An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle

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Grey Art Gallery

An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle is the first exhibition to focus on the work of this genre-bending group of West Coast artists. Jess (1923–2004), who produced fantastical paintings, collages, and assemblages, and Robert Duncan (1919–1988), who wrote poetry in eclectic, myth-laden verse, were one of the most fascinating artistic couples of the 20th century. After they met in San Francisco in 1950, their work became increasingly intertwined, their dense, allusive creations permeating one another. An Opening of the Field includes 180 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, films, and ephemera—many of which have never been shown in public. The show features numerous works by the visual artists and poets in their circle, such as Wallace Berman, George Herms, and R. B. Kitaj, revealing the complex and fertile interplay between poetry and art in San Francisco during the 1950s. An Opening of the Field is organized by Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum with guest curators Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.