An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle
Hardcover Smyth-sewn book, with jacket
288 pages, with over 200 full-color reproductions with over 60 color and black-and-white photographs
Includes Exhibition Checklist, Index, and Appendixes
Written by Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff, with additional essays by William Breazeale and James Maynard
Size: 8.5 x 10 in.
Artist Jess (1923–2004) and poet Robert Duncan (1919–1988) were one of the most fascinating artistic couples of the 20th century, together sharing a rich, complex intellectual and emotional life that resulted in some of the century’s most satisfying and moving artworks and writings. After meeting in San Francisco in 1950, they soon created a domestic life based on mutual intellectual and aesthetic interests. In reexamining myths through a synthesis of art and literature, their deeply interrelated works stand as crucial assemblages of the meaning of our time. An Opening of the Field presents a rich cross-section of Jess’s paintings and collages and Duncan’s colorful abstract drawings, as well as a gallery of works by the artists and poets who were intimates in their circle, including Helen Adam, James Broughton, Patricia Jordan, R. B. Kitaj, Michael McClure, Jack Spicer, Dean Stockwell, and many others.
Essays by Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff examine the artists’ lives and works; William Breazeale interprets the complexity of a major Jess collage; and James Maynard offers a synopsis of the poetry scene of the time. Concise biographies are included for each of the artists and poets featured in the “circle.”