Roy Lichtenstein, Girl and Spray Can (detail), pages 118–119 in the book 1¢ Life by Walasse Ting (Bern: E.W. Kornfeld, 1964). Color lithograph printed on double-page spread. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation, 1996.74.1.49. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

“A book like hundred flower garden”: Walasse Ting’s 1 ¢ Life

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This exhibition showcases poet and artist Walasse Ting’s groundbreaking artist-illustrated book 1¢ Life, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014. 1¢ Life features 62 original lithographs by 28 American and European artists created to accompany 61 poems by Ting.

Displaying a range of approaches that dominated the art world in the early 1960s, the vibrant lithographs in 1¢ Life showcase the second-generation Abstract Expressionism of artists like Sam Francis (who was also the book’s editor) and Joan Mitchell, the Pop art of such notables as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and the work of Paris-based artists formerly affiliated with the CoBrA group, such as Karl Appel and Asger Jorn.

The use of color lithography in 1¢ Life was a bold choice during a time when most American artists associated the medium with commercial printing. Ting and Francis challenged American artists to reconsider the possibilities of lithography and collaborated with European printmakers to produce a volume that, in Ting’s words, was “exciting as Times Square, color bright as neon light, hot as espresso.”

Currently on view