Llyn Foulkes

(b. 1934)

About The Artist


Los Angeles artist and musician Llyn Foulkes creates paintings, installations, and tableaux of biting social commentary, often utilizing a concoction of pop icons, American landscapes, and violent imagery. Foulkes was born in a small farming town in Washington state where he idolized Salvador Dali, the musician Spike Jones, and Charlie Chaplin. After serving in the Korean War, Foulkes moved to Los Angeles to attend the Chouinard Art Institute (California Institute of the Arts) and had his first exhibition at Ferus Gallery in 1959. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, his work ranged from melancholy assemblages and skillful American landscapes to his “bloody head” portraits. During this period, in addition to amassing international awards including the 1967 Prize for Painting at the Paris Biennale, Foulkes played drums in the bands City Lights and The Rubber Band, culminating in 1979 with his Machine, a one-man band constructed of car horns and percussion instruments. He continues to perform on the Machine to this day. In 2013, The Hammer Museum exhibited Foulkes’ 50-year retrospective, “LLYN FOULKES,” which highlighted some of his most recent “narrative tableaux that combine painting with wordworking, found materials, and thick mounds of mixed media, seamlessly blended into the painted surface to create a remarkable illusion of depth.” Some taking years to complete, these tableaux tell a story of corporate America’s hijacking of art and creativity. Foulkes’ work resides in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Norton Simon Museum.


“LYNN FOULKES.” Hammer Exhibitions. Hammer Museum, 2013. Web. 7 Aug. 2013.