In his influential 1965 article ‘Specific objects’, Donald Judd sought to identify the new territory that had been opened up by the abandonment of traditional modes of painting and sculpture. In doing so he referred to George Ortman’s relief constructions as ‘preliminaries’ to a new way of thinking about art. With its exploration of geometry and position somewhere between painting and sculpture, the kind of non-representational work that Ortman was making at this time was at the forefront of significant trends in American artistic production of the 1960s.
Ortman met Tyler at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1966 and created this poster Search—published by the newly established Gemini Ltd that same year—for a self-titled exhibition at the David Stuart Galleries in Los Angeles.
1926 Born in Oakland, California, United States of America
1947 Studies at College of Arts and Crafts and Atelier 17, New York as part of GI Bill program; completes other studies at Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, New York; Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley
1949 Studies at Acadèmie Andre Lhote, Paris. Co-chairman, Department of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts, New York, Instructor, New York University, New York
1960 Included in exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh and again in 1964 and 1970
1963 Included in exhibition, Toward a new abstraction, Jewish Museum, New York
1964 Included in exhibitions: Tokyo Biennial, Japan; 100 Years of American Art, Whitney Museum for American Art, New York and Two Decades of Geometric Abstraction, Whitney Museum for American Art, New York. Works at Fairleigh Dickinson College, New Jersey
1965 Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
1966 Completes Oaxaca suite at Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Los Angeles; completes edition of Search, Gemini Ltd., Los Angeles. Wins prize for Religion in Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama
1967 Solo exhibitions: Howard Wise Gallery, New York; The Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago, Illinois.Wins first prize in exhibition, Second Annual, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
1966-69 Senior fellow, Princeton University, New Jersey
1970-92 Head of Painting Department, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan
1971 Solo exhibition, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
2003 Awarded Lee Krasner Lifetime Achievement Award; included in exhibition, Galerie Huit: American artists in Paris 1950-52, at Studio 18, New York
2006 Solo exhibition, George Ortman: early constructions new sculpture, at Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York
2012 Solo exhibition, George Ortman: constructions 1949–2011, at Algus Greenspon, New York
2013 Solo exhibition, 39 Great Jones storefront, East Village, New York; included in exhibition, 39 Great Jones, at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Switzerland.
2015 George Ortman died in New York City
Revised Julia Greenstreet, 2013
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.
NATIONAL GALLERY PUBLICATIONS
- Workshop: The Kenneth Tyler Collection, Jane Kinsman (ed.), 2015