Art historian Julia Friedman discusses the great California artist’s work, including his latest paintings currently on view in the exhibition Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns.
Born in 1920, Wayne Thiebaud is among the world’s most celebrated living artists. He remains best known for the still lifes of pies, cakes, desserts, candies, and other objects—lusciously painted, brightly colored, perfectly composed, and gently comic—that made his name in 1962, when an exhibition of his work in New York attracted rave reviews and, to his discomfort, led critics to see him as part of Pop Art. He has since become a contemporary master in the genres of landscape and cityscape as well, finding inspiration in the neatly cultivated Sacramento Valley and the vertiginous streets of San Francisco.
Julia Friedman is an art historian, critic, and curator based in Los Angeles. She began her art historical studies at the Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg, where she grew up. In 2005 she received a Ph.D. in Art History from Brown University, and has since researched and taught in the U.S., U.K. and Japan. Her trans-disciplinary work on European Modernism, Russian emigration and book art resulted in the illustrated monograph Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism: Alexei Remizov’s Synthetic Art, published by Northwestern University Press in 2011. In 2016 she completed a project based on the digital writings of Dave Hickey, editing Dust Bunnies and Wasted Words—two pendant volumes of the critic’s Facebook exchanges. She has been a regular contributor to Artforum, the Huffington Post, and the New Criterion. Her current research is on Wayne Thiebaud’s portrait paintings. www.juliafriedman.org
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