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The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Ocean Park

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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast is all about Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park series, which is surveyed in a major exhibition that opens this weekend at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. First, exhibition curator Sarah Bancroft talks about how the work came to be and what makes it great; next, conservator Ana Alba discusses her new research into the Ocean Park series — and why some of the paintings from certain parts of the series are having condition issues.

Bancroft is a curator at the Orange County Museum of Art, where the exhibition was shown this spring. (The show was co-organized by the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, where it debuted last fall. I reviewed the MAMFW presentation here.) Previously she was a curator of the OCMA’s 2010 California Biennial, and the co-curator (with Walter Hopps) of the Guggenheim’s 2003 James Rosenquist retrospective.

Bancroft and I discuss:

  • Where Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series ranks in the canon;
  • The way the Ocean Park paintings changed from beginning to end;
  • How Diebenkorn mined art history for these works in such a way as to ensure that each was a Diebenkorn through-and-through; and
  • How landscape was important to Diebenkorn — and not in the way art-lovers commonly assume.

Alba is a conservation fellow in modern paintings at the National Gallery of Art. She started her work on Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park paintings while at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden when she was a paintings conservation intern. In May she presented her research on the Ocean Park series at the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’s annual conference in Albuquerque.

To download the program directly, click here. To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can stream the program through the player below.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. For images of the works discussed on this week’s show, click through to the jump.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #6, 1967. Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #16, 1968. Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #24, 1969. Collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #22, 1969. Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #27, 1970. Collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #38, 1971. Collection of The Phillips Collection, Washington.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #89.5, 1975. Collection of the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Neb.

Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1975.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #116, 1979. Collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1984.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #138, 1985.

Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1986. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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  1. Robin Repp says:

    Thank you for such a great interview with Sarah Bancroft who is brilliant! Richard Diebenkorn is the greatest painter of his era. She does a wonderful job of letting us understand his process. I went to the show she curated at OCMA 5 times. His paintings are very overwhelming emotionally to the point of tears when you stand in front of the actual work.

  2. julieann says:

    These paintings will be relevant for as long as light exists; not bad for objects.

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