If you’ve ever heard “Look at things that bother and agitate you. The things that you don’t like are probably the things that challenge your brain.” – then you are familiar with the utterances of Roy Lichtenstein’s art dealer, Richard Bellamy – who was also a great supporter of Andy Warhol.
Judith Stein has written a new biography of Bellamy, Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, which gives a great overview of the emerging art movements in the 1960s, before they became the tidy, compartmentalized movements we can identify today. The book also details how works (say by the likes of Warhol or Lichtenstein) accrue value – fiscal and sentimental – and are transferred from studio to museum.
The book focus heavily on the fabled Green Gallery in New York, which, under Bellamy’s supvervision – launched the careers of Pop, Op and conceptual artists, as well as mavericks and minimalists, artists such as Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenquist, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, Mark di Suvero and Lucas Samaras, and Robert Morris and Larry Poons. “There was nobody like Bellamy. I certainly consider myself his pupil,” art dealer Leo Castelli would later say.
Stein gives a nice quote from the painter Larry Poons: “There weren’t any distinctions made between the abstractness of, say, Stella, Lichtenstein or Warhol. Nobody was drawing any lines … everything existed together on the same wall, and it was fine.”
The New Yorker has said of the book, “In Eye of the Sixties, Judith Stein pulled together years of research and interviews with the late Bellamy’s closest friends and associates, as well as the artists who adorned his walls. Through this biography, Stein traces the outward reach of the counterculture through one of its most important arbiters.”