In celebration of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday, Rena Bransten Gallery is pleased to present 100 Years Without a Net, a selection of paintings and small works on paper. This exhibition is in conjunction with numerous events throughout the month of March, many organized by City Lights Bookstore, in honor of this momentous occasion. This year San Francisco officially names March 24th Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day.
Originally conceived as Dismantling Industrial Civilization, a sequel to the 2010 exhibition End of Industrial Civilization (a two-person exhibition with journalist, radio producer, and social-justice activist Maria Gilardin and Lawrence Ferlinghetti), the works in this exhibition are in celebration of Ferlinghetti’s long career as a painter, poet, intellectual, advocate for social justice, and community activist. The work is imbued with Ferlinghetti’s staggering breadth of knowledge and deep passion for literature; homages to other writers (Blake, Cummings, Joyce) abound, as do recurring motifs of the human figure, birds, boats, skylines and waterscapes. Thematic deliberations on sexuality and gender, human’s isolation in the world, and a sharp critique of industrial civilization are paired with nods to biblical narratives, classical forms, and mythology.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti first started making visual art while living in Paris in the late 1940s. During the Second World War he spent four years on U.S. Navy ships and commanded a U.S. Navy sub chaser at the Normandy invasion, and saw Nagasaki six weeks after the atomic bomb, experiences which led to his radical pacifism. He moved to San Francisco in 1951 and co-founded City Lights Bookstore in 1953. His artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including a 2010 retrospective at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Italy, and a group exhibition at Centre Pompidou in Paris. His works are in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of American Arts and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. His latest book “Little Boy” (Doubleday) will be released in March of 2019.