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POONS

Larry Poons (1937 – Present)

Lawrence “Larry” Poons was born October 1, 1937 in Tokyo, Japan. Poons had harboured desires of becoming a professional musician throughout high school, and studied from 1955 – 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music with the intent of realising this goal. However, after being influenced by Barnett Newman’s exhibition at French and Company in 1959, Poons’ career ambitions shifted to art and he consequently retired his musical composition, enrolling instead at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Poons went on to study at the Art Students League of New York, later teaching there from 1966-1970.

Poons’ career took off in the 1960s as he attracted attention for his Op Art style circular paintings juxtaposed on vibrant backgrounds. These are frequently referred to as the Dot paintings, and are still perhaps some of his most famous work. Poons was signed for representation by the Green Gallery in the early 1960s, holding his first solo exhibition there in 1963. Poons exhibited with Leo Castelli later in the decade, by 1966 evolving away from Op Art to more painterly abstraction. Poons’ painting Brown Sound was featured on the cover of the Summer 1968 issue of Artforum, and later included in Emile de Antonio’s 1972 documentary Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene 1940-1970.

In 1965, Poons was included in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) exhibition The Responsive Eye, and in 1969 was the youngest artist to be featured in Henry Geldzaheler’s landmark survey New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-1970. In 1981, the Museum of Fine Art organized a retrospective exhibition of his work from the 1970s.

Poons has works in dozens of collections world-wide, including at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. and the Tate in London.

 

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