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Virtual | Self-Mythology and the Unreliable Narrator in the Life & Times of Sam Francis
November 7, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
11am PT/ 12pm MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET
Please join Gabrielle Selz, Jeremy Stone, and Debra Burchett-Lere as they probe the self-mythologizing narratives of artists and personalities of the 20th Century. This talk will focus on discoveries Selz made in her new book, Light on Fire, the first comprehensive biography of Sam Francis.
Light on Fire traces the extraordinary and ultimately tragic journey of a complex and charismatic artist who first learned to paint while encased for three years in a full-body plaster cast. Francis portrayed himself as a pilot who heroically crashed his plane in the Arizona desert; a story Selz reveals is a fabrication that was repeated by all the male historians who wrote about his illustrious career. For indeed, Francis’s color-saturated paintings went on to fetch the highest prices of any living artist. His restless desire resulted in five marriages and homes on three continents. His entrepreneurial spirit led to the founding of MoCA, Lapis Press, a reforestation program, and several nonprofits. Light on Fire captures the art, life, personality, and talent of a man who sought to resolve in art, the contradictions he couldn’t resolve in life.
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About the Speakers
Debra Burchett-Lere brings a range of professional international art-world experiences as an author, curator, and executive director of the artist-endowed Sam Francis Foundation, California. Her background includes key positions at the fine-art limited editions print studio Gemini G.E.L. and the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (LAICA). For over twenty-five years, Debra has collaborated on museum exhibitions including projects with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, NC; the Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthalle- der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn; Fundacio Caja de Madrid; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
In addition, Burchett-Lere has authored books and catalogues including publications by the Getty Museum Conservation Institute, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Press). She has worked as a grant writer for university art programs, an art consultant, and accredited appraiser with the Appraisers Association of America, NYC. Her recent volunteer board services include positions for ArtTable, NYC and the Brand Associates of the Brand Library and Arts Center, Glendale, CA.
ArtTable member Gabrielle Selz is the award-winning author of Unstill Life: Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction (W.W. Norton 2014) and Light on Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis (UC Press, 2021), the first comprehensive biography of one of the most important American abstract artists of the 20th century. Her essays and art reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Square Cylinder, Art & Object, Art Papers, The Rumpus, and The Huffington Post, among others. She makes her home in Oakland, CA. For more information, visit: https://gabrielleselz.com.
Jeremy Stone, also an ArtTable member, is a former gallerist, art advisor/appraiser, and collector who has advised many important private collectors, museums, and institutions. Her expert witness work over the past 25 years has included legal cases across the United States and the government of Canada. She has served on the board and held office on multiple levels with ArtTable, the American Society of Appraisers, and the San Francisco Art Dealers Association.
Jeremy specializes in Post-War, modern, and contemporary art. Her collection includes Hank Murta Adams, Robert Arneson, Elmer Bischoff, Squeak Carnwath, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Nancy Drosd, Sam Francis, Mike Henderson, Mildred Howard, David Huffman, Kazuko Inoue, Franz Kline, John Graham, Rick Hickam, David Huffman, Gaston Lachaise, Joanne Leonard, Robert Mapplethorpe, Grace Munakata, Edith Schloss, Richard Sheehan, Katherine Sherwood, Lorna Simpson, Louise M. Stanley, Pia Stern, Masami Teraoka, Wayne Thiebaud, Ai Wei Wei, and John Zurier, among many others.
Thank you to Gabrielle Selz, Jeremy Stone, and ArtTable’s Northern California Chapter Leaders for organizing this program.
- Light On Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis by Gabrielle Selz
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