highly influenced by the works of Willem de Kooning, Arshille Gorky, Hans Hoffman and Clyfford Still, will have his work exhibited at the University Art Museum (UAM) Sept. 9 through Dec. 12.

Spanning six decades of his prolific career, the UAM will exhibit more than 30 large-scale paintings and works on paper, including four seminal works from the UAM Gordon F. Hampton Collection.

Perpetual Motion: Michael Goldberg is an in-depth survey and a tribute to Goldberg who passed away in 2007. The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition includes 31 color plates and essays by art critic and curator David Anfam, an authority on modern American art; poet, critic, and curator Bill Berkson, an intimate friend of Goldberg’s; and UAM Assistant Curator Elizabeth Anne Hanson.

A public reception on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 6-8 p.m. will include a gallery talk between Berkson and Manny Silverman, owner of Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles, representing Goldberg on the West Coast.

A New York native, Goldberg emerged from the tendrils of post-World War II America by way of oft referred-to Second Generation Abstract Expressionism. Goldberg worked from this new center of the art world, post-World War II New York, having studied directly under Hoffman himself.

With a style that began in the 1940s with blunt, decisive, geometric shapes of primary color, his work grew into a more gestural approach in the years that followed. Comparing Goldberg’s approach to his painting of the late 1940s to the early 1950s, works such as “Untitled,” 1949, and “Untitled,” 1951-52, with the painting “Casserine Pass” from 1959, the substantial presence of geometric shape gives way to the far more gestural style that the artist would continue to groom and develop throughout his career. Delicate renderings with gouache and watercolor on paper such as “Untitled,” 1949, give way to powerful, aggressive works on canvas, with the authority of size to match.

Covering a 50-plus year career as an artist, his play between the aggressive and gestural and the equally energetic and tightly woven work of later paintings, the breadth transition of his stylistic approaches will be on view. Included in the exhibition will be four works from the Hampton Collection, and numerous works from private collections and Southern California institutions.

Photo courtesy of UAM
Bill Berkson

The Gordon F. Hampton Collection of art features 89 works by 43 artists, including signature works by such artists as Al Held, Adolph Gottlieb, Lee Krasner, Milton Resnick and Goldberg. Hampton (1912-96) was a renowned Los Angeles antitrust attorney, an enlightened art patron, philanthropist, and one of the original partners in the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton. He fostered his expansive interest in art as he traveled the world assembling a notable and distinctly personal collection. The late attorney’s collection — the property of the Gordon F. Hampton Foundation — was given to the UAM through the generosity of his children, Wesley G. Hampton, Roger K. Hampton and Katharine (Kit) Hampton Shenk.

In 2006, Wesley G. Hampton (active on the UAM Advisory Board since 2000) pledged $100,000 to support five exhibitions from the Hampton Collection accompanied by a publication. The first exhibition Grand Gestures (2007), showcased the collection through the installation of key works by Krasner, Held, Gottlieb, Goldberg and Resnick, among others. Al Held: The Evolution of Style (2008), was the second exhibition and included work loaned from the Held Foundation in New York, and from private and public collections across the United States. Perpetual Motion: Michael Goldberg will mark the third exhibition in the series.