Robert Kinmont

is sort of a forgotten legend of West Coast art pioneer. Kinmont was born in Los Angeles in 1937. When he turned 30, in the early 1970s, and at the moment when people were picking up on his bizarre, low-key work, Robert Kinmont totally retired from the art world. He went to live in Northern California, where he lived a rural life, following Thoreau’s Walden dream. Surrounded by the wilderness he loved, he raised his kid and built his own school. He would teach his students there about human creativity by cooking breakfast for them over a camp stove set up on the floor of their art school classroom. In 1978, Kinmont stopped the school experience and moved to Santa Rosa to be a carpenter. Few years ago, the artist went back into his studio and started making art again. Kinmont has exhibited in galleries and institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Art; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. and the 1968 “Sculpture Annual” at the Whitney Museum, New York. In 2010 his work was included in several group exhibitions such as “The Traveling Show” at Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, and “The Moon is An Arrant Thief” at the David Roberts Foundation, London. In 2011, Kinmont’s work was included in “State of Mind,” a survey of new California art circa 1970 co-organized by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. His work is on view in “Ends of the Earth: Art of the Land to 1974,” at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles until September 3rd. “Ambivalence about renouncing his art abstinence can be felt to varying degrees throughout Kinmont’s recent work. The force of this reluctance, in a culture of epidemic self-expression, is remarkably sharp.” —Nancy Princenthal, Art in America