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Karooooo, 1963

Stephan Von Huene

American, 1932-2000
Acrylic and cloth on board
72 in x 48 in (182.9 x 122 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Doris Kim Pummill, in memory of Eleanor Kim von Huene
© Dr. Petra Von Huene

Not on view

Stephan von Huene, born in Los Angeles, came of age artistically in the midst of the groundbreaking local art scene of the 1960s. Working alongside his friends Edward Kienholz and Allan Kaprow, von Huene turned his attention to collage and assemblage early in his career. His pictures from the early 1960s incorporate found material and everyday detritus, and his subject matter, as in the present work, tends toward the grotesque. Dismembered appendages—arms, legs, phallus—float amid a surreal, figurative landscape. The artist fetishizes the yellow dress, as the attention paid to its folds and pleats makes it literally stand out against the reductive female form and the flattened body parts that surround it. A nonsensical word seems shouted from the disembodied man at left, while the text wrapped around the left side of the woman’s head is conveyed with a whisper. The inclusion of sounds in art would soon become the artist’s central focus, as he would dedicate the majority of his career to creating sculptural devices that spoke and played music.

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