"PRINCE" TRUE DELORENZO Courtesy of D+H Contemporary
REMEMBERING OK HARRIS and
OK Harris, under the supervision of Ivan Karp was the foremost NYC gallery from 1969-2014. Ivan Karp was responsible for many important changes in art. He helped launch pop art with Irving Blum from LA. Ivan Karp was working for Leo Costelli, the leader in the New York art scene. Irving Blum was good friends with Ivan Karp and would frequently visit Ivan on his trips to New York. Warhol was an artist that Leo would not take a chance on but Irving loved his work thanks to an introduction from Ivan. Irving subsequently brought Andy to his LA gallery, Ferus, thus launching the most endearing art movement in history. OK Harris continued to take a chance on unknown artists. Karp's theory is that no genius should go unrecognized in their own lifetime. He had an open door policy. You could bring your work to him and if he liked it and felt you had potential, he would make you a star.
Ivan was also responsible for starting the SOHO gallery scene. At the time SOHO was just a hangout for artists and musicians, not the hip and trendy area it is today. Karp launched the gallery scene there and the rest is New York history. Karp was also very outspoken about art. If he didn't like something he voiced his concern. He didn't much like California artists, despite being friends with Blum. He in fact didn't care much for the light artist Robert Irwin because he believed art shouldn't be pretentious. Ivan also didn't care for the famous assemblage artist and Ferus gallery founder, Ed Kienholz. He felt it was a bit much for him, and that is being nice.
Ivan was such a cool cat, he even had a cigar shop in the gallery, thus why the name for his gallery was so tough..OK Harris! After Ivan passed he made a stipulation in his will to allow his gallery to run for another five years. To see the gallery close in 2014 was such a sad day but an end of an era. This was one of the most important galleries of our time. Ivan Karp was more than just an art dealer, he was a humanitarian and the arts were his passion.
BY ARTCOWO TEAM 2018 ©
Source: COOL SCHOOL DOCUMENTARY, ACW Archives
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