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Ryan Trecartin takes over MOCA's Pacific Design Center

The YouTube generation artist's show 'Any Ever' will feature seven interconnected videos.

May 26, 2010|By Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times

He's baaaack.

The demonically funny video artist Ryan Trecartin, who made his art-world debut just four years ago in Los Angeles and has since been hailed by writers such as Dennis Cooper and Holland Cotter as possibly the most riotously talented artist of the YouTube generation, is taking over MOCA's Pacific Design Center starting mid-July. (And, yes, Trecartin has his own YouTube page.)

"Any Ever" will consist of seven interconnected (I first typed "interdemented" by mistake) videos made by the artist over the last three years. Trecartin calls the new work "incredibly dense, with lots of cross-over plots and characters."

The videos can be viewed in any order, so "everyone can have a completely different experience," he says. "There's not just one way to digest it."

Trecartin appears as a performer in all the videos, as does his main collaborator Lizzie Fitch, who also worked on wardrobe, makeup, sets and casting. "Lizzie did everything but editing and scriptwriting," says Trecartin. "And she plays a very important character named Able, a curatorial figure who haunts all the videos and connects them all together."

Although a few of these pieces have been screened before, they had not been shown as a group until this year — in an exhibition at the Power Plant in Toronto that closes this week.

Toronto critic David Balzer, who, like everyone else, sounds befuddled by Trecartin's anarchic plots and ADHD characters, calls his work "a terrifying, often hilarious plunge into the K-hole of digital self-fashioning." He writes that the show energized, even polarized, the art scene there: "Love it or hate it, it's a must-see."

The new installation will take a different form at MOCA Pacific Design Center (PDC), including a new ambient soundtrack, and will fill both levels.

"You won't recognize the PDC once you enter," says New York gallerist Elizabeth Dee. She has represented Trecartin since giving him his art-world debut when she co-owned a gallery in Culver City.

Reviewing that show in this paper, Christopher Knight described the central video as a "a wild ride through Trecartin's agitated, joyously media-addled brain." He said its "parentage includes the work of Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Jason Rhoades," making Trecartin seem right at home in Los Angeles.

Slated to run July 18 through Oct. 17, "Any Ever" will be MOCA's second exhibition under Jeffrey Deitch's leadership, who starts as museum director on June 1. The first, a survey of the artwork of actor Dennis Hopper, promises to trample the classic divide between art and entertainment in other ways.

Dee says the show grew out of conversations with Deitch that took place earlier this year. "Jeffrey has been talking about the PDC as a space for video, new media and design. He was thinking about programming for that space, and the timing was perfect."

Dee says she has known Deitch for 15 years, as he was "one of the first people to come to my gallery when I first started." The two had never, however, worked together on a project before "for geographic regions — because he was a fellow gallerist in New York, the opportunity didn't come up."]

After the Los Angeles show, Trecartin's video suite moves on to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. In 2011, it will figure into larger shows planned on the artist by MoMA/PS1 in New York and the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris.

Meanwhile, Trecartin confirmed that he plans to move from Philadelphia to L.A. this summer and will be in town later this week looking for a place to live and work. "I will probably look on the East Side, maybe somewhere between Koreatown and Echo Park."

Why L.A.? The artist mentions wanting to be closer to some collaborators who live out here. He says Fitch also has plans to move here.

"Also, I'm really inspired by the cultural context that comes out of L.A.," he says. "Not just film and television but I think a lot of what's interesting about the personality of our country, a kind of American vibe, comes from Southern California."

jori.finkel@latimes.com

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