June 1 - 15, 2013
Open: Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am - 1:00 am, daily
(Basel, CH) – New York-born painter, writer, gallerist, collector, publisher and art entrepreneur William N. Copley (1919-1996) began his career in the arts as a dealer of Surrealist and Dada titans Rene Magritte, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell and Yves Tanguy. Such was the impact of their work upon the imagination of this American eccentric – who dubbed himself CPLY – that he began to paint on his own in the 1950s after shuttering his Los Angeles gallery. Mixing eroticism, symbolism, whimsy and darkness, CPLY earned the enthusiastic encouragement of the very artists whose works his business had represented. By the early 1970s, he developed a signature style in which everyday objects or (more often and now legendarily) sexually explicit couplings were presented against lushly patterned backgrounds. In these paintings, Copley emerges as a mediator between European postwar art and American Pop Art, and a bemused if troubled guide through the charged sexual, psychological and emotional terra incognita he once referred to as “the tragedy of man and woman.”
In tribute to this 20th century original, Venus Over Manhattan gallery will devote its Spring 2013 program to William Copley with two presentations – Gang Bust, an exhibition in New York City, and Confiserie CPLY, a site-specific art and candy project at the historic Confiserie Schiesser chocolate shop in Basel, Switzerland.
From June 1st through June 15th, and in conjunction with the annual Art Basel fair in Switzerland, Venus will present the second part of its homage to William Copley with Confiserie CPLY. This project is a collaboration between the gallery and the historic Confiserie Schiesser, the oldest café and chocolate shop in Basel, Switzerland, founded in 1870 and renowned across Europe for its approach to candy making as fine art.
For two weeks, the Confiserie will offer customers to its street level shop a special limited edition product: hand made chocolates decorated in relief with figures from CPLY’s painting Villa Rosa (1959). In the tea salon located on the second of third levels of its landmark building across from the Drei König Hotel (Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois), Confiserie Schiesser also will serve kirsch with CPLY chocolates alongside its regular menu items, in spaces decorated with custom-made CPLY wallpaper derived from the wallpaper pattern key a CPLY canvas. In these rooms Venus will present eight major paintings by the artist.
Confiserie CPLY coincides with the 40th anniversary of Art Basel’s first special single-country exhibitions in 1973 – a show devoted to American art.
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