I carpooled with a few of MFA colleagues to Los Angeles during the first weekend of October, and like hundreds others, survived the nasty traffic on the freeway. This weekend marked the opening of Pacific Standard Time, a multi-city art program across Southern California. Many participating museums and institutions exhibited works relating to the complex history of artists and movements in mostly LA but other parts of Southern California from 1945-1980.
Our first destination to the MOCA at the Geffen proved to be a good break from a lengthy car ride. Its featured exhibition, “Under the Big Black Sun,” showcased an extensive collection of works of 125 artists from 1974-1981. I got to see an older work of Eleanor Antin called "The Nurse and the Hijackers," (1977) where she used crude cardboard cut-outs of stock personas and created a video impersonating a terrorist threat inside of an airplane set also created out of cardboard. I saw a few of Ilene Segalove’s personal and feminist works that she made with "The Mom Tapes," (1974-78). The video snippets of her interviewing her mother for advice was in a way confessional, but it showed a speculative view on the customs of women growing up in two different generations in America.
Also at the MOCA Geffen was a large room of Theaster Gates retrospective works. A large portion of these were sculptural forms with charged undertones of history, class and race in Chicago, IL. The use of decommissioned fire hoses coiled into a large circular object was a simple and elegant visual. The same could be said of his cross-sections of mortar and concrete, with fragments of crumpled rebar and glass layered in the carefully constructed pillars that resembled towers with exposed materials of deconstruction.
Other works that stood out to me in the remainder of our trip were the Hammer’s featured exhibitions and programs. The Libros Schmibros Lending Library opened up a “branch” inside of the lower level gallery space next to the museum lobby. Yoshua Okon's video installation “Octopus” was also thought provoking: day laborers miming soldiers in a battlefield along the background of a Home Depot parking lot seemed politically charged.
The next day we drove out to Culver City and viewed the Museum of Jurassic Technology and its neighbor, The Center for Land use Interpretation. We concluded our LA trip with a “walking practice” in Robert Irwin’s garden at the Getty, as well as walking around another PST exhibition and Bruce Nauman's "Four Corner Piece" (1970).
Overall, it was a heavily art saturated weekend, but a few of these mentioned pieces got me thinking a little more on various methods of public and social practice and the specific use of context, site that enables for an investigation of the embedded.