Artifex Press Blog

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Lucas Samaras, Box #70, 1986. © Lucas Samaras. Photos by Ellen Labenski, courtesy Pace Gallery


Artifex Press is pleased to announce that it will publish a catalogue raisonné of Lucas Samaras Boxes, a series of mixed media works that explore the boundary between outer appearance and inner psyche. The catalogue is being compiled by Hannah Barton, Research Associate, Artifex Press. Barton is building upon work done by Vanessa Wildenstein, who inaugurated this catalogue in 2004 and is serving as Consulting Editor.

Samaras began creating boxes in the early 1960s. In the catalogue for his 1972-73 show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, he wrote, “We live in boxes, see and eat with boxes, travel in boxes, and even our days and nights are boxes… I found myself making boxes. And I thought that box was as important a form as the rest of the art forms or categories. The professional scribblers were not willing to consider it as mainstream art. I stubbornly persisted in waiting for new verbal criteria to be formulated.” Samaras’s boxes often delve into the subject of the self, allowing viewers access into the mind of the artist in the form of personal and found objects or manipulated self-portraits, which are often guarded by pins, razor blades, or broken glass. In addition, many of these works are distortions of the form of the box itself, with playful multi-colored appendages or constructions made entirely of chicken wire.

Samaras has been the subject of more than one hundred solo exhibitions and seven major career retrospectives. He works in a variety of mediums, from photography to painting to collage, and frequently manipulates, distorts, and appropriates his own image to create complex reflections on identity. As exemplified in the boxes, his work emphasizes the duality of interior and exterior expression.

Current and past owners are encouraged to contact Editor Hannah Barton at hbarton@artifexpress.com.

Download the full press release here, and visit our press page for other Artifex Press news.

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