Robert Delford Brown, Another Map to Nevada, 1990, Silkscreen on cloth, 175 × 233 cm, Edition of 8
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 175 × 233 cm
    (68 ⅞ × 91 ¾ inches)
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  • Robert Delford Brown was a painter, sculptor, and performance artist. His iconoclastic and provocative tendencies undermined and deconstructed America’s social and religious conventions. From 1948 to 1952, Delford Brown studied art at Long Beach College in Calfornia and the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in painting and printmaking. During his honeymoon with Rhett Cone, Delford Brown met Allan Kaprow, and subseqeuntly George Maciunas who invited him to join the cast of Originale by the German avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and artist Mary Bauermeister. The performance, which took place at the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York in 1964, was picketed by several artists, such as Henry Flynt and Maciunas himself, who referred to Stockhausen’s work as “cultural imperialism,” criticizing and repudiating his canonical compositions. Delford Brown appeared in the show producing an outrageous spectacle: Dressed in a suit equipped with an obscene papier-mâché phallus, he perched on a staircase and sprinkled colored powder on the floor. Perhaps his most famous work is Meat Show (1964), an environmental installation staging brothel-like chambers and thousands of pounds of lamb, pork, and beef hanging in a large refrigerator unit at the Washington Meat Market in New York. The installation was presented as a grand opening service for “The First National Church of the Exquisite Panic, Inc.,” a transcendental humorist religion of a pagan-orthodox nature founded by Delford Brown in 1964. Later, Francesco Conz published Ikons of The First National Church of the Exquisite Panic, Inc. (1992), a volume entirely devoted to the charismatic proselytizing of Delford Brown’s religion, enriched with texts by Allan Kaprow and Hermann Nitsch. Both artists referred to Delford Brown’s works as eccentric and irreverent, radical and visionary. After founding his church, Brown continued to create collaborative events and performances. Through the “Collaborative Action Gluing” workshops, he organized spaces and means to create works composed of colorful cut-outs with a participatory audience of non-artists. Robert Delford Brown’s works are included in the collections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Denver Art Museum.

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