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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

August 29, 1986|KRISTINE MCKENNA

Curator and theoretician Klaus Ottmann sets the windmills of the mind spinning with a gust of hot air called "Supermannerism." Eight rookie artists brought together in support of a flimsy theme that serves none of them well, "Supermannerism," as conceived by Ottmann, is an avant-garde mind game that has more to do with the politics of art history than it has to do with personal expression. "Painting is no longer a question of representation," declares Ottmann in a catalogue essay, "it is painting beyond abstraction and representation!" Well, gee whiz Klaus, thanks for clearing things up.

What, you may well ask, does Supermannerism look like? As is often the case with art that trumpets its' arrival with a volley of art-crit double-speak, it doesn't look like much of anything. Of eight artists included here, Nina Beaty, whose sensual abstractions resonate with Jungian nuance, is the only one who shows much promise as a painter; the remaining participants seem content to do smart-aleck turns on contemporary art history.

Peter Hopkins attempts to revive Op-Art (a minor footnote to art history even during its' '60s heyday) with lurid Day-Glo dot pattern field paintings that throb with enough optical vibration to induce a grand mal seizure. Hopkin's brilliant innovation is to lean his highly derivative paintings against the wall rather than hang them. Like wow, heaviosity

Mike Bidlo, who's staked out a corner of the Appropriationist camp executing perfect imitations of modern art classics, shows "(Not) Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel, " which reprises a Duchampian readymade involving a bicycle tire and a stool. John Dogg contributes a tire (regulation size) nestled inside a wooden crate, and Hal Meltzer offers cutsey-pie paintings of beaches and food done in an illustrative style rooted in graffiti. Meltzer's rainbow colored follies are suitable for the walls of a nursery but have no business in an art gallery.

Catalonian philosopher Eugenio d'Ors made the observation that "what doesn't grow out of tradition is plagiarism." "Supermannerism" neither builds on the past nor plagiarizes it; rather, it seems to sneer at it.(Davies Long Gallery, 8906 Melrose, to Sept. 6).

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