DILEXI: A GALLERY & BEYOND
November 21, 2021, Goldman Theater @ 2 PM – 5 PM
David Brower Center, 1250 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
November 21, 2021, Goldman Theater @ 2 PM – 5 PM
David Brower Center, 1250 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
A special book launch event for DILEXI: A Gallery & Beyond, a new coffee table hardback documenting the life and work of Other Minds Co-founder Jim Newman. The event began with a performance by guitarist Gyan Riley and featured a panel chaired by former SF Chronicle Art Critic Charles Desmarais. He was joined by the book’s author Laura Whitcomb, former Pacific Film Archive curator Steve Seid, and Jim Newman himself.
From 1958 to 1969, Jim Newman owned and operated the groundbreaking Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco. During the 1970s and 1980s, he produced two feature films with Philip Makanna and Sun Ra, along with a television documentary on the Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath.
Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond (2021) is the result of 8 years of research by Label Curatorial’s director Laura Whitcomb and the research director Narin Dickerson. It is particularly anticipated after the Dilexi’s well reviewed retrospective in 2019 which saw six galleries across California participate. The Dilexi Multivenue Retrospective included Parrasch Heijnen, Parker Gallery, The Landing, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles and Crown Point Press and Brian Gross Fine Art in San Francisco.
The publication has essays by art critic Peter Frank and Dilexi founder Jim Newman. The book also features contributing essays by the film critic Antoine Thirion, the legendary media historian Gene Youngblood, former Whitney curator and Artist Space Director Jay Sanders and the social critic Robby Herbst. Historic essay excerpts include the Berkeley Museum’s Pacific Film Archive Steve Seid and film historians and viedographers Steina and Woody Vasulka.
Concert Video: Gyan Riley
Credit: Mark Abramson
About Jim Newman
Discovering bebop as a teenager and trained as a saxophonist, Jim Newman attended Stanford University and Oberlin College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in music in 1955.
While at Oberlin he started a jazz club and was also a founding member, with Walter Hopps and Craig Kauffman, of Concerthall Workshop. In addition to his activities as a musician, Newman has had extensive experience as a jazz presenter, having staged numerous concerts at Oberlin and in Los Angeles, presenting such artists as Dave Brubeck, Teddy Charles, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Terry Gibbs, and Gerry Mulligan.
In 1955 Newman co-founded Syndell Studio in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, with Ben and Betty Bartosh, Walter Hopps and Craig Kauffman. In that same year they presented “Action I,” the first major survey of California abstract expressionist painting, at the Santa Monica Pier merry-go-round. In 1956 he moved to San Francisco where he co-founded the Dilexi Gallery with Robert Alexander in 1958 and directed its operations until it closed in 1969. Exhibitors at the gallery included artists Jeremy Anderson, Hassel Smith, Alvin Light, Leslie Kerr, Alfred Jensen, Craig Kauffman, Irving Petlin, Deborah Remington, Jay DeFeo, Roy De Forest, Ed Moses, H.C. Westermann, Jess, Sidney Gordin, Gary Molitor, Robert Morris, Ron Nagle, Charles Ross, Richard Shaw, Hassel Smith and others.
In his capacity as a film and television producer, in 1968 Newman worked with KQED-TV on production of the Dilexi Series, featuring twelve original TV programs by artists including Terry Riley, Arlo Acton, Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Nelson, William Wiley, Frank Zappa, Andy Warhol, The Living Theater, Philip Makanna, Robert Frank, Edwin Schlossberg, Walter De Maria, and Kenneth Dewey. From 1971 to 1974 he produced two feature films, Phil Makanna’s Shoot the Whale and Space Is the Place, featuring jazz bandleader Sun Ra.
With filmmaker William Farley he produced a video documentary, In Between the Notes, on the life and career of master Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, working closely with Pran Nath’s disciples Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela.
In 1992, along with Charles Amirkhanian, Newman co-founded the new music festival organization Other Minds, based in San Francisco. He designed and formatted its original website in 1995 and also did the graphic design for many of its CDs and festival programs. He served as President of Other Minds (formerly the California College of Performing Arts) from 1992 to 2004.
