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'Symbols Of Prestige' In Native American Show

March 24, 1985|JOSINE IANCO-STARRELS

Fifty-five objects of Native American works used in rituals and as ordinary utensils are on display at the County Museum of Art through Oct. 20. "Symbols of Prestige: Native American Arts of the Northwest Coast From Los Angeles Collections" consists of masks, figural sculpture, architectural elements, decorative boxes, headdresses, containers, baskets, jewelry, clothing, and staffs in a variety of materials.

Objects in the exhibition vary from the monumental "totem" poles to miniature carvings. Most denote social rank or are symbols of wealth.

Made by people whose existence depended on hunting, fishing, and gathering, the raven, bear, killer whale and beaver among many others, were revered as ancestors, culture sources and inspiration for social institutions.

The show features ceremonial masks used at elaborate ceremonies called potlatch, where masked dancers performed mythical dramas. Some masks contain two images: an eagle's head when closed, a loon or human face when opened.

The objects on view, borrowed for this exhibition from Los Angeles collectors, was organized, and its accompanying brochure written by Herbert M. Cole, consulting curator of Ethnic Arts at LACMA, and sponsored by the Ethnic Arts Council of the museum. A lecture by Bill Holm on "Art of the Northwest Coast" is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the museum's Bing Theater.

"Hockney Paints the Stage," the first comprehensive exhibition to focus on the interrelationship between David Hockney's stage designs and his work in painting, drawing and photography, opens Thursday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

On view through May 26, this is the final stop for an exhibition, which traveled to major museums in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It features nearly 250 items: drawings, gouache paintings, theater set models, props and paintings (from the early '60s to the present) which foreshadow or were derived from the theater designs.

In addition, sets from seven operatic works created for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England and the Metropolitan Opera in New York are included.

The artist will discuss his collaboration with John Dexter, artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, in designing sets and costumes for "Parade" (presented by the Met in 1981). Title of the lecture, scheduled for April 28 at 7:30 p.m., at SFMOMA, is "David Hockney: Making Parade."

The first look at paintings by Charles Griffin Farr in Southern California is available at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum through April 7.

Nineteen oil and tempera landscapes, still lifes and portraits, dated 1937 to 1984, represent the artist's work in an exhibition selected by artist Stephanie Sanchez, who is also a member of CAF's board of directors.

She says, "Farr's realistic consummate painting is part of the honored American mainstream tradition from Harnett to Leslie, though Farr has remained in relative obscurity for most of his 74 years. He is, as critic Charles Shere wrote, one of the unsung grand old men on the Bay Area art scene." Farr was born in Alabama and grew up in Tennessee; he studied in New York with George Bridgman and George Luks and in Paris with Jean Despujols. During the Depression, he worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art restoring ancient pottery as part of a WPA program.

In 1948 he settled in San Francisco and taught at the California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Art Institute) from 1959 to 1967.

His first one-man show came as late as 1981, at the Charles Campbell Gallery in San Francisco. In 1984, the Oakland Museum organized a traveling retrospective of his work.

Drawings by Farr are also on view at UC Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies gallery.

The Community Redevelopment Agency has recently commissioned Los Angeles artist LLoyd Hamrol to create a sculpture for a traffic island at Fourth Street and Grand Avenue.

The work, titled "Uptown Rocker," is a 65-foot-long upturned arc of concrete that supports two lanes of brightly colored automobile silhouettes.

Installation is expected to take place this summer.

This is the first commission in an acquisitions program proposed by the CRA for the Bunker Hill Redevelopment District. The sculpture was accepted by Mayor Tom Bradley and the City Council as a gift to the City.

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