ArtJunk
No. 09—2024

See America First

H. C. Westermann

Info: We are delighted to present See America First by the influential American artist H.C. Westermann. Primarily known as a sculptor, H. C. Westermann garnered a growing cult following in recent years. His work has thus appealed to successive generations of artists, among them Bruce Nauman, who created a work inspired by the artist titled Westermann’s Ear (1967 / Collection Museum Ludwig, Cologne), and Donald Judd. See America First is a series of 18 prints on paper and a unique wood work made by Westermann in 1968. The series was inspired by a road trip taken across the country in 1964. In the 1960s, the phrase was emblazoned seemingly everywhere: As See America First featured prominently in advertisements for railways, national parks and bus lines, it also seeped into America’s shifting collective consciousness. Prior to accepting a coveted invitation to print at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Hollywood, H. C. Westermann took a long road trip. After his transcontinental trek to California, he wrote about A NEW RESPECT AND LOVE FOR THIS COUNTRY AFTER TAKING A TRIP ACROSS IT SLOW!/ A Tribute to America/ IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Several preparatory travel sketches and watercolors preceded See America First, Westermann’s expansive and tightly choreographed portfolio that served as both a love letter to America and warning against encroaching environmental degradation. (…)

Linn Luehn H. C. Westermann ArtJunk