Joyce Kozloff

[This piece comes mounted on a white background, rather than the orange and green that appears here.]

Joyce Kozloff
"Kaho’olawe," 2006
Etching and photo-etching
29.25" x 14.5"
Courtesy of the artist
Estimated value: $1000
Starting bid: $300

About this piece: Kaho’olawe is an island off the coast of Maui. It was a sacred site of the Hawaiian people, but was used as a US Navy bombing range during most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, it was returned to Hawaii. Formerly a rain forest, it had nothing growing on it and was contaminated. A dedicated crew is cleaning up the ordnance and replanting. It will be inhabitable in 100 years. My piece is a view of Kaho’olawe from Maui, overlaid with an aerial map of the island.

Artist statement: “Throughout my career, I have tried to fuse a love for widespread artistic traditions with an activist temperament. Beginning in 1970, energized by my participation in the feminist art movement in Los Angeles and New York, I became a founding member of the Heresies publishing collective and an originating figure of the Pattern and Decoration movement. My colleagues and I were exploring the applied and decorative arts, especially visual cultures of the nonwestern world, as source and inspiration. We wanted to once and for all, break down the high art/low art hierarchies inherent in the West; then as now, extensive travel has been a profound catalyst for developments in my art. As a result of these early discussions and excursions, my patterned paintings eventually moved right off the canvas, evolving into installations composed of hand painted, glazed ceramic tiles and pieced silk wall hangings.

During the 1980s, I concentrated on grand, ambitious public commissions, many in transportation centers, executed in ceramic tile and/or glass and marble mosaic, completing sixteen between 1979 and the present. Out of a desire to communicate with a broader audience, all these pieces have local and regional subject matter, sometimes ironically tweaked, sometimes catalogued as an almost archaeological enterprise. I have long rejected the academic disdain for visual opulence – in fact, my dissident political understanding could only be materialized through sensuous processing, an offering of pleasure to the viewer. Public art presents challenges of scale and context, but also of language and iconography. Recently, I have had the opportunity to create pieces in Japan and Turkey, adapting their rich ornamental traditions to my contemporary collage aesthetic.

One always starts an architectural project with charts of the site. By the 1990s, maps had become the foundation for my private work, structures into which I could insert a range of issues, particularly the role of cartography in human knowledge and as an imposition of imperial will. My map and globe works – frescoes, books, paintings, sculptures - which image both physical and mental terrain, employ mutations to raise these geopolitical issues. Often their figurations are hybrids, places known only in the imagination, composed of memories and fragments. With an increasing urgency, and moving from earlier, visionary to modern charting as impetus, I seek the physical corollaries between mapping, naming, and subjugation. Recently, I developed a very large, installation piece about the history of navigation and western expansion, “Voyages,” which was shown at Thetis in Venice, Italy and the DC Moore Gallery in New York. While exploring my political concerns, I luxuriate in the sheer beauty of maps, as drawn diagram and reflection of our earth. These concerns have been with me from my beginnings as a young feminist artist: how to create an art that is both graphically satisfying and intellectually questioning.”

Alwan Auction 2016

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