Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Years News

Here is a list of my favorite exhibits of 2012 in no particular order.

Hirokazu Kosaka, Untitled, performance, 1972
Pomona College Museum of Art, August 30, 2011- May 13, 2012

Part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative, this series of exhibits and performance events highlighted the hotbed of creative activity on the Pomona campus between 1969 and 1973. The three exhibitions revealed the fertile community which grew from fluid exchanges between faculty, students and curators. Artists such as Bas Jan Ader, Michael Asher, Chris Burden, Judy Chicago, Robert Irwin, William Leavitt, John McCracken, Allen Ruppersberg, James Turrell and William Wegman engaged in experimentation that influenced the future of conceptual practices. 

Installation view, Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone

Hammer Museum, February 5- April 29, 2012

This first American survey of works by little known Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow featured figurative sculptures that resonated with erotic and mortal weight. Fragmented and diseased parts longed for touch and psychological reunion with their lost host. There was a distinct ache in the visceral surfaces rendered through resin, rubber, raw wool, paper, and other tactile materials. Like Eva Hesse, Szapocznikow's oeuvre is haunted by the shadow of cancer that took her life at age 46.

Installation view, Rebel Dabble Babble2012
Courtesy of the artists and The Box, Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Paul and Damon McCarthy's Rebel Dabble Babble
The Box, May 11- July 7, 2012

This ambitious collaboration between Paul McCarty and his son Damon, took the form of a multi-room installation of video and objects. The project, part of James Franco's Rebel show, was based on rumors about the time Nick Ray, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, James Dean and Dennis Hopper, spent at Chateau Marmont during the filming and rehearsal of Rebel Without a Cause. The videos oscillate between the fantasy of Hollywood and the lurid under belly of violence and power. Natalie Wood was only sixteen years old when she became embroiled with both her 44-year old director and co-star Hopper. The videos often focus on the vulnerable and over-sexulalized Wood character who craves constant attention from the eye of the camera and the grotesque men behind the lens. 

Self-Obliteration (Net Obsession Series), c. 1966. Photocollage on paper,
Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.

Whitney Museum, July 12- September 30, 2012

The Yayoi Kusama retrospective spanned the artist's long and on-going career, from the tortured floral forms painted at age 20 to a room of vividly colored paintings from 2009. The show highlights Kusama's multi-disciplined practice that includes painting, installation, performance, film, fashion design and media publication. Vitrines were filled with remnants of the artists infamous free love works from the late 60s and reveal Kusama's happenings as precursors to contemporary works in relational aesthetics. The show also featured, Fireflies on the Water, one of Kusama's stunning light installations. 

Gertrude Abercrombie, The Courtship, Oil on masonite, 1949
 Photo © Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, by Nathan Keay

LACMA, January 29, 2012–May 6, 2012

This exhibit featured well known Surrealist practicioners, such as Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Lee Miller, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning, and Remedios Varo, but also introduced the work of lesser known artists like Gertrude Abercrombie. The exhibit raised interesting dialogues between the works around issues of female agency and sexual identity. It was also a nice surprise to see Marcel Duchamp menaced by a phantom noose in Maya Deren's Witch's Cradle, which looped on a small monitor.

Alberto Burri, Sacco (Sackcloth), 1953

MoCA, October 6, 2012- January 14, 2013

This show serves as a companion to Paul Schimmel's  seminal 1998 exhibit Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979. Like Out of Actions, Destroy the Picture favors process and impermanence over the primacy of the precious art object. The show features a global roster of artists including the often overlooked artists of the Gutai movement. Works verge on collapse and reference the dark and formidable vacuum left in the wake of WWII. Artists like Alberto Burri, Robert Rauschenberg, Shozo Shimamoto, Lee Bonticou and Yves Klein, cut, burned, slashed and stitched surfaces fashioned from quotidian materials to produce a dark and poetic realism.

Sharon Lockhart, Five Dances and Nine Wall Carpets by Noa Eshkol, 2011.
LACMA, June 4, 2012–September 9, 2012

In this show, Sharon Lockhart turned her documentarian eye on the visionary work of Israeli choreographer and textile artist Noa Eshkol. Conceived as a two-person show, the exhibit featured Eshkol's carpets, dance scores, and drawings along side Lockhart's five-channel film that captured a selection of Eshkol's dance works derived from the universal notation system she created with architect Avraham Wachman in the 1950s. In Lockhart's film, young and old dancers moved together through a series of simple gestures synchronized to the metrical tick of a metronome. The sparse regulated motions created a mesmerizing display of bodies engaged in the translation of a kind of sacred language. 

We don't lose Anything by being born, still from video document, 2000

Museum of Latin American Art, May 24 – September 30, 2012

This show featured a selection of the powerful and distressing performance works of Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo. Presented through video documents, the works explore issues of power and agency, especially in relation to the role of women in culture. Like body artists of the early 70s, Galindo places her own flesh in harms way to speak of literal and metaphoric violations of the body. Read my full-review from earlier this year here.

She seas dance, 2012, Iridescent, white and gold PVC, Louver styrene, 3 channel projections
Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer

Wangechi Mutu’s Nitarudi Ninarudi
Susan Vielmetter, Los Angeles November 3- December 22, 2012

Wangechi Mutu’s recent solo exhibit followed threads of her previous bodies of work  portraying the monstrous-feminine rendered through her signature brand of glimmering magic. The new collages showed two-headed creatures encrusted in thick layers of dirt and glitter as meditations on memory and identity. In the front space of the gallery,  a room-sized structure loomed like a shimmering mirage. Made from layers of gold streamers, the interior of the space served as the surface for a three-channel video projection that showed a woman's glamourous disembodied eyes opposite a woman's private and languid dance.

Anne Gauldin, Photo collage for the Woman's Building Newsletter, 1982-83

Don It in PublicFeminism and Art at the Woman’s Building
Ben Maltz Gallery, October 1, 2011 - February 26, 2012

Part of Pacific Standard Time, this show focused on the legacy of feminism and collective practices centered around the Woman's Building, a locus of the feminist art movement from 1973-1991. The exhibition featured objects and ephemera as well as an extensive on-line archive of first-person narratives on art and feminist communities in Los Angeles in the 70s. Founded by Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven, the Woman's Building became a refuge for women who traveled from across the country seeking a community built through sisterhood. I wish such a place still existed today! For more on the history of the Woman's Building, see Terry Wolverton's excellent book Insurgent Muse.

1 comment:

  1. Wahnsinnig schöne Farben und eine Landschaft zum Verlieben. Erinnert mich an ein Gemälde, ich glaub es heisst „Rainy Landscape“ von dem russischen Maler Kandansky, welches ich auf gesehen habe. Dort können Sie sich Gemälde drucken lassen oder auch handmalen lassen. Wirklich ein grossartiger Platz wo Sie die gleiche Art von Ihrem Gemälde finden können.