The Role of the Leo Castelli Gallery in the Advent of ‘Pop Art’

with Roberta Bernstein

THIS EVENT HAPPENED ON Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Leo Castelli established his gallery’s direction when it opened in the late 1950s by exhibiting the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Their art marked a shift away from the prevailing mode of abstract expressionism by employing objects and signs from the everyday environment, popular culture, and the mass media. By the mid-1960s the Castelli Gallery was considered among the most influential “Pop Places,” exhibiting works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist along with that of Johns and Rauschenberg. Bernstein, who frequented the Castelli gallery after arriving in New York in 1966 as an art history graduate student examines the origins of the galley as center for the various directions of Pop, including her personal experiences.

Roberta Bernstein is recognized as the foremost scholar of the art of Jasper Johns. She is author and project director of the five-volume Jasper Johns: Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture, including the comprehensive monograph, Jasper Johns: Redo an Eye, published by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute in 2017-18. Bernstein served as a consultant to the catalogue raisonné of drawings published by the Menil Collection. She has written and lectured extensively on Johns and other contemporary artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Marisol Escobar. In 2022, Bernstein was appointed a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor for her scholarship linking Johns’s art with French artists including Paul Cézanne and Marcel Duchamp. Bernstein is professor emeritus of art history at the University at Albany, State University of New York; she received her PhD from Columbia University.

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