Saturday, April 19, 2008

Time-Life Greatest Hits of Contemporary Art

So I walk to MOCA, here in LA, almost every weekend.  Right up that bitchin' hill on Grand Ave.  I'm a member, and I loves to walk around the City of Angels (d√©rive as a clever Frenchman once called it), despite what Dale Bozzio sings about the city. The current show, "Collecting Collections" , has drawn comparisons to the current current artstravaganza at LACMA, the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum, or the "Bee-kam" as the kids are calling it. The Broad has a broad survey of what I have been describing as the Time-Life Greatest Hits of Contemporary Art.  Big, brand name stuff, inside and out (though some of it is already on its way out), it has school field trip written all over it.  In comparison, the MOCA show is like a really great, long, mix CD by your friend who's a little more into the music scene, but isn't trying to show you how hip he or she is by including anything too obscure or weird or current. BCAM has the chart toppers; MOCA the great album tracks. BCAM has the Beatles and the Sex Pistols; MOCA has the Zombies and the Buzzcocks.  Two different kinds of awesome.

 A clunky metaphor at best, but as an art fan it bears thinking about, the hierarchy of art and its relative greatness and influence.  It’s hits, its pioneers, and how it all fits together.  I write this as a call to artists and art fans, to those who talk and discuss art the way music fans talk about music and the way film people talk about film.  I’m such a sucker for the presence of artworks, its difficult for me to find serious fault in either show.  The Guerilla Girls have a legitimate gripe about the BCAM, though Cindy Sherman’s single giant room presence is a highlight among highlights.  The MOCA show is more ‘with-it’ by comparison, and ideally younger artists should probably find more fault with the BCAM’s established pantheon.  It is their piss and vinegar that hydrates the fertile soil of the art to come.

    

 

2 comments:

ingenue ennui said...

This months artforum is fantastic. particularly the round table pizza discussion...at the end...after the adds, which are mentioned in the discussion. it's like a hanke film, rubbing up against the fourth wall...

Jason Ramos said...

Word. Best moments are the cat-fight between the chick from Christies and Isabelle Graw about the word 'manipulation' to describe auction house prices. If that Robert Pincus-Witten has written any books, I want to read em - "..art is after all, our most useless thing" , "The Untitled Abstraction is arguably one of the great achievements of capitalist democracy", and his best line -- "Listen, in our hearts we are all socialists, in our heads, all capitalists". DONG! Though Cappellazzo is singing my song when she says, "...oil on canvas...is the physical embodiment of the cultural narrative of the West." She does work Christies though.....