CONTINUING AND UPCOMING
EXHIBITIONS IN BRIEF




Guy Rose (1867-1925), "Laguna Eucalyptus", o/c, 40 x 30", c. 1916.

American Impressionist Guy Rose, a native Californian, studied and painted here and in France. He was a friend of Monet, and his neighbor in Giverny. This exhibition of sixty paintings from 1904 to 1921, all painted in California and France, is a retrospective which well represents his work, which was unfortunately cut short by the effects of lead poisoning and a stroke that lead to the artist's death in 1925 (Irvine Museum, Orange County).


Reconsidering the Object of Art 1965-1975 is an exhibition that highlights a period of art that has been amongst the most influential to artists working today. This exhibition presents idea art or conceptual art--art made by artists who were more interested in language, systems, and the environment than in making an aesthetically pleasing objects. The exhibition features work by more than 50 artists working not only in the United States but in Canada and Europe as well. Much of the work on view has not been seen since it was originally exhibited in the 1960's or '70s. Among the artists included are: Michael Asher, Mel Bochner, Victor Burgin, Joseph Kosuth, Bruce Nauman, Ed Ruscha, and Robert Smithson, to mention just a few. It is a rare opportunity to see not only thought provoking work, but it isolates an important period in the history of art. This show should not be missed (The Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).




Lisa Yuskavage, "Blonde, Brunette and Redhead", oil on linen, 36 x 108" (triptych), 1995.

In her current large paintings, New Yorker Lisa Yuskavage presents female figures, quasi-self-portraits, yet obviously not her. The figures, 'girls,' are both creepy and compelling. They inhabit a non-descript background space painted in an acidy yellow or greenish-blue or even a flesh-like tone. Often Yuskavage's figures have distorted body parts like lopsided breasts, or become part of the architecture, as in Transferance Portrait of My Shrink in her Starched Nightgown with my Face and her Hair. There is no doubt that Yuskavage is a remarkable painter who is in control of her medium. Her subject is as controlled as her technique; and her paintings amongst the most interesting being made today. Also on exhibit, Benjamin Weissman has a reputation as a bad boy writer and artist, and in these cartoon-ish watercolors and drawings he combines fragments of semi-offensive texts with quirky drawings. In the two larger composite pieces he depicts robot-like figures surrounded by text. Although Weissman is more skilled as a prankster than as a draughtsman, he does make humorous and captivating works (Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica).


L.A.'s de facto standard bearer for ceramic sculpture, Ken Price was absent from these parts for a long time. He has returned, however, with his pedagogy (Price teaches at USC) and aesthetic pretty much intact. That aesthetic is not easy to chart, beyond it's insouciant virtuosity with clay, and it's sly, resolute wit. Once a veritable knight of cups, Price has moved through a variety of phases, even finding himself at one point creating erzatz Mexican tourist pottery. His current series of big, bulbous but hollow objects recalls the voluptuous, gaudy but mysterious objects with which Price made his first big splash in the early '60s. Also troping on the vessel format, these feats of clay ripple and bulge every which way, most fairly bristling with bumps and pseudopods like overstimulated amoebae or green peppers downwind of Chernobyl. Each and every one of the new blobs has its own stoma or blowhole or navel or whatever you might call the circular opening at the center of a depression that opens into the objects' interior (L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice).


In this at first glance off-putting exhibition, artist Kim Dingle has chosen works from the collection of Eileen and Peter Norton. Rather than curate an exhibition by theme or by artist, Dingle decided to curate the exhibition around the idea of storage. Most of the works are still wrapped and crated, displayed in carefully aligned boxes neatly stacked on shelves, rather than out in the open on nails on the wall. Who might have made what artworks becomes less important than the idea of display and of storage--what happens to a work when it is bought, and taken away from the gallery. In this case it ends up in the Norton's storage facility, carefully packed and archived. In this exhibition, Dingle gives viewers a chance to see what is usually hidden from view (Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica).




Samuel Bak, "Triptych" (single panel), oil on linen, 63 x 144", 1978. Photo courtesy Pucker Gallery, Boston.

Witness and Legacy: Contemporary Art about the Holocaust includes nearly thirty artists, of varied ages and aesthetic preferences, who consider the phenomenon of the holocaust from enough different angles to offer a deeper response to it than only expressing the horror. Originated by the Minnesota Museum of American Art, about eighty works, including five room-sized installations, range from abstract paintings dealing with essential feelings, to deconstructions of Nazi symbols, to what the holocaust revealed about our own society, and more (Finegood Art Gallery, San Fernando Valley).


Queue: Thirty Four Degrees includes 48 L.A. and Orange County affiliated fine arts graduates. There are a number of notable works to be seen here, among which are Tera Galanti's Adam/Ground, an inviting collage; Cherie Benner Davis' Cadmium Shift, a luminous painting on paper; Victor Kreiden's Landscape Morphology; as well as Holly Peters' painting, Ledger (Brand Gallery, Orange County).


The dual inner tendency towards good and evil is eternally both an individual and meta-problem of humanity, and it is the thematic concept behind Facing the Dragon, a varied group of work by local artists that manages to pack a wallop. The visual and moral tension is contributed to substanially by enough of the individual elements in the main space, independent of the level of interest or complexity contained by any single work, to offer fresh material for a reconsideration of how artists are tackling the ethical spirit in their work. Frankly, many museum curators could take a cue from this show for its presentation of a cogent idea that holds divergent work together, and which also transcends conventional reflection (Artopia, Hollywood).


Active in New York art circles during the 1960s, Bob Crewe put aside his brushes as his songwriting--and singing--career burgeoned. But the old itch returned, and Crewe got interested in scratching it in new ways. Returning to the canvas (or, more accurately, the panel), Crewe rapidly developed a distinctive non-objective painting style, and has continued to refine it. Consisting of single colors applied in thick-textured all-over brushstrokes and enhanced with a viscous but transparent layers, Crewe's painting bears a superficial similarity to that of several Clement Greenberg acolytes. But Crewe is as likely to break out of this schema as maintain it, often turning to grid or geometric compositions, just as often throwing in a sizeable drip or dollop of pigment and giving most of his works a strange penumbral cast, a harsh but metallic glow redolent of the wan, eerie light that falls on the earth during a solar eclipse (Jan Baum Gallery, West Hollywood).


Sam Samore's large, grainy black and white photographs depict anonymous faces and interactions of glam girls or runway models. Although theses images are about voyeurism, the scale and severe croppings displace the original activity, making the images even more enigmatic. Samore has been photographing people unaware of it for years, and in these quasi-fashion images he once again offers an incomplete view of his subject, leaving us to fill in the missing information and draw our own conclusions about her activities (Richard Telles Gallery, West Hollywood).