Bob Neuwirth

in conversation with

David Felton

Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 8pm

Track 16, Bergamot Station

2525 Michigan Ave, Bldg. C-1,

Santa Monica, CA


$20  General Admission, $95 includes reception from 6:30-7:30pm at Track 16 Gallery

Join us for this special Live Talks Los Angeles event presented in conjunction with Track 16 Gallery on the occasion of an exhibition of paintings by Bob Neuwirth curated by Kristine McKenna.  For more information on the exhibition visit the Track 16 website.

Overs & Unders: Paintings by Bob Neuwirth, 1964 – 2009;  May 14-June 11, 2011

This retrospective exhibition includes sixteen canvases produced over the course of Neuwirth’s forty-five year career in art, which has included painting, sculpture, filmmaking and music. Difficult to categorize, Neuwirth has moved from one medium to another, but has always returned to his original disciplines of drawing and painting. As he says, “all art is visual for me, whether I’m painting or trying to write a good song.”  Overs & Unders offers the first comprehensive overview of his stylistic development. Neuwirth came of age during the glory days of New York action painting, and abstraction has always been central to his art-making practice. Overs & Unders includes a selection of work from the early ‘60s, when he was producing quirky hybrids of Cubism and Surrealism. The ‘70s found him exploring various experimental materials, and he went on to produce a series of wall works that straddled the zone between painting and sculpture, and a cycle of haunted landscapes that are poised between abstraction and figuration. Neuwirth’s work has grown increasingly lyrical and fluid over the course of his career, and in recent years he has been producing exuberant, expansive pictures filled with space, light, and blazing color.

Born in Ohio, Neuwirth began painting as a teenager. While a student at Ohio University, he met Jim Dine who was working as a graduate assistant to one of his professors. Dine encouraged him to go to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. After two years at school, Neuwirth made his way to Paris where he spent time wandering the Louvre and the Orangerie absorbing classical and Impressionist painting influences. He returned to Boston and became part of the Cambridge Folk scene that launched the careers of Joan Baez and Geoff Muldaur among others. As a result of playing music in various folk venues Neuwirth entered the fluid world of transcontinental folk-slingers and traveled the axis between Cambridge/New York, and Berkeley/San Francisco, with detours in between. In 1964 while living in Berkeley, Neuwirth got a call from his friend Bob Dylan asking him to join a tour that resulted in the now classic D.A. Pennebaker film Don’t Look Back.

At the end of that 1965 tour, Neuwirth took a loft in a deserted neighborhood under New York’s Manhattan Bridge that had previously belonged to Eric Dolphy. The building also housed the Chiron Press, which printed the famed LOVE posters featuring the tilted ‘V,’ and the studio of an old friend from Boston, Brice Marden. Marden introduced Neuwirth to fellow New York artists David Novros and Frosty Myers, and they convened regularly at the artists’ meeting place, Max’s Kansas City. Neuwirth became a part of a group of habitués that included Larry Poons, Robert Smithson, Robert Raushenberg and Andy Warhol. His work was included in group shows at the Park Place Gallery curated by Paula Cooper; at the Bykert Gallery curated by Klaus Kertes; and in shows at the New Jersey State Museum and the Jewish Museum. Also interested in film, Neuwirth worked with D.A. Pennebaker on Eat the Document and Monterey Pop Festival and Richard Leacock on Lulu and AM/PM (co-directed by Jean-Luc Godard), to learn the basics of filmmaking. He made several nonlinear films, including an unreleased short film for The Doors, all the while continuing to make watercolors and drawings.

He spent time in Nashville, Tennessee and toured with Kris Kristofferson/Rita Coolidge. In 1975 he assembled the house band for the traveling rock ‘n’ roll circus, The Rolling Thunder Review, and was master of ceremonies and performer with both editions of that tour. In 1980 he moved to Santa Monica, CA, where he continued to paint while making solo albums, Back to the Front and 99 Monkeys. In 1989, Arts at St. Ann’s commissioned a music/theater project, Last Day on Earth that was a collaboration with John Cale. It had its New York premier in1990. Neuwirth did musical tours with Warren Zevon and John Cale, and in 1996 made Havana Midnight with Cuban composer, José Maria Vitier. Neuwirth has released five solo LPs, and was a producer of Down From the Mountain, the 2000 documentary film exploring the American roots music showcased in the Coen Brothers’ film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Neuwirth maintains studios in Manhattan and Santa Monica, and splits his time between the two cities.

David Felton has spent his life experimenting with new forms of journalism and television writing. At the Los Angeles Times he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work covering the first Watts uprising and wrote a three-act play documenting the Summer of Love. At Rolling Stone Magazine his five-part study of Charles Manson, including a pre-trial interview, won the National Magazine Award. He edited Hunter S. Thompson’s seminal Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Felton produced and wrote “MTV: the Reagan Years” for public television and helped develop the “Beavis and Butt-Head” show for MTV. In recent years he has run MTV Labs to encourage creative experimentation by the employees of MTV Networks. He is the author of Mindfuckers: a Source Book on the Rise of Acid Fascism in America.