Beat by the Bay, curated by alternative art historian John Held, Jr., traces Beat era visual artists through their cooperative galleries. In the Fifties, such spaces as King Ubu, The Six, East and West, Batman and Dilexi, supported artists Jess, Wally Hedrick, Jay De Feo, Fred Martin, Bruce Conner, Lawrence Jordan, Wallace Berman, George Herms, Joan Brown, Manuel Neri, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, Roy De Forest and others, who forged a vision equal to those of their poet brethren, interacting with them in these same spaces.
Less publicized then the Beat poet and writers (Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, McClure, et al), the visual artists of the time assumed an important role in promoting an alternative vision of society influencing successive generations. The Ever Gold exhibition reintroduces their work to a contemporary audience, who can find much to admire in the lifestyles of struggling Beat artists and the gallery structures they erected for mutual encouragement.
The Ever Gold exhibition features period work by artist/writer/educator Fred Martin from his personal collection, gallery ephemera from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Library artist files, vintage photographs by Jerry Burchard, as well as Beat era posters, photographs, publications, mail art and paintings from noted area galleries, private dealers and collectors.
The current exhibition is the second Ever Gold presentation by John Held, Jr., who previously organized, Debris From the Cultural Underground, the subject of a January 2011 Artforum review. Held examines the role San Francisco Beat visual artists played in influencing Fluxus, Punk, Mail Art, DiY and Zine cultures in a curatorial talk on December 15th, at 7:30 PM.