Formidable Mag would like to thank Alfonso Meléndez for access to his archive and library.
Ugo Mulas began his career in Milan, switching from law studies to photography. Mulas took Photography almost as an accident. His knowledge of photography is totally self-taught.
He was the official photographer of the Venice Biennale beginning in 1954. While photographing the 1964 Biennale, Mulas met several American artists and art critics. But it was meeting art dealer Leo Castelli that proved his passport to New York.
Back in In 1958, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns had joined Castelli’s gallery, signaling a turning away from Abstract Expressionism, towards Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. From the early 1960s through the late 70s, Frank Stella, Larry Poons, Lee Bontecou, James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Morris, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Cy Twombly, Ronald Davis, Ed Ruscha, Salvatore Scarpitta, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner and Joseph Kosuth joined the stable of Castelli artists.
Once in New York, Hugo Mulas found a thriving art scene with a radical group of artists tearing up the rules. His 1964 trip was followed by other visits to the city in 1965 and 1967, during which he put together an extraordinary body of work that document New York art world.
Hugo Mulas made portraits of artists with whom he associated while creating their work as an intimate relationship with time. For Mulas, “all moments are fleeting, they are all worthy, and the least significant moment can be in fact the most exceptional”.
The result of these trips to New York was the now classic cult photobook ”New York: The New Art Scene,” with text by art critic Alan Solomon, who Mulas also met in 1964 Biennale, published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston in 1967.
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