November 18, 2011 |
It's just another day at the office for Billy Shire, but his work space is anything but routine. In a dimly lighted backroom that serves as headquarters for the godfather of Los Angeles' "lowbrow" art scene, three decades' worth of eye-gouging artifacts joust for attention. Here's a bug-eyed 3-foot princess doll encased in a shadowbox. There's a circus banner emblazoned with squirming serpents. A bass guitar and a surfboard, each embellished with red flames, lean against the artful clutter while a glittering pink- and turquoise-beaded skull perches inside a cherry-topped cage pretty as a birthday cake.
January 15, 2010 |
In November the Museum of Contemporary Art opened an impressive survey exhibition of the collection it has assembled over the last 30 years. (If you haven't seen the sprawling show of some 500 works -- it continues through the spring -- you're missing something remarkable.) For a long while the only major offering on the schedule after "Collection: MOCA's First Thirty Years" was "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective," which just closed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That show, which reconsiders the work of the American painter who fled the 1915 Armenian genocide as a child, is on its way to London's Tate Modern before arriving in Los Angeles in June.
August 7, 2009 |
In the Middle Eastern folk tale of Aladdin, a sorcerer tricks Aladdin's unsuspecting wife into turning over a wondrous magic lamp by posing as a merchant who offers a deal that's too good to be true. He'll exchange new lamps for old. Something of that enchanted storytelling is at work in a quietly engaging show by Camilo Ontiveros at Steve Turner Contemporary Art.
June 30, 2009 |
If you miss the 1990s, you'll love "Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists From Korea." Despite the forward-looking title, the new exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art seems locked in a wheezing, pre-millennial artistic frame of mind. The 1990s is the decade when conceptually oriented installation art and space-and-time-swallowing video projections were thoroughly institutionalized. Installation art and video projections dominate LACMA's show. Even the small, modest ink drawings at the entry by Koo Jeong-A are enshrined as an installation, transformed by the artist into photographic images projected up close onto a wall.
March 25, 2006 |
Artist Doug Aitken is doing everything he can to liberate the 21st century message of his new book from the relatively staid confines of a Gutenberg-era medium. "Broken Screen" -- subtitled "26 Conversations With Doug Aitken: Expanding the Image, Breaking the Narrative" -- is, after all, a group portrait of unruly creative mavericks disinterested in traditional narrative forms.
May 29, 2003 |
When sculptor Patrick Nickell has a show, it often looks as if the art has been put together from whatever could be scavenged out in the gallery's back room. Cardboard, rough plywood, crumpled newspaper, string, masking tape, glue, plastic wrap, house paint, marking pen -- the ingredients Nickell uses for his work all tend to have one thing in common. They're the materials most artists use to crate, pack and ship their sculptures (and paintings) to an exhibition. A sly polemic is at work here.