Llyn Foulkes (born 1934)
Llyn Foulkes has frequently used his voice as an artist to expose political folly, shine a light on threats to our ecological systems, and criticize commercialism (oftentimes, the Walt Disney Corporation). He is known for utilizing dark humor and a playful attitude.
In 1961, one year before Andy Warhol, Llyn Foulkes showed his first solo work at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. Foulkes’ earliest foray into exhibiting at Ferus Gallery had been during his time as a student at Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) in 1959. This early involvement opened the door for Llyn Foulkes to hold his first solo exhibition there two years later. Additional early solo exhibitions of Foulkes include shows at Pasadena Art Museum (1962), Oakland Art Museum (1964), and Rolf Nelson Gallery (1963, 64). He continued to gain momentum and recognition while emerging as a Pop artist. In 1967, Foulkes was awarded the Prize for Painting at the Paris Biennale for his exhibition at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Llyn Foulkes has been lauded as an early master of Pop, given the work he released on the scene alongside the likes of Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha. Llyn Foulkes also emerged alongside Wallace Berman, John Baldessari, and Robert Irwin, who were similarly known for exploration of design in space and their use of assemblage.
While the original building was still under construction, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired Llyn Foulkes’ work for its collection in 1964—this was the first museum to acquire Llyn Foulkes’ original work.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Foulkes would continue to experiment with his medium. He increasingly practiced making assemblage work utilizing materials such as vintage photography, postcards, road signs, clothing and upholstery fragments, and more, painting over the final composition to set each work into place.
Though Llyn Foulkes’ style has shifted over the years, Dada and Duchampian tones are visible in much of his body of work. His most notable project as of late is titled “Deliverance” (2004-2007). His latest works were featured in a documentary titled Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, directed by Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2014.
Many have rallied behind Llyn Foulkes’ ongoing efforts to upend the status quo through art that twists, subverts, and pokes fun.
Llyn Foulkes is also a musician, and continues to perform with his one-man-band The Machine. Originally from Yakima, Washington, he now resides and makes his art in Los Angeles.
Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach, CA)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York City, NY)
Oakland Museum of California (Oakland, CA)
The University of Arizona Museum of Art (Tucson, AZ)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City, NY)
Llyn Foulkes Website
Biography of Llyn Foulkes on Wikipedia
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