|GEORGE BAKER: MAJOR EARLY SHOWS & CATALOGS|
|George Baker was fortunate enough
to have been discovered by the noted gallery operator Felix
Landau very early in his career. In fact, Mr. Baker's 1960 MFA show for
his degree at USC was actually held at Landau's gallery on La Cienega
Blvd. in Los Angeles. The Felix Landau Gallery would quickly become
known as one of the
most important art galleries in LA throughout the fifties, sixties, and
early seventies. Mr. Baker had regular one-man showns there through
this time, as well as participating in numerous group shows with Landau
as well. In Landau's obituary in the LA Times, March 3, 2003, writer
and art critic Suzanne Muchnic called Landau's gallery
a prestigious showcase for modern and contemporary art . . . Called "the tastemaker of La Cienega" in a 1967 Times interview, Landau introduced Austrian artists Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt to Los Angeles.
In an international exhibition program, he presented British artist Francis Bacon's first show in Los Angeles, staged a landmark exhibition of Peter Voulkos' breakthrough ceramic sculpture, and championed California abstract painter John McLaughlin . . . In one major coup, Landau took charge of the estate of French sculptor Gaston Lachaise.
The Landau Gallery developed an ambitious international exhibition program, including works by British sculptor Henry Moore and California artists Sam Francis, Paul Wonner, William Dole and Jack Zajac.
|Landau promoted Baker's work in
New York and Europe as well, and was instrumental in arranging shows
with the Galerie Springer in Berlin and the Galerie
Rene Ziegler in Zurich.
In 1966 Landau acquired a controlling interest in the prestigious Alan
Gallery in New York, renamed it Landau-Alan, and quickly mounted a
one-person Baker show. The show in Berlin lead to many shows and
opportunities, including a traveling exhibition that went from Brussels
to Louvain and Bonn in 1976. Baker continued to showed
regularly as a gallery artist with Landau until the gallery closed in
the early seventies, with Landau leaving the art business and moving to
Europe. Thereafter Baker showed with the Jody Scully Gallery as well as
other Los Angeles galleries: the Mekler Gallery; Mitzi Landau; the
Wenger Gallery; Charles Mitchell, and others.
Baker's shows in Berlin were so well received that he was invited to be an artist in residence there twice. This eventually lead to his enormous commissioned work for the opera house Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1978.
Of course there were also numerous group shows with major museums through this time as well, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many others. He was also part of a six-artist Sculpture Symposium for the International Exposition of 1970 in Osaka Japan, where he created a large kinetic fountain. Noted kinetic sculptor George Rickey also took part. The fountain later went to Hakone, to what became the noted outdoor sculpture museum there.
Below are shown the catalog covers of six of Baker's important exhibitions through 1972. The shows illustrate the progression of the artist's style: the early rusted steel and bronze welded constructions; a period of smoother biomorphic welded aluminum forms; the series of polished bronze castings; and eventually the early kinetic sculptures. Each cover image is linked to a full page with the complete catalog.