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Art Opening: Burton Kopelow – Myth in the Making

April 27 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

On what would have been his 100th birthday, the audience is invited to explore Kopelow’s personal path as an artist with this retrospective

“The work of Burton Kopelow touches a unique place in the human spirit. In one respect, viewing his art feels as though we are seeing again something we’ve long forgotten. The mythic qualities his work gives form to are those that artists and thinkers have considered for thousands of years and we are better because Kopelow offered us his vision of them.”
-John Bucher, PhD Executive Director, Joseph Campbell Foundation

Myth in the Making provides a succinct, retrospective view of Kopelow’s life as an artist, revealing a man deeply tuned to universal spiritual archetypes, Theosophy, Jung, Campbell, Tibetan thangka paintings, and Zen. Kopelow’s painting career spanned six decades of exploration, expression and invention. His bold use of color, evocative imagery and personal mythology are strongly felt in all of his art.

On what would have been his 100th birthday, the audience is invited to explore Kopelow’s personal path as an artist, and contemplate the myth he was making.

Burton Kopelow produced over 3,000 pieces of art in his lifetime. He was an artist’s artist, dedicated so fully to his craft, so fully immersed in the potential of art and the ongoing creation story that binds us all, that his peers would refer to him as “the guardian of the threshold.” Perhaps it was this stewardship, this devotional practice, that dissuaded Kopelow from self-promotion: Burton’s mind, body and soul were too busy painting.

The process of creating art, he would say, is like the alchemists trying to produce gold from lead. His practice was dedicated to transcribing this transformation of the self into a higher level of being. In his words:

“The world is made of archetypes and has the same images running through all kinds of cultures. Regardless of the kind of culture it is you will find the same motifs appearing and that unites everybody into one bag, so to speak, that we’re all related and that appeals to me.” For Kopelow, life is not only predicated by our collected and collective mythology — it is the ongoing creation of these mythologies.

Opening Reception:
April 27, 1-5pm with curator led tours

Panel Discussion: May 11, 4pm with curator Nancy Blumstein, artist David Orr, and author and scholar John Bucher

Regular Exhibiting Hours: Tuesday-Friday 12:00-6:00pm
& by appointment ([email protected])

Please email [email protected] or phone 323-663-2167 with any questions.

Burton Kopelow (1924-2015) was a Brooklyn-born, self- taught artist and early resident of the Downtown LA Loft scene in the 1980s. He discovered his artistic calling and dedication to color when, as a teen, a shade of ultramarine blue sang to him from a Titian painting while wandering New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kopelow received a Purple Heart after being wounded in World War II and thereafter studied literature and philosophy at NYU under the GI Bill. His interest in philosophy expanded upon moving to Los Angeles and frequenting institutions like the Philosophical Research Society, where he encountered metaphysics and Theosophy’s influence on early 20th century art.

Kopelow’s work, which numbers over 3,000 pieces, draws from multiple chapters of his colorful, bohemian life in the US and Mexico and tells the story of an artist who explored and invented radically different styles over his lifetime. His catalogue ranges from abstract, mystical mandalas reflecting his interest in Jung, alchemy, consciousness, and personal transformation, to figurative works with mythological and Dionysian themes.

Kopelow worked in relative obscurity until 2014, just one year before his passing, when his first solo show at LA Artcore’s Brewery Annex launched to much fanfare and record attendance. Even despite limited mobility in later years, he continued painting daily, driven by a never- ending pursuit to glean deeper knowledge through artistic practice. Kopelow was greatly admired by his peers as an “artist’s artist,” who had an intense work ethic, ignored artworld trends, and painted for the sheer joy of it.

Inspired greatly by Carl Jung, Kopelow’s work is a mythology unto itself. And here, in “Myth in the Making,” the audience is invited to take part in the ongoing creation story of an artist we should all be getting to know.


NANCY BLUMSTEIN Nancy Blumstein, curator, is the archivist and manager of Burton Kopelow’s work. In that capacity, she has mounted, or assisted in mounting, five shows, including “Burton Kopelow: Circling the Square” at The Philosophical Research Society, curated by David Orr. She is also the author of the monograph Burton Kopelow, Paths of Discovery. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she worked in theatre, film, and television production for many years, before changing directions to work in administration at UCLA, which gave her more time to concentrate on writing, photography, and on Kopelow’s work. She is now happy to be able to concentrate full time on these efforts.

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Philosophical Research Society
3910 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles,90027United States
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