Somewhere in the labyrinthine center of Los Angeles sits the sprawling facilities of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A gorgeous complex, it is a rare bit of public space in the busy streets and closely spaced neighborhoods. But the LACMA is not a respite from LA. On the contrary, the permanent sculptural works on display represent the metropolis precisely. Continue reading
One never really sees a monument in a contemporary sense – more often they are physical follow-ups, bookending past time and space. Their lack of immediate relevance and dynamism allow them to be comfortably ignored as evidence of dues paid and boxes ticked. Continue reading
During this centenary of WWI (2014-2018) a great number of ceremonies and memorials are proliferating in most of Europe in remembrance of the victims of the Great War. Australia, so far away as it is from that battle ground, is not indifferent to this sad anniversary as this year they celebrate the creation, 100 years ago, of the ANZAC, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, that took part, among others, in the tragic battle of Gallipoli in Turkey where 8,000 of them died. Nowadays, Anzac Day (25th April) also remembers to all Australians that lost their lives in WWII and in subsequent military actions up to date. Continue reading
About an hour and a half outside of Austin in the small town of Johnson City, TX there is a beautiful ranch nestled in the dramatic Texas hills just a few miles away from the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. The property, owned by LBJ himself in the 1960s, was the home and studio of the artist Benini and his wife Lorraine from 1999 until 2014. In the fall of last year Historian Tracy N. Poe, PhD and Molecular Pharmacologist Greg F. Sullivan II, PhD bought the property and began their transition from Chicago to Texas. They are currently working on their unique vision for this spectacularly beautiful ranch. Continue reading
Outsider art is intended as a term denoting particular circles and scenes of art production, but I like to think of it in terms of art that is literally outside. Like Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers, or Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain, I enjoy the journey necessary to see outsider art, more than the artists’ detachment from any particular school, method, or medium. Out in the desert, or in the areas of LA where “most people don’t go” (except the people who live there, of course) art can exist apart from the institutions and gallery spaces that enable and sustain certain modes of production. Continue reading
In 2010, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei famously filled London’s Tate Modern with a hundred million porcelain sunflower seeds. Each was hand-painted by an artisan, and the work was an oblique reference to old propaganda images depicting the Chinese population as the sunflowers of Chairman Mao. Much of Ai’s subsequent work addresses the sometimes-uneasy interplay between the individual and the rest of Chinese society, making the point that China’s varied and kaleidoscopic culture is not a monolith. It’s a theme addressed in Iron Tree, his most complex outdoor sculpture to date.
Lucy Lippard’s recent book, Undermining, draws the artistic into direct comparison with the industrial in many ways, but particularly through meditation on the concept of earthworks and environmental art. From a dissection of the myriad environmental problems confronting land in the Western US, from groundwater issues to gravel mining, Lippard goes directly to Robert Smithson, quoting him on the process of selecting the site for his famous Spiral Jetty by the (ever moving) shores of the Great Salt Lake: Continue reading