Eye of the Sixties by Judith E. Stein
Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art

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A man of shrewd and impeccable taste, Bellamy’s role in promoting the often misunderstood art of abstract expressionism, pop, and minimalism was profound. This is an endearing and illuminating work of biography. A shadowy figure of the 1960s art world is gloriously revealed.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A man with a preternatural ability to find emerging artists, Richard Bellamy was one of the first advocates of pop art, minimalism, and conceptual art. The founder and director of the fabled Green Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street, the witty, poetry-loving art lover became a legend of the avant-garde, showing the work of artists such as Mark di Suvero, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Donald Judd, and others.

Born to an American father and a Chinese mother in a Cincinnati suburb, Bellamy moved to New York and made a life for himself between the Beat orbits of Provincetown and white-glove events such as the Guggenheim's opening gala. He partied with Norman Mailer, was friends with Diane Arbus and Yoko Ono, and frequently hosted or performed in Allan Kaprow's happenings. Always more concerned with art than with making a profit, Bellamy withdrew when the market mushroomed around him, letting his contemporaries and friends, such as Leo Castelli and Sidney Janis, capitalize on the stars he first discovered. Bellamy's life story is a fascinating window into the transformation of art in the late twentieth century.

Based on decades of research and hundreds of interviews with artists, friends, dealers, and lovers, Judith Stein's Eye of the Sixties recovers the elusive Bellamy and tells the story of a counterculture that became the mainstream.

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"Bellamy had an understanding of art and a very fine sense of discovery. There was nobody like him, I think. I certainly consider myself his pupil." --Leo Castelli

 

About Judith E. Stein

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Judith Stein is a Philadelphia-based writer and curator who specializes in postwar American art. A former arts reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air and Morning Edition, her writing has appeared in Art in America, The New York Times Book Review, and numerous museum publications. She is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in literary nonfiction and a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. A graduate of Barnard College, she holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Published July 12, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 381 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Eye of the Sixties
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Apr 20 2016

A man of shrewd and impeccable taste, Bellamy’s role in promoting the often misunderstood art of abstract expressionism, pop, and minimalism was profound. This is an endearing and illuminating work of biography. A shadowy figure of the 1960s art world is gloriously revealed.

Read Full Review of Eye of the Sixties: Richard B... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Lew Whittington on Jul 12 2016

Stein’s authoritative research can get dense with many names and events overlapping, but if you can keep track of everybody, there is a lot of rescued art history here.

Read Full Review of Eye of the Sixties: Richard B... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Judy Berman on Jul 28 2016

Whether you read Eye of the Sixties as a success story or a chronicle of failure says quite a bit about where you stand on the fraught relationship between art and commerce.

Read Full Review of Eye of the Sixties: Richard B... | See more reviews from Guardian

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