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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Art Run L.A. / LACMA - BCAM

Great art run to L.A. Saturday at LACMA. We partly visited the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (some floors were closed), and visited the Pavilion for Japanese Art.

Joseph Beuys: The Multiples

BCAM, 3rd Level
September 19, 2009–July 18, 2010

First time since I left Paris that I see an exhibition of Beuys' work. And first time I see an exhibition about his multiples. I never realized he made so many. Since I went to my art school in Paris, Beuys' work always questioned/interested me. The strength and the consistence of his path. The absence of concessions. The political engagement. His endless dedication as a teacher.
And the formal beauty of his work: the way he organizes a space with few symbols and letters, the choice of the fonts and subdued tones.

It was such a contrast with the images (loud and brightly colored) I was seeing in the very beginning of the eighties when I started my school. Beuys was working the opposite way.

Austerity in the design and profusion in the making. Wooden Postcards, plastic postcards, postcards in boxes, limited editions, unlimited editions, silk screen prints, woodcut prints, offset lithographs, photos, drawings, manifestos...

Almost everything in "Multiples" is signed and dated, sometimes stamped: it represents an amazing amount of signatures/dates/numbers.
Very organized, very well archived work. Beuys wanted to diffuse his work as much as possible, he was selling the multiples for a low price.

We saw the 3rd level of the BCAM, with works by Baldessari, Wharol, Koons and Kruger.
The show is about 28 contemporary artists - only 4 are women! Including Barbra Kruger who made a special 3 story-piece: "Untitled (shafted)" in the column of the elevator.

At the bottom of the museum, Richard Serra's "Band" and "Sequence". Quite an experience to walk inside and around the sculptures, which feel more protective than threatening despite the height and the material. The floor [under "Sequence" (120 tons)] was re-enforced 4 times since the installation... I am wondering why both sculptures are shown indoor. It seems to me it would make more sense to experience them outside.

I remember a Richard Serra's piece, "Clara-Clara", in Le Jardin des Tuileries in Paris in 1983, on the occasion of his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. What a good memory. It was the most interesting encounter: the rusted gigantic work of steel in the oldest garden of Paris. It was like seeing the monolith of 2001. I was studying design and art at that time at ENSAD, and that was the greatest thing: to have a piece like Clara-Clara displayed in town and to be able to see it again and again. I would take the metro and go there, just to watch and walk around.

Great art run, great conversation, I drove and it did not seem long at all.

On the way back, we stopped at Project X: Art in Solana Beach to see "18 Shots", by Art Brewer, world renowned surf photographer. The series he presents at the gallery is a behind the scenes of the photo shoot for the 2009 Electra Bicycle catalog.

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