This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Timothy Anglin Burgard, the co-curator of "Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-66." The exhibition opens tomorrow at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, where it will be on view through September 29.
The exhibition catalogue — which includes full-page plates of many Berkeley-era paintings not in the exhibition — is published by Yale University Press. Burgard, co-curator Steven A. Nash and Emma Acker contributed three of the best catalogue essays I’ve read this year. If you are interested in 20th-century painting, this book needs to be in your library.
On this week’s program, Burgard tells host Tyler Green that while Diebenkorn’s career is typically described in terms of strict, geographic progression — for example, Albuquerque to Urbana to Berkeley to Ocean Park, for example — Diebenkorn actually migrated ideas and compositions from one ‘group of work’ to the next. At the top is 1953’s Urbana #5 (Beach Town) in which Diebenkorn abstracted an aerial view of, yes, a beach town. That painting seems to have led to 1953’s Urbana and then to one of the early, great Berkeley paintings, 1954’s Berkeley #8, now at the North Carolina Museum of Art.