Bill Copley

Bill Copley (1919-1996) was an American painter, writer, gallerist, collector, patron, publisher and art entrepreneur. He has been categorized as a late Surrealist painter and precursory to Pop Art.

 

Being both a painter, writer, gallerist and collector he blazed a singular path through numerous territories of post-War art, whilst linking the Surrealist and American Pop Art movements significantly.

 

Once Copley began painting in the early 50s his career experienced an evolution in ideas. He began in the 50s and 60s dealing with ironic and humorous images of stereotypical American symbols like the Western saloon, cowboys and pin up girls with flags. These were considered a combination of American and Mexican folk art and melded in well with the new Pop movement. Artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, key components in the American Pop Art movement were frequent visitors to his studio. In the 70s his work focused on his own understanding of differences and challenges between men and women in romantic and sexual relationships. His works were considered erotic, even pornographic. His show of these works was entitled CPLY X-rated. The works were controversial and caused a stir amongst American art lovers and critics. Copley believed that American did not know the difference between eroticism and pornography because eroticism has always existed in art and pornography had never necessarily been in art.