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Rear View Mirror brings together over 100 photographs taken by both well known and little known photographers who, at some time during their careers, took a photograph of a car, or the road, or the receding highway, or even a roadside attraction. The images, big and small, in black and white as well as in color, are gathered together to ignite a wonderful exhibition. Looking at the photographs makes one both nostalgic for the past as well as hopeful about the future. This exhibition offers a well formed selection of pictures of cars that stimulates reflection on what the automobile represents in American culture (UCR California Museum of Photography, Riverside).

Will Connell, Simon's Drive-In, Los Angeles,
circa 1936; Will Connell Collection.

Matt Mullican, "The Corner's Corner",
installation, 2000. Photo: Martin Cox.

The Corner's Corner is a room-sized installation by Matt Mullican that is based on a schematic representation of the house he grew up in in Santa Monica. The floor plan of the house, loosely reconstructed in the gallery, provides a structure we can see into but not enter. The accompanying video presents a performance by the artist while under hypnosis. The exhibition, while seemingly obtuse, brings together a number of recurrent themes in Mullican's work (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Hollywood).

Tony Oursler is a New York artist who is best known for his video projections onto inanimate objects. His doll-like sculptures come to life--they speak to the audience, offering both insults and insights. Oursler's small projectors fill the gallery, creating a cacophony of projected images and sounds. This work is not subtle at all, it is confrontational and experimental. Oursler pushed the boundaries of both his medium and his subject in this compelling mid-career survey (Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).

Tony Oursler, "Son of Oil", acrylic/canvas/
videotape/television set, 1982.

Mir Kalan Khan (?), "A Lover
Offers His Mistress Wine Beneath
a Flowering Tree," opaque water-
color and gold on paper, ca. 1740.
Power and Desire not only describes the predominant subject matter of these South Asian paintings, it also alludes to their psychological impact. Created between the 16th- and 19th-centuries, these intricate paintings have lost none of their story-telling efficacy. The more you see, the more you want to know and see. Happily, a brochure and explanatory panels walk the uninitiated through the intricacies of court protocol, social proprieties and religious symbolism. Unfortunately, other than posting a few of the accompanying poems, little reference is made to their origin as pages in books. Still, even torn from its original context, you can’t miss the tenderness in A Lover Offers His Mistress Wine Beneath a Flowering Tree (ca. 1740). The two lovers have eyes only for each other while--in microscopic detail--life goes on as usual in the village across the lake (San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego).

The six large projections and one sound installation of art made on the internet that comprise <IMG SRC> (or <image source> from the hypertext markup language of website scripting) give us an abbreviated survey of an artform at its inception. Unprecedented in its way of dealing with content and, of course, in its techniques, the art being fabricated for access on the internet could be seen just for the interest that newness draws. However the sites accessed through computers located in the darkened gallery offer much more than novelty. From the complex programming and intricate aural pleasure of Peter Traub's Bits and Pieces sound work (the computer seeks out sounds on the internet and recombines the snips into unique patterns that are audible to the viewer standing nearby), to the pop cacophony of Ben Benjamin's Superbad website that draws the viewer into alternately animated and static sections of assembled image and text, there is much to see and even more to explore. You can take advantage of the cable connection speed in the gallery to follow the sites in their layered meanders. Even without broadband, this is an introduction to the future of this artform. Each exhibition site is accessible from your own computer at (Art Center, Pasadena).

Ben Benjamin, "Superbad"
(single frameof many
from the website), 2000.

Pedro Alvarez, "High, Low, Left and Right, Homage to the French Revolution," triptych, oil on canvas, 43 3/8 x 59".

Too young to remember the 1959 Revolution, 17 young artists represent the current state of art in Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopia Island. With no desire to make blatant political statements, be self-righteous, or be polemical, they strive to survive in the quagmire of "post-revolutionary Cuba" as they creatively explore the harsh realities of life on their isolated island in contemporary terms. Full of history, color, invention, and sociological awareness, this huge, must-see exhibit achieves a difficult balance between presenting art that is worth seeing for its own sake as well as for what it says about the place it comes from. (Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach)

Monique Prieto's abstract paintings dance and sing. Flat color is applied to raw canvas creating an intertwining of shape and color. Prieto plans her compositions on a computer and then transfers them to canvas. In her works shapes take on personalities and identities, animating the otherwise drab background of the raw canvases (Acme, West Hollywood).

Although it may seem oxymoronic, Annie Stromquist uses abstract minimalism and the concept of "less is more" to create beautiful visual poetry. Sometimes her compositions are so sparse that they contain only a few drops of ink or faint hints of color on a field of negative space. Experimentation, chance, and accident play a large role in the process of her search for the ultimate aesthetic statement. In Koetsu's Memory for example, the paper is covered with irregular blots of ink applied to wet paper. What shapes they become when the paper dries is entirely up to chance (Remba Gallery, West Hollywood).

Christopher Pate is a Los Angeles artist who seems to reinvent his work for every exhibition. In his current show a series of subtle, almost monochrome works line one wall of the gallery. Each of these works has at its center an organic shape and its reflection across a constant horizon line. Pate juxtaposes these modest individual works with a wall and ceiling installation in which numerous organically shaped mirrors are assembled onto a collage (Roberts & Tilton, West Hollywood).