Brown Art is Extraordinarily Colorful: Robert Brown Exhibition Opens

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Last night I dropped by New Puppy Gallery in Glassell Park to preview some pretty exciting and unusual art from mid-century print maker and glass artist Robert Brown. Click on the gallery at right for a preview. The artist-turned art professor died at age 92 in 2009 and his family donated his artwork archive to the Brand Art Library in Glendale. Members (Click here to join) are invited to a gala opening Saturday night where Brown’s original prints, serigraphs, fused glass and Memphis-style sculptures will be available for sale. The USC alum was fast and flexible and changed with the times. From our vantage point in this century, it’s hard to imagine wildly different 1950s geometrical abstracts, 1960s psychedelia and 1970s Op Art coming from the same hand, but that hand is presented in all its colors and contradictory glory. The pragmatic Brown originally sold a series of fused glass and silkscreen tiles as “safety devices” to be permanently affixed to sliding glass doors. The few panels that survived unglued have been mounted in custom-made walnut holders by caseandgrain that showcase them as fine art. My favorite piece is probably the silkscreen mural Harbor Theme, which once hung in the Welton Becket-designed Beverly Hilton. The artist’s proof is in the show and it is astounding. The large work required 149 screens and 25 separate colors. Unfortunately, this single remaining edition is lacking one panel that depicts the bounty of the sea. Here’s hoping the Hilton will reclaim this lost bit of their history and flair. If only there was an artist as talented as Brown to repaint the missing piece.