She painted. She made prints. Mostly, she made large structures out of metal. Claire Falkenstein was one of those prolific artists who enjoyed working in various media, and excelled at it, too. Even still, she didn’t get the recognition our critic Hunter Drohojowska-Philp says she deserved during her lifetime.
Falkenstein arrived at the beach in Venice in her fifties during an exciting time in art here in southern California–1963. Before that, she’d run off from her husband to live in Europe, where her work was exhibited alongside greats like Giacometti and commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim.
Falkenstein made her mark on LA in a number of ways, perhaps most notably in the cathedral at St. Basil’s on Wilshire Boulevard. Then there’s this sculpture, to the right, that you may have seen at the downtown Department of Motor Vehicles. The restaurant at the lovely Long Beach Museum of Art is named for her, and a fountain she created is at its centerpiece.
Read Sarah Spitz’s take on the show in the Santa Monica Daily Press here. And hear Hunter talk about it here. Best of all, go see Claire Falkenstein’s work at the Jack Rutberg gallery on LaBrea through September 1st.