August 23, 2010
Dennis Hopper’s art will always be overshadowed by his films. That only makes his art that much more intriguing. Dennis Hopper Double Standard at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary reveals an artist fully engaged with the aesthetics and issues of his time, although not directly propelling them. The time in question is from the early 1960s through very recently. (Hopper died May 29 of this year.) The largest share of work here are his photographs. They document not only Hollywood and rock music (images of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones with a sitar, and a young, bikini’d Jane Fonda are among those that are iconic and compelling), but the kinetic Los Angeles art scene and major social issues. These include the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March, and the 1967 Sunset Strip curfew riots, which Hopper documented tellingly. Unfortunately, MOCA stacked the hundreds of photos in 20-foot-high towers, making it impossible to get close to some of the best. Why not put the Geffen Contemporary’s cavernous spaces to better use and Read More
August 27, 2009
Maybe both. And that’s a good thing. Nearly 30 years after the U.S. artist barged on the scene with “readymade”-style installations (a basketball floating in an aquarium) and seemingly kitschy artifacts (a gaudy sculpture of “Michael Jackson with Bubbles” the chimp), cynics are still saying, “That’s not art, that’s just a guy making money.” Koons has certainly made a lot of it. In 2007 Luxist declared him the world’s top-selling auction artist. But an exhibit soon to close at London’s Serpentine Gallery yet again puts Koons squarely in the legitimate pop-art tradition of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and – the absolute pioneer- Robert Rauschenberg. “Triple Popeye” is a wide-eyed play on pop surfaces.
And it’s funny. Is Koons’ work merely “kitsch”? That is, does it poke fun of art for people with unsophisticated tastes? Koons said no, in a recent interview with The Daily Beast’s Anthony Haden-Guest: “I don’t believe in kitsch if the word is used to make judgment and to segregate. My work really embraces. No judgments.”
Make your own judgment. “Michael Jackson with Bubbles” is on display at L.A.’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum. And a 70-foot replica of a steaming locomotive, suspended 160-feet in the air, is coming to L.A. County Museum of Art in four years.
Here’s a gallery of recent work.
July 24, 2008
On the surface, it was junk. But the organizing eye of Robert Rauschenberg elevated the random into the refined. Rauschenberg’s “combines” – unruly, 3-D collages of found materials – marked the transition of American art from Abstract Expressionism (Jackson Pollock) to Pop (Andy Warhol). But Rauschenberg’s work was always its own animal. Read More