Some weeks ago i wrote about 80ies images and culture, and the absence in the contemporary art world of that kind of conversation. At FIAC, Cherry and Martin gallery presented an exhibition of works by American artist Robert Heinecken (1932-2006). Robert Heinecken received his BA (1959) and MFA (1960) from the University of California, Los Angeles. He founded UCLA’s photography program in 1964.
Through these works and other pieces in Cherry and Martin’s presentation, one can see Heinecken’s lifelong investigation of such themes as violence and dysfunction in the American family, the similarities between advertising and pornography, also the representation of women as sexual objects, and the peculiarities of American representations of race and gender as they appear in America’s mass-media, product-driven, consumer-oriented culture.
New interest in the work of Robert Heinecken has led to a complete reassessment of his place in the history of American art. In many respects, Heinecken’s work is containing no value, which is typical of the mass American society, but it also links the Surrealist influence on American art-making to its later post-war engagement with Pop. Heinecken’s influence and importance in the history of Los Angeles as an art center is also being reconsidered, particularly with regard to the city’s unique role in the development of the photographic object.