November 2 - December 13, 2014
Death Ship: Tribute to H.C. Westermann
Billy Al Bengston, Meg Cranston, Roy Dowell, Zach Harris, Adam D. Miller, Laura Owens, Jon Pylypchuk, Matt Paweski, Andrew Sexton and H.C. Westermann
Death Ship brings together the works of nine LA based artists to be shown alongside a woodblock print by seminal artist H.C. Westermann (who at one time was also an LA native). The artists in the exhibition, spanning three generations, have all been affected or influenced by Westermann’s artistic output.
H.C. Westermann specialized in sculpture and printmaking both emphasizing his masterful skills as a wood worker. His overall practice functioned as a critique of many aspects of modern life including war, the military, and materialism. Though his subject matter was often heavy, he handled these themes in a playful and lighthearted way infusing his sense of humor. One may find cartoons of soldiers killing innocents alongside sculptures depicting desert plants and wildlife, or prints of aliens in flying saucers. Westermann unabashedly incorporated his autobiographical experiences, surroundings, and personality into his work.
Westermann’s work impacted many young artists during his lifetime and beyond. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bay Area “funk art” scene and has been credited as a major influence over the incredible “Hairy Who” group and the Chicago Imagists. Like many today, these artists were drawn to Westermann’s use of cartoon and pop imagery, his bizarre sense of humor, his free use of personal experiences, and his insistence on craft along with his rejection of formalism and minimalism and his desire to challenge contemporary trends in art.
For the exhibition Death Ship: A Tribute to HC Westermann, The Pit has curated the works of 9 LA based artists who carry on aspects of Westermann’s tradition and we are thrilled to be able to exhibit one of his iconic Death Ship woodblock prints.
A Risograph book has been designed in a limited edition of 100 to accompany the exhibition and will be available for purchase at the opening and in The Pit’s shop. It features images by all 10 artists, and also contains writing by Gladys - Katherina Hernando and Adam D. Miller. In addition, The Pit has commissioned a limited edition by artist Jon Pylypchuk which will be debuted at the opening of Death Ship, and available for purchase in our online shop.