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Focus On A Heroic Figure


Standards of beauty as defined by Western criteria are questioned or amended in an exhibition titled "The Heroic Figure," which points to the unconventional heroes and heroines of minority groups in this culture.

The exhibition, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Saturday through June 9, was organized by Houston Museum of Contemporary Art's Curator Linda Cathcart. It contains 55 paintings, photographs and sculptures by 13 New York figurative artists.

All of them focus on "the quality of human drama, sometimes tragic, sometimes idealized, but always monumental in scale or impact," according to Cathcart. She adds, "The hero and the heroic image come from America's heritage of pioneers and immigrants as presented by the media and not from the image of the physically perfect warrior seen in European art. The works are about America: its looks and its desires."

Participating artists are John Ahearn, Ellen Carey, William Crozier, Nancy Dwyer, Jedd Garet, Thomas Lawson, Robert Longo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Prince, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman and Michael Zwack.

"The Heroic Figure" was organized at the request of the U.S. government and recently returned to this country from a tour of South America.

The County Museum of Art's Art Council will hold its 23rd annual Art and Architecture Tour on April 28. Participants will visit six locations selected for their unique architecture, design, and art collections. Price per ticket is $50 and proceeds will benefit the Council's museum acquisition fund.

This year's tour explores the diversity of styles that typify California residential architecture and work sites; an office complex has been added to the five residences on the itinerary. On the tour are:

The Venice Beach home of Carol and Roy Doumani, designed by sculptor Robert Graham, in cooperation with artists Tony Berlant, Billy Al Bengston, David Novros, DeWain Valentine, Michael Heizer, Joanna Pousette-Dart and Terry Schoonhoven.

The home of Jacqueline and Paul Monash, designed by architect R. M. Schindler in 1937, and recently expanded by Richard Dodson with assistance from designer Sheri Schlesinger. The Monash collection includes ethnic arts as well as contemporary works, from Joan Miro to Bob Alderette.

The historic 17,000 square-foot Renaissance-style residence of Valerie Miller in Hancock Park, completed in 1926 by architect Gordon Kauffman. It features a ballroom complete with musician's loft, hand-stenciled walls, and a hand-painted dining-room ceiling as well as a recently added two-story kitchen.

The Beverly Hills home of Judy Henning and Dick Rosensweig, containing a unique collection of works by Roger Brown, Karl Wirsum and Jim Nutt, all members of Chicago's "Hairy Who" group, as well as ceramics, antique rugs and folk art from around the world.

The Colonial-style home designed by Paul Williams for Babs and Phil Sobel in 1929, housing a collection of Western art including works by Frank Tenney Johnson, Walter Ufer and Joseph Henry Sharp alongside stonework, ceramics, garments and other artifacts of 19th- Century Indian tribes.

A prominent law office in the Trident Center in West Los Angeles, designed by Matlin Dvoretsky. On the office's walls hang contemporary works by Sam Francis, Peter Alexander and Laddie John Dill as well as some material by little-known artists, rented from the County Museum's Art Rental Library.

For tickets call (213) 857-6214.

"The First Annual Juried Exhibition," of works by Orange County area artists has been scheduled for July 20 to Sept. 1 at the Mills House Visual Arts Complex in Garden Grove. Jurors will be Vic Joachim Smith, artist and professor emeritus at Cal State Fullerton, and Betty Turnbull of TLK Gallery in Costa Mesa. Slides must be postmarked no later than May 1. For a prospectus, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to OCVA/Mills House Visual Arts Complex, 12732 Main St., Garden Grove 92640, or call (714) 636-1232.

"Old Trapper's Lodge," located behind the Hollywood-Burbank Airport at 10340 Keswick St. in Sun Valley, is the most recent of 10 folk art environments to be classified a California State Historic Landmark.

"Old Trapper's Lodge," constructed by John Ehn between 1941 and 1979, consists of a motel, "Mooseum" and "Boot Hill" graveyard; the lodge is populated by huge statues depicting mythical characters from the Old West and Ehn family members. Faces of many of the figures were modeled from life masks of Ehn's wife, children and grandchildren.

The folk art environment was honored with landmark status, due to efforts by SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments), a nonprofit organization founded in 1978 to document and protect folk art environments around the United States.

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