Joseph Glasco Show Opens Pollock-Krasner House

A friend to several generations of East Hampton artists
One of Glasco’s late untitled works in acrylic and collage on canvas with velvet, from the collection of Julian Schnabel / Joseph Glasco, captured by Hans Namuth at the Creeks during the summer of 1952 Joseph Milton Glasco Estate, used by permission/1991 Hans Namuth Estate/Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona

The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center will reopen today with an exhibition devoted to Joseph Glasco, a visitor to East Hampton early in the years of its mid-20th-century artists colony whose friendships with artists such as Alfonso Ossorio and Jackson Pollock left a lasting impression in his work.

In the show, titled “East End Echoes,” the curator Marti Mayo examines the figurative artist’s later work and what resonates from his time here in those paintings from the 1970s that became totally abstract. She also addresses his later friendships with artists such as George Condo and Julian Schnabel, who invited Glasco to his house in Montauk in the late 1980s.

Glasco, who died in 1996, grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and studied art in Los Angeles and Mexico after serving in World War II. By 1948, he was living in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan and taking classes at the Art Students League. During this time he was interacting with fellow artists in the city and forming those friendships that would mean so much to him and his art. These friendships included Pollock, whom Glasco described as a great intellect and an influence in his work throughout his life.

Although he remained a figurative artist during this time, he did use the tools of abstraction to activate his subject matter, and his paintings were included in several gallery and museum shows. He met his longtime partner, William Goyen, a writer and fellow Texan, during this period.

He continued using abstracted figuration in his art until the early 1970s when he moved to Galveston and began to explore completely non-objective art. The technique he used to achieve this were patterns created by a collaged canvas-on-canvas technique “characterized by an anxious, syncopated rhythm,” according to Ms. Mayo. Although he could be a loner in his creative process, he continued to travel during this time and made friends with young artists he met in Texas and his travels to New York, Paris, and India.

Glasco’s friendship with Mr. Schnabel was not casual. According to Ms. Mayo, they advised each other, worked closely together, and shared similar attitudes toward art and life. In an essay written for the exhibition, Mr. Schnabel says: “Joe’s figures have a sculptural quality; in fact, they were paintings of sculptures rather than of people. They were paintings of monuments or idols; they were mythological. A classic vision informs these figures. They remind me of Cycladic figures. . . . As time went on, the figures disappeared, and the whole surface of the painting and its size, its body, became the figure. The paintings grew to be human scale.”

The exhibition is on view through July 27. Check the website for opening hours and other information. A reception will be held on May 26, during Memorial Day weekend, from 5 to 7 p.m.