Go see – Los Angeles: ‘Collection: MoCA’s first thirty years’ Museum of Contemporary Art through May 3rd

December 18th, 2009

Tall Figure II and Tall Figure III both 1960 Alberto Giacometti
Tall Figure II and Tall Figure III both 1960 Alberto Giacometti. All images via MoCA

To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MoCA) are exhibiting ‘Collection: MoCA’s First Thirty Years‘ – an exhibition comprising of more than 500 artworks by more than 200 artists, it is the largest ever installation of works from MoCA’s permanent collection. This comprehensive survey of the past 70 years of contemporary art history fills both of MoCA’s downtown L.A. locations – MoCA Grand Avenue and The Greffen Contemporary.

Chris Burden Big Wheel MoCA Thirty Years Kinetic Sculpture
Big Wheel, Chris Burden (1979) via MoCA

More text, images and related links after the jump….
Number 1, 1949 (1949) Jackson Pollock
Number 1, 1949 (1949) Jackson Pollock

Two Women with Still Life (1952) Willem de Kooning
Two Women with Still Life (1952) Willem de Kooning

Organized chronologically, the installation at MOCA Grand Avenue traces the full range of art-historical movements and styles since World War II, from Abstract Expressionism of the late 1940s and ’50s to Pop, Minimal, and Conceptual art of the 1960s and ’70s. This portion of the show brings together works illustrating specific styles or movements into dialogue with others from the same period that complement, expand, or even deviate from those styles allowing for interesting juxtapositions. At Grand Avenue, there is also a focus on key bodies from work by major figures such as Diane Arbus, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mark Rothko.

Bride Mannikin (1961) Claes Oldenburg
Bride Mannikin (1961) Claes Oldenburg

Untitled (1967) Donald Judd
Untitled (1967) Donald Judd

Emphasizing the diversity inherent in the practice of contemporary art, the installation exhibiting artwork made during the past three decades at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA features a large range of concepts, forms, and media. As the art world becomes increasingly international and decentralized – Geographical overlaps and distinctions are highlighted in this portion of the exhibition that engages simultaneously with artists in Los Angeles, the United Sates and internationally.  In addition to a global emphasis, ideological overlaps and distinctions are highlighted, as well as an interest in both well-established and lesser-known artists.

Shock, Mike Kelley 1982–83
Shock, Mike Kelley (1982–83) via MoCA

Swedish Erotica & Fiero Parts #13 Jason Rhoades 1994
Swedish Erotica & Fiero Parts #13, Jason Rhoades (1994) via MoCA

The portion of the exhibition at the Greffen Contemporary Center borrows much from the important exhibition, Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 1990s. Held at MoCA in 1992 and curated by Paul Schimmel, the exhibition featured sixteen visual artists and ten writers from throughout the Los Angeles area and somewhat boosted the careers of Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley and Chris Burden.

Now, in tribute to this turning-point, highlights at the Greffen Center include Chris Burden‘s Big Wheel – a kinetic sculpture in which the revving of a motorcycle engine sets a massive iron wheel in motion for a protracted two and a half hours, revealing the processes of energy transfer and storage, along with a contributions from Mike Kelley including Shock – part of Monkey Island (1982–83), a performance and installation made up of a sexually charged adolescent cosmology of insects and monkeys.

Two Panels: Yellow with Large Blue (1970) Ellsworth Kelly
Two Panels: Yellow with Large Blue (1970) Ellsworth Kelly

Red, Yellow, Blue Painting (1974) Brice Marden
Red, Yellow, Blue Painting (1974) Brice Marden

Jason Rhoades’s work, Swedish Erotica & Fiero Parts is one that dominates the offerings from the newer crop of artists. This work bears many of the hallmarks of the artist’s work, including the myriad thematic strands that course through it and the associative as well as formal freedom that the process of creating it entailed.

Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI (1955) Antoni Tàpies
Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI (1955) Antoni Tàpies

Man with Folded Arms (1962) Roy Lichtenstein
Man with Folded Arms (1962) Roy Lichtenstein

Six Crimee (1982) Jean-Michel Basquiat
Six Crimee (1982) Jean-Michel Basquiat

Departure from Egypt (1984) Anselm Kiefer
Departure from Egypt (1984) Anselm Kiefer

A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y.C.  1970 Diane Arbus
A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y.C. (1970) Diane Arbus

N.Y. (c. 1942) Helen Levitt
N.Y. (c. 1942) Helen Levitt

Hazelton (1957) Franz Kline
Hazelton (1957) Franz Kline

Related Links:
MoCA Homepage
Collection: MoCA’s First Thirty Years [Exhibition Homepage]
Art Review: ‘Collection: MoCA’s First Thirty Years’ [LA Times]
Open the Storeroom: Let’s put on a show [NY Times]
MoCA Man – an interview with Paul Schimmel, MOCA’s chief curator [LA Times]