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Eye of the Sixties

Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art

Judith Stein

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Collector and NYC taxi mogul Bob Scull financed Bellamy's new gallery. Bellamy and friends wanted to call it O.K. Harris or Oil&Steel, but Scull vetoed those names in favour of more anodyne Green Gallery.

Nov 1961 Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating The Bust of Homer sold at auction for $2.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. But in retrospect, it just marked the start of the boom. Until then, it was seen as bad taste to talk about what a pic cost.

Roy Lichtenstein's injoke ref to his friend with the painting Mr Bellamy ("I amsupposed to report to a Mr Bellamy.I wonder what he is like"). In the background is a yellow cab - a ref to Green Gallery>
Oldenburg'sStore referenced Lolita with the cornucopia Humbert Humbert gave his illicit lover: "four boxes of comics, abox of candy, a box of sanitary pads, two cokes, a manicure set, a travel clock, a topaz ring, a tennis raquet, roller skates with high white shoes, binoculars, a portable radio, chewing gum, a transparent raincoat, sunglasses, frocks and shorts."

Bitter opposition from the abstract expressionists and their supporters. Watershed moment Sidney Janis's The New Realists opening Halloween night 1962. Mag writer mocked the shows with "implicit proclamation that the New had arrived , and it was time for the old fogies to pack." Despair that 'art was no longer about struggle; now it was about marketing' But Wesselmann sold all his works, and had to quickly produc a couple more to fill gaps. "It was like a machine" he said.

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