December 15, 2008 |
The first few times I took my kids to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the visits weren't completely successful. Both children loved the Grand Avenue building, with its pyramid top and the exciting descent down the stairs into the museum. But looking at the art was another matter. My daughter was an adolescent and had learned her museum manners. Her younger brother had not.
October 2, 2001 |
Ayear ago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, launched a nationally touring exhibition titled "Ultrabaroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art." (Currently it's on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.) The thesis of this savvy and absorbing show is that established multicultural ideas about Latin American identity as represented in art no longer hold.
January 28, 1992 |
Aggressively titled, "Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the '90s" exploits a proven method for getting attention. At the Museum of Contemporary Art's warehouse facility in Little Tokyo, the newly opened exhibition reaches for the spotlight simply by playing against type.
December 3, 2004 |
What does it look like on the other side of death's curtain? While most imagine ferrymen or cherubs, drifting clouds or reeking smoke, Russell Ferguson sees a revolver firing very slowly, a once-glamorous Czech hotel lobby that looks as if it was rendered with nail polish, or preppy painter Fairfield Porter standing quietly in a sunlit room. They're some of the paintings he has assembled for a show about the death of painting.
August 25, 1991 |
A status conference will be held Wednesday in the continuing litigation surrounding the Boyle Heights mural, "Ancient Energies," which was painted in 1980 by three members of the East Los Streetscapers muralist group. The 1,200-square-foot work, commissioned by Shell Oil for a gas station at the corner of Soto and 4th Street, was bulldozed by Shell in 1988 to make way for a parking lot.
May 15, 1990 |
Suppose you decided to visit a remote outpost in a country whose language was utterly foreign to you. If you hired a guide, you'd surely want this person to be able to communicate with you, even if only in rudimentary sign language. For most viewers, conceptual art is about as "foreign" as art gets. It's one thing for a commercial gallery exhibit to murmur inscrutably to a coterie of knowledgeable followers.
August 30, 1987 |
Dana Friis-Hansen's biggest challenge came concealed in "three huge boxes." The Massachusetts curator recently accepted an invitation to put together this year's "Annuale" exhibit for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). His initial charge was to select 25 Los Angeles County artists from among 300 who sent LACE documentation of their work.
June 28, 2000 |
The mammoth entry hall at London's new Tate Gallery of Modern Art features a monumental bronze sculpture of a spider--a classic subject for octogenarian artist Louise Bourgeois. Poised on spindly legs, the august arachnid is ready to deposit its elegant gift of Brancusi-like marble eggs, becoming a surreal metaphor for the darkly personal nightmares that lurk within industrious creativity.
March 22, 2006 |
These days the Whitney Museum of American Art is lodged firmly between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the Whitney Biennial, the periodic survey of recent art that was launched during the depths of the Great Depression, in 1932, and grew into the museum's most prominent exhibition. The hard place is the sheer irrelevance of the show today, a fact again on painful display in the museum's Madison Avenue galleries. The need for a national art survey disappeared long ago.
September 19, 1994 |
Art these days feels like an endangered species. The market boom of the '80s made it appear important and fashionable. Economic stagnation suffocated enthusiasm, aided and abetted by art grown so thin and preachy as to be virtually indistinguishable from the media. Even L.A.'s great quake contributed to the dirty work, causing collectors to shun art in fragile materials.