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So I leaned back (from “Oo la la” portfolio) with Ron Padgett poem by Jim Dine

So I leaned back (from “Oo la la” portfolio) with Ron Padgett poem by Jim Dine

Petersburg Press

Colour Lithograph


Edition Size: 75

Sheet Size: 15 x 27.5 inches

Reference: Jim Dine Prints: 1970-1977. Exhibition Catalogue. Williams College: Williamstown, 1977: pp 50-51, no. 26


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

Lithograph on handmade Hodgkinson wove paper; the full sheet, watermarked with the signatures of Jim Dine and Ron Padgett and initials of the publisher Petersburg Press. Signed by the artist lower left. From the Oo La La portfolio of 15 lithographs printed offset from zinc plates, drawn by both artists. Produced in collaboration with Ron Padgett and published by Petersburg Press, London. One of fifteen artist’s proofs aside from the edition of 75.

A sparrow perches at the center of a swath of pale pink, around which wraps hand-written lines from Ron Padgett’s poem “Ode to Clemens Laurrell”: “So I lean back against the willows / just to be free again / just to embrace the fleeting image / of a monumental and disastrous chord / struck on a defective Omaha / Sky and clouds tearing apart at sunset / and the tones fading on waves / of rising melody / in the flowing geography of the sky.” Dine’s cursive conveys the spontaneity of a journal entry, and the intimacy of a letter between friends. A delicately sketched sparrow, perched between words, positions the text as both a formal element of the composition, and as a vessel for the sublime imagery of Padgett’s verses.

The late 1960s and early 70s saw Dine’s interest in literary pursuits grow: he illustrated and published a book of his own poetry entitled Welcome Home Lovebirds (Trigram Press, 1969), and he provided drawings and photographs for the publications of Padgett and other New York School poets: Ron Padgett’s translation of Apollinaire’s “Le Poète Assassiné” (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1968), Ron Padgett and Tom Clark’s Bun (Angel Hair, 1968), and Fragment, by Ted Berrigan (Cape Goliard Press, London 1969). Cape Golliard also published a stylish monograph in 1970 reproducing photographs and drawings titled “The Adventures of Mr and Mrs Jim and Ron”.

In 1966, police raided a Jim Dine exhibition in London at the Robert Fraser Gallery. Fraser was charged under the Obscene Publications act and Dine was found to be indecent. After a meteoric rise to artistic prominence in New York, Dine had tired of the city’s intense art scene, and this incident was the final straw. He moved with his family to London in 1967 and began producing work at Petersburg Press, where he would become a longtime collaborator. As a student, Dine had cited the great American poets, Ron Padgett, Robert Creeley and Ted Berrigan, of the New York School as early inspirations, and in London, he eagerly took the opportunity to work with Padgett at Petersburg Press.


The Artist

Jim Dine

Jim Dine is an American pop artist who was born in Ohio in 1935 and was known for his painting, drawing, sculpting and printmaking. He is considered to be a part of the Neo-Dada movement, a style that opposed the emotional expressions of Abstract Impressionism and instead, denies aesthetics by using mundane subjects and focusing on performance. Dine was first recognised by the art industry when he displayed ‘Happenings’ a type of performance art in collaboration with the musician John Cage. In 1959, it was exhibited over six days in an environment or installation in New York City’s Reuben Gallery, where features of light, sound, projects and viewer participation all played a part in the display.

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