LOS ANGELES – The inside of Honor Fraser, the Los Angeles gallery now showing artist and designer KAWS’s new solo exhibition Hold the Line, must feel far away from the New York City bus stops and phone booths of the late 1990s.
Museums are turning more, and with more creativity, to their own permanent collections. Is necessity the mother of invention once again, or is there a real interest among museums to breathe new life into their own holdings? (Or both?) Either way, the public is reaping the benefits. Today viewers have more opportunities to see important works recontextualized by enterprising curators who are themselves reexamining the ways we construct and perceive our art histories.
SAN DIEGO — Ahead of the upcoming Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair, the Periscope Project, a collective of artists, architects and urban planners, are taking to the streets of San Diego with a project that confronts the city’s military complex, conservative politics and its reputation as a non-cultural hot spot.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is now two-for-two this spring in Southern California museum collector’s committee acquisitions, with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego announcing Thursday the addition of his “Marble Chair” (2010) to their permanent collection through their annual acquisitions drive. This comes on the heels of the high profile event held less than a month ago at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where big donors moved to add Ai’s “Untitled (Divine Proportion)” (2006) for a reported $400,000. Along with Ai Weiwei’s “Marble Chair” (2010), MCASD also scooped up a piece from Sam Gilliam’s colorfully suspended Dance Me, Dance You 2 series (2009) as well as a sleek, translucent sphere by artist Helen Pashgian, a pioneer of Southern California’s Light and Space movement.
There is apparently something about institutional street art shows that move museum folk towards declarations of their firstness. Street Art at the Tate Modern in 2008 was billed as “the first major public museum display of Street Art in London” while just last winter Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, glowed that he was “really proud” to be “the first (American) museum to do an international street art show of this scale and scope.”
Art In The Streets, the latest and of course much buzzed exhibition opening at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art is billed by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch as — surprise surprise — “the first exhibition to position the work … from street culture in the context of contemporary art history.”