About Gyan Riley
“Gyan Riley is a one-man American-music machine, amicably ranging across the fields of jazz, world music, and post-minimalism.” (The New Yorker)
At the age of 6, Gyan began learning to play the violin. Good fortune struck 5 years later when he won a guitar in a raffle, liberating his parents from having to listen to him squeaking his way through his Suzuki method book. He immediately took to the guitar, practicing long hours and eventually being admitted to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, becoming the first full-scholarship guitar student. Gyan toured internationally with various ensembles throughout his twenties, including the World Guitar Ensemble, the Falla Guitar Trio, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, and his own Gyan Riley Trio. Upon moving to New York City in 2010, he joined the electric guitar quartet Dither, a boundary-pushing band that boasts collaborations with Nels Cline and Lee Ronaldo. He also formed the duo Probosci with violinist Timba Harris, a project that released two albums and toured extensively in Europe, South America and the US. He cofounded the acoustic trio Eviyan, with virtuoso clarinetist Evan Ziporyn and the iconic singer/violinist Iva Bíttova. In 2015 Gyan began his collaboration with renowned guitarist Julian Lage, performing music by John Zorn. In the last two years, that duo expanded to include the legendary guitarist Bill Frisell, recording four albums on the Tzadik label. Gyan has also performed extensively and released two albums with his father, the composer/pianist/vocalist Terry Riley. Gyan has six of his own CD titles and dozens of collaborative recordings. Most recently he was extensively featured as a performer and composer for the PBS documentary series Hemingway. Tour dates, media, albums, and sheet music available at www.gyanriley.com.
“Beautiful and enigmatic”…”an alluringly intimate vibe created from the first note.”
-The New York Times –
About Charles Desmarais
Charles Desmarais first met Jim Newman in 2011 while serving as President of the San Francisco Art Institute. There he learned of and came to admire Jim’s many contributions to the Bay Area art scene. He published a profile of Newman in 2018 (“Jim Newman, Seeking the New in Art and Music for 7 Decades and Counting”) in the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was the art critic until his retirement last year.
Desmarais received the 2017 Rabkin Prize for Visual Arts Journalism and was awarded an Art Critic’s Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. The years between his work as a critic, he spent as a leader of arts institutions.
Over his long career, Desmarais held top leadership positions at the Brooklyn Museum; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Laguna Art Museum; and the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside.
Today he divides his time between writing about art and raising fruit and vegetables. He and his wife Kitty Morgan share an apartment in San Francisco and a cottage on Sonoma Mountain near Glen Ellen.
About Laura Whitcomb
Laura Whitcomb is the director of Label Curatorial, which develops exhibitions and publications for institutions worldwide. The curatorial is known for highlighting California artists, philosophers, musicians and landmark galleries. A Surrealist scholar, Whitcomb explores the movement’s influences upon California artists at mid-century while also focusing on the post-war zeitgeist of artist-run galleries from 1949-1965 in the Bay Area. She also focuses on the intersection of experimental music and contemporary art and notable Bay Area art collaborations with jazz musicians and composers of the San Francisco Tape Music Center.
Whitcomb also has worked as an archivist on a number of Bay Area projects including Onslow Ford. Her work with the archives of the artist, filmmaker, and composer Warner Jepson became an exhibition in 2018 at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. That year saw Whitcomb join with Narin Dickerson to further her research on the Dilexi Gallery and on Dilexi director Jim Newman’s post gallery work which resulted in a retrospective in 2019 at six California galleries including Crown Point Press and Brian Gross Fine Art in San Francisco, and Parker Gallery, the Landing, and Parrasch Heijnen in Los Angeles. Eight years of research has now become the publication Dilexi: A Gallery and Beyond which was edited and art directed by Jim Newman.
The Dilexi Gallery will also be featured in Artist and Poet Run Galleries 1949-1965 (2022) which will be released through the curatorial’s publishing. Another publication which has a preview essay in Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond is Catharsis on Canvas which documents the GI phenomenon at the California School of Fine Arts and how war trauma became the powerful underpinning of Bay Area Abstract Expressionism, a movement first thoroughly documented by the esteemed and late Susan Landauer who was a great influence on Whitcomb’s work. Currently Laura Whtcomb is curating Pioneers of Light and Space that will be in conjunction with Dublab’s music installation Orchestrina which inaugurates the new international terminal at LAX as the first installment to prepare Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympics. Artists are Peter Alexander, Bob Irwin, Larry Bell, Helen Pashgian, John McCracken, De Wain Valentine, Laddie John Dill and Gisela Colón whose recent sculpture at the Giza pyramids was covered by Whitcomb.
About Steven Seid
Steve Seid was a media curator at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive for twenty-five years. During that time, he presented almost a thousand public programs, featuring experimental media, forgotten film genres, and a sampling of international cinema. He also helped build the PFA’s collection, particularly video art and personal cinemas from the Bay Area. Notable would be the recent restoration of Steven Arnold’s Luminous Procuress (1971) and poet ruth weiss’s only film effort, The Brink (1961). Seid has also been involved with several publications, most importantly, Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000, co-edited with Steve Anker and Kathy Geritz (UC Press); Ant Farm 1968-1978, co-edited with Constance Lewallen (UC Press); and his recent solo effort, Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of An Image (Inventory Press).