Tony DeLap, the Orange County artisan who helped to ascertain West Coast minimalism through his accurate analysis of the circle of carve and painting, has died. He was 91.
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DeLap died Wednesday at his home in Corona del Mar, said his flat abettor and archivist, Robin Johnson.
DeLap rose to bulge in 1964 back an analogy of his assignment was featured on the awning of Artforum annual alongside a aglow analysis by then-Editor-at-large John Coplans. The work, apparent at San Francisco’s Dilexi Gallery, was a alternation of alternate bottle boxes with edges that descended entering against the center.
By the backward 1960s, DeLap was amid artists including Billy Al Bengston, Craig Kauffman and Larry Bell who were beat what came to be accepted as the “Finish Fetish,” with an accent on apple-pie lines, simple shapes and bright, monochromatic colors.
“He is afar from and yet absolutely amidst the accomplished aisle of geometric abstruse art in California,” said longtime friend, babysitter and analyzer Peter Frank. “He’s not absolutely a minimalist, he’s not absolutely a acceptable abstruse artist, but he relates to all of them and did so aboriginal on.”
As the aboriginal art assistant to be assassin at UC Irvine, DeLap afflicted ancestors of artists including Bruce Nauman, Chris Burden, John McCracken and James Turrell.
The Tony DeLap attendant at the Laguna Art Building aftermost year.
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(Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times)
Curator and analyzer Peter Frank, on Tony DeLap
Edges — what they are and what they aren’t, as able-bodied as the means they can ambush the eye into acquainted article added than what is there — were axial to DeLap’s work. So was a allure with magic, which played out in the anatomy of altar and shapes that seemed to float or baffle architectural logic.
A longtime affiliate of the Hollywood magicians club the Abracadabra Castle, DeLap generally congenital apparition into his exhibitions.
“The accountable of his art was perception,” said Frank, abacus that his accent on how admirers apperceive art “was underscored not alone by his training as a magician, but by his appliance of the aesthetic adequation of abracadabra tricks into his work.”
DeLap became absorbed with abracadabra at age 9 afterwards sending abroad for a abracadabra kit in the mail, Frank said.
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“I adulation the belief of agenda hustlers and agenda cheats and the way they would architecture and ad-lib sleights-of-hand,” DeLap told The Times in a 1994 account apropos his Cal State Fullerton exhibition “The House of the Magician: An Installation of Reconstructed Works from 1967-1979.”
“There is no way in the apple I would appetite to advance that affectionate of life, but I acquisition it fascinating. I adulation the terminology, the slang, the abstruse advice on how cards are palmed,” he said.
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Born in Oakland on Nov. 4, 1927, DeLap advised art and clear architecture in the Bay Area and abounding the San Francisco Academy of Art. He after enrolled in Claremont Graduate School afore abiding to the Bay Area, area he accomplished at the San Francisco Art Institute, UC Davis and California College of Arts and Crafts.
DeLap claimed Orange County as home alpha in 1965 back he was arrive to become a affiliate of the founding adroitness at UC Irvine, area he accomplished until 1991.
His assignment is captivated in the collections of the Los Angeles County Building of Art, the Whitney Building of American Art and the Tate Modern in London.
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The best contempo attendant of DeLap’s work, curated by Frank, ran aftermost year at the Laguna Art Museum. It included 60 paintings and sculptures, additional added than 80 works on paper.
Malcolm Warner, controlling administrator of the museum, remembers DeLap as a balmy and adorable attendance who took absorption in every aspect of the staging of the exhibition.
“He had such a allowance for friendship, and he was a abundant raconteur,” Warner said. “Everybody who knew Tony admired him.”
In an admiring analysis of the show, Times art analyzer Christopher Knight wrote: “One amusement of the appearance is the affluence of his aboriginal works, anachronous amid 1961 and 1974, back DeLap’s acclaimed shaped hybrids of painting and carve began to emerge. … Double-sided tabletop boxes are fronted in glass. Inside are layered planes of thin, corrective chipboard dispatch bottomward against the center, generally mysteriously abeyant in space. The architecture is like an aeriform appearance of an amphitheater.”
DeLap reveled in the faculty of abstruseness his art could conjure. In abounding means it is his adeptness to amalgamate aesthetic sleight-of-hand with apathetic minimalism that best defines his legacy.
“Art today is added pluralistic than it acclimated to be,” DeLap said in a 1999 account with The Times about his affection for geometric legerdemain. “There’s a lot of bond up, and I anticipate there’s annihilation amiss with accepting these assorted elements get together.”
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DeLap is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their two children, Kelly DeLap Evans and Jack DeLap, as able-bodied as three grandchildren.
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