Pacific Standard Time: More on a Theme

More on Pacific Standard Time

PST encompasses over 60 venues, so my coverage from just a week in Los Angeles is limited. Here is an overview of other PST exhibits worth highlighting (as well as a few others thrown in for good measure):

Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980
Hammer Museum

Breaking down the profile of Southern California art even further, the Hammer has assembled work by African-American artists who in many ways were operating in their own unique swirling thermal during those years. Many of the works in this show are visceral, textured and taut, relying on an arte povera aesethetic which predate the current embrace of outsider art. The physicality of assemblage was not a common form back in the 1960s and 70s. So many of these works speak timelessly to a subsequent generation of artists, in LA and otherwise.

David Hammons, Bag Lady in Flight

John Outterbridge, No Time for Jivin’, from the Containment Series

Betye Saar, Black Girl’s Window

Noah Purifoy, Untitled (Assemblage)

John Riddle, Ghetto Merchant

Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987

Yet another glimpse into a subculture within the LA art scene, this show highlights the performance art of a group of Latino artists. Named for the Spanish word for nausea, Asco was primarily “four style-conscious art jesters — three men, one woman — cavorting in outrageous outfits around the streets and empty lots of East L.A., making a scene, actions sprinkled with cutting social commentary, then disappearing. A Dada daydream in Chicanoville, USA” (from LA Weekly.) The sophistication and extent of their oeuvre astounded me.

From Asco documentation, LACMA

Glenn Ligon: AMERICA

This show by Glenn Ligon (which was on view earlier at the Whitney Museum) is so far ranging in scope and mastery—it features a hundred works including paintings, prints, photography, drawings, and sculptural installations and neon reliefs—that it is astounding to me that the work was made by one person. There are moments for everyone, from the exquisite coal dust surfaced paintings to his conceptual installations to his take on Robert Mapplethorpe‘s black men portraits. Political and also a visual feast. Extraordinary.

Close up of the coal dust surface on a Ligon piece

Pre-Columbian art at LACMA
Jose Pardo display design

LA artist Jorge Pardo was asked to design LACMA’s new Pre-Columbian art collection. Stunning. The space has been transformed.

From Christopher Knight‘s review in the LA Times:

Conceptually sophisticated and visually smashing, the installation design that artist Jorge Pardo conceived and executed for the impressive Pre-Columbian collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was unveiled to the public Sunday. Unlike anything you’ve seen in an art museum before, it’s built on a deep understanding of the potential power of smart decoration.

To decorate is not just to embellish but to valorize. LACMA’s often exceptional collection of ancient art deserves nothing less — especially the fine ceramic vessels and sculptures from West Mexico, Central America and Colombia. Pardo’s eccentric, unexpected scheme delivers.

It accomplishes two feats. Obscure works of ancient art are elucidated, and so is our contemporary experience of them. This decorative installation design is a meaningful honorific, not an empty flourish.

Installation views of the Pre-Columbian galleries at LACMA, designed by Jorge Pardo

Edward Kienholz: Five Car Stud 1969–1972, Revisited

Edward Kienholz was a highly visible and influential artist for me during the 60s and 70s, and his installations used effrontery and truth speaking as a powerful tool. This exhibit is one of his most harsh and disturbing. It is on view for the first time in the US after having been purchased by a Japanese collector who warehoused it for over 40 years. The artist’s widow Nancy Kienholz reassembled this brutal reminder of the brutal castrations of the pre-Civil Rights era. Not for everyone but quintessential Kienholz.

7 Replies to “Pacific Standard Time: More on a Theme”

  1. I looked up Hammons. There’s an interesting piece w/him on the Brown U site. His work from the ’70s seems very much of its time. I do like the work you show here.

    I’ve always liked Betye Saar. I included her interview in the All Art Friday mention of PST. I also recently noted Glenn Ligon; he’s very articulate, both in his interviews and in his art.

  2. Thanks again for this interesting tour. A question to you regarding the re-installation of the pre-Columbian art: do you agree with the reviewer who loved it? because from the photos (and I’m sure it looked different in person) the eccentric broken curves seem to take way too much attention for themselves. They look incredibly annoying to me.

  3. Maureen, thanks for the heads up on Hammons. I’ll take a look.

    Altoon, you have hit on a controversial topic. Some reviewers have raised the same viewability/distraction issues you are asking. Although my photos may almost create a moire effect because of the banding, both my daughter and I found the environment welcoming and cavelike. I love Pre-Columbian art, but much of it is intimate and requires that slowed down, focused viewing. I felt like Pardo’s environment played to that kind of experience.

  4. That’s nice to know, Deborah.

  5. The Grandmother and I went back to walk through the Kienholz 3 times. Still relevant, after all these years. And when I was little, I used to stand transfixed in front of Back Seat Dodge while my mother lingered among the Impressionists. I had no idea then what the narrative in that really was, but I knew I felt transported into another world. Now, I keep waiting to grow out of Kienholz, to be disappointed by the lack of subtlety. But somehow, I only like him more–maybe it’s the lack of pretense, the willingness to just say things plainly?

  6. LP, you are the only person I know who will have gone to see Five Car Stud with her grandmother 3 times. But then your family was always special in oh so many ways. Yeah, Kienholz doesn’t do nuance but his work has captured me since I was a kid. No one quite like him, and I’ll never forget this installation. Ever.

  7. Hehehe…the Grandmother got scolded for accidentally walking in through the exit side. So then of course the next time we made sure to enter through the exit side on purpose! There’s a certain uptight security guard that now hates us passionately. The Grandmother just acted her age and pretended not to be able to hear her.

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