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Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961-1976

John Szarkowski showing Charles Kuralt how to hold a watermelon when eating it left to right
Robert Heinecken Archive/Gift of the artist


Vietcong soldier holding two severed heads printed over Cool Ray Polaroid Sunglasses ad with two headshots of models wearing large sunglasses
ca. 1970
Robert Heinecken Archive, Gift of the artist

Brings two seminal yet under-studied Los Angeles artists into close conversation with one another for the first time. The archive of Robert Heinecken resides at the Center for Creative Photography and this is the first major exhibition of his work to be shown at the Center. This exhibition examines how these two artists bridged modernist and emerging post-modernist trends by ushering in the use of photography as a key element of contemporary avant-garde art. Focusing on language and the creation of new visual codes, as well as on the little-known friendship between Berman and Heinecken, their works are explored within the unique cultural milieu of 1960s and 1970s Southern California, as it fueled and amplified each artist’s highly original approach to making images.