Born in Oakland, California, in 1927, DeLap studied at several Bay Area colleges, including the San Francisco Academy of Art before he moved to Southern California in 1965. Tony attended the Claremont Graduate School and became a Professor at the University of California, Irvine, from 1965 to 1991. During the 1950s and 1960s, DeLap was employed to work on trade shows exhibitions and practiced freelance graphic design while applying his talents at painting and sculptures. In fact, it was during his time as a designer, making displays for trade shows that could easily be constructed and taken apart, that he came up with the idea of making portable sculpture.
The idea of portable sculpture, constructing something temporal, went hand in hand with some of the basic tenants of conceptualism that were beginning to get traction in art at the time—that it was the idea that was important, not necessarily the object. In the case of DeLap, it is the illusion that is important, an interesting twist to the notion of the idea.
Aluminum, paint and glass, 1967
72 x 72 x 144 inches
Gift of the LAM Contemporary Collectors Council
Mixed media, 1962-63
22 x 12 x 4 inches
Gift of Ruth and Murray Gribin