A team of me, that is several of me, are exercising and rehearsing for some ancient game, say for example the Olympics, by building up our physique. This action can be taken for any period of time you wish, ancient or recent ... I’m photographing myself doing whatever athletes do to get into condition. —John Coplans, 2001
The frieze is part of an original 15-panel work from 1994 entitled "Self-Portrait, Frieze." It was exhibited at John Coplans' major PS1 MoMA retrospective in 1997 and is also held in the Tate Modern's permanent collection in London.
Exhibiting works from 1950 to the present, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is noted for its unique permanent collection, including many important California artists with whom Coplans worked with as a writer and senior curator at the Pasadena Art Museum.
The MCASD collection holds works by esteemed Light, Space, and Surface artists who emerged from Venice Beach in the 1960’s and 1970’s whom Coplans exhibited: Craig Kauffman, James Turrell, John McCracken, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Bruce Nauman, and De Wain Valentine. Iconic artists Ellsworth Kelly and Andy Warhol are also included in MCASD’s permanent collection, whose works were also advocated through the curatorial and writing work of John Coplans.
It is a fitting honor for the work of John Coplans to be included amongst the collection of artists who he championed as a museum director, curator, and art writer.
The John Coplans Trust would like to thank Joseph Bellows Gallery for its important role in the acquisition.