Passion behind the Art: Leo Castelli

I’m a speed reader. I grew up around book and developed the habit. – A good habit, I’ve never been able to kick.  Lately I’ve been reading e-books about artist and the gallerists who promote the art.

I particlulary like the well-researched book, Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli

One of the things that inspired me was that Leo didn’t hit his groove professionally until his 50’s. Really really dug that.

His work as a gallerist was informed by a sincere passion, salemanship but also an acute sense of history. He loved art history. After immigrating to the United States and before opening his gallery full time, he would take his lunch hours to hang out at MOMA and other New York museums.

Another thing that blew me away during these time of budget cuts and government shutdowns. Castelli worked during a time of the growth of the american art community and market. His artists included Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. What is not common knowledge is the support of our government during this period of American History.  Robert Rauschenberg was the first Amercian to win the Venice Biennia in 1964l. One little strange detail that is a reflectiion of the detailed research done for this book was who transported the large-scale work to Venice – a military transport. My jaw dropped.  What an optimistic time. This was several years before the National Endowment for the Arts.

Art has given me a great deal. I hope that we can return to a time when our government can step up and make a statement like that. I would love it.