Lori Bookstein Fine Art Presents STEPHEN ANTONAKOS: PILLOWS 1962-1963
Lori Bookstein Fine Art announces a major exhibition of Antonakos's historic Pillow series from the dynamic early Sixties, a period marked by the powerful emergence of both Pop Art and Minimalism. As in their first show at New York's Byron Gallery in 1964 and the exhibition organized by Houston's Contemporary Art Museum in 1971, a wide range of multimedia Pillows and Pillow Drawings will be installed. A vitrine will contain documentary material of various kinds, and a full-color catalogue will be available. This is the artist's third solo show with Lori Bookstein Fine Art.
From our current perspective, the Pillows may be understood within the long development of European found-object and assemblage traditions, particularly from Miro to Burri and on through to the contemporary work of such great American artists as Bontecou, Rauschenberg, and Chamberlain. The Pillows' other essential context is their creation specifically at the temporal intersection of the emergence of both Pop and Minimalism - nearly simultaneous movements surging in very dissimilar directions.
By the early Sixties Antonakos had left behind his hand-made Constructions and "Sewlages" and was working with non-referential, abstract geometry in neon, his signature medium. Suddenly, unexpectedly, at this pivotal moment there was a detour into a unique series of profoundly personal, nighttime compulsions involving pillows and - once again - found media. Some of the elements are presented "as is" and others are variously painted, manipulated, or even hidden beneath their pillowcases. The rush lasted over a year. Each Pillow reverberates with inner emotional, psychological subtexts. Perhaps more radical than even their most visceral operations is their displacement from human contact and the horizontal to their exposed vertical positions on the wall. This change from private to public recalls Rauschenberg's famous "Bed," but the Pillows have also gone through a lot on the way.
Asked about the "detour" into his distinct and distinctly strange constellation of Pillows, Antonakos said, "It squeezed me, it had me in its grip. I was going somewhere else but it wound me up and pulled me into its coil. I ricocheted from one to the next without rest, without awakening."