Selections from the Robert Heinecken Collection (Arts Library Cage)

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 8:00am to Friday, June 1, 2018 - 5:00pm

Throughout his artistic career, the artist, teacher, and self-described “para-photographer” Robert Heinecken (1931–2006) demonstrated a prescience towards the ways that images circulate in contemporary culture. Heinecken made use of visual material appropriated from television, magazines, newspapers, amateur photography, and pornography in collages, photograms, instant film, bookworks, and other print formats. In his influential work Are You Rea (1964–1968), he created a series of photographs from pages of Life, Time, and Woman’s Day backlit with a light table so that both recto and verso are juxtaposed into a single image. After serving as a Marine in the 1950s, Heinecken received his BA in 1959 and an MFA in design, drawing, and printmaking in 1960 from UCLA. He began teaching at UCLA the following year, and in 1964, Heinecken founded the art department’s photography program, where he taught until 1991. During over three decades teaching at UCLA and briefly at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Heinecken’s students included the artists Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin, Darryl Curran, Uta Barth, John Divola, and Patrick Nagatani, many of whom went on to become teachers themselves.

In addition to making his own limited edition bookworks, Heinecken was an avid supporter of artists’ books and amassed much of his collection through exchange with other artists in Southern California and around the world. Like Heinecken’s own art practice, his collection of artists’ books is situated in the lineages of both of artists’ books and photo books and reflects the consciousness of artists in 1970s and ’80s towards gender, sex, the body, advertising, commercialism, and American identity. In 1995, Heinecken donated his personal library to the UCLA Arts Library comprised of over 240 artists’ books and nearly 500 additional titles including periodicals, exhibition catalogs, and monographs. Together with the collection of Judith Hoffberg, the Robert Heinecken Collection has helped to make UCLA’s artists’ book collection one of the largest in the United States.

Detail from Robert Heinecken's 1984, a case study in finding an appropriate TV newswoman : (a CBS docudrama in words and pictures).

Exhibit organized by Robert Gore and Karly Wildenhaus.


